Montecito Magazine 2020

Boosting Local Awareness Here in Montecito and Santa Barbara — home to a large and active community of avid birders — the study triggered great concern. Upon hearing the study’s dire results, the community acceler- ated the conservation efforts they had already launched, and increased efforts to educate oth- ers about the situation and inspire them to help reverse the trend. “We in the Audubon community try to publicly advocate for birds and our environment,” says Peter Th mpson, Santa Barbara Audubon Society board member and field trips director. “That means community involvement. From attending county board of supervisors meetings to hosting Friday bird walks, we are trying to present a positive message of conservation and enjoyment of our natural world to Santa Barbara. We are lucky to have many diverse areas around the city that pro- vide great habitat for wildlife, and many people who care about maintaining them.” Peter cites a recent success story on the heels of the debris flow disaster of January 2018: the Ennis- brook Preserve inMontecito was severely affected. He describes the subsequent scene as “trees wiped out, mud deposited a foot deep. It was a location for one of my bird walks and I visited to assess the situation shortly after the storm. I didn’t think the place would ever recover.” But the community rallied to bring the trail back to life. “After much work it is amazing to see the trail now,” states Peter. “Nature, with our help has recovered and it is again a great riparian sanctuary.” (See the Happy Trails story in this issue, page 36.) 53 Above, top– Brown Pelican These graceful birds often fly in long lines close to the water’s surface and dive beak first into water for food, sometimes from 60 feet in the air. They are frequent sights off the Santa Barbara shoreline, as the only breeding colonies of California brown pelicans in the western United States are within Channel Islands National Park on West Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands. Above– American Crow Inquisitive and sometimes mischievous, crows are good learners and problem-solvers. They have a straight, heavy bill and a short tail, either round or square at the end, that opens into a fan shape. Crows are often misidentified as ravens, which are much larger birds and have a ruff of feathers around their necks. Ravens travel in pairs, while crows travel in larger groups, called a murder of crows.