by Charles Stegner
Beginning at 6:00am on Monday July 13, 2020, a dedicated group of seven volunteer RRAS members braved the heat and met at the Rainbow Owl Preserve (Donald Nelson and Rio Vista location) to eliminate two invasive weed species vigorously growing at the Preserve.
by David Yarnold, President and CEO, National Audubon Society
Bald Eagle. Photo: Graham McGeorge/Audubon Photography Awards
If you want a country where birds and people thrive, support candidates who will deliver on their promises for a better future—for everyone.
by Cathy Kozmary
The “Costaways” had a fun day birding around LV during the GBBO nevada bird-a-thon 2020event (article: https://www.redrockaudubon.com/news/archives/06-2020) and a highlight was discovering a Ladder-backed Woodpecker (LBWO) nest within Wheeler Camp Springs! It was a treat after a long, hot day of birding and one of those birding moments I’ll never forget. The group had moved through the dry river bed looking for birds when I looked back over my shoulder (can’t remember why I did that) and saw a woodpecker up high in a tree with no leaves. We headed back towards the tree to have a closer look and get some photos, and saw the bird flutter down the tree, stop about 20 ft above the ground, do something and fly away. As we got closer, we saw a perfectly round hole in the tree – a nest! It was the female that we observed taking food to the nest.
by Paul Rodriguez
Friend and long time Red Rock Audubon member, Mary Switalla passed away unexpectedly on May 20, 2020. Mary served as our Las Vegas Hospitality Chair for the past few years, she was always smiling and happy to share with us her wonderful baked goods we all enjoyed so much.
When we think of Mary there is only one word that comes to mind. Love. The love that flowed out of her into everything she did and every person she touched. She was a bright light in all of our lives.
Our condolences to her husband Jim and all of the Switalla family.
Please click below to read more about this wonderful lady.
by Center for Biological Diversity - July 2, 2020
LAS VEGAS, July 1, 2020 — In a stunning development in the ongoing controversy over proposed military bombing range expansion in Nevada, the Democrat-led House Armed Services Committee today approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would give the U.S. Air Force jurisdiction over 850,000 acres currently managed as a wildlife refuge.
The Air Force has been seeking to expand its Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) bombing range for several years, proposing to take over 1.1 million acres of the adjacent Desert National Wildlife Refuge. Today’s amendment came from noted public lands opponent Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) but was approved on a voice vote by the Democratic majority committee.
Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the largest refuge in the lower 48 states, comprising 1.6 million acres of pristine Mojave Desert habitat, home to Nevada’s state mammal, the desert bighorn sheep, and the threatened Mojave desert tortoise. It is visible from the Las Vegas strip and many southern Nevadans consider it their back yard.
“It’s appalling that Democrats on the House Armed Services committee would betray the people of Nevada by giving away our beloved Desert National Wildlife Refuge to the Air Force,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Nevadans from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats, Native American tribes, veterans and civilians, hunters and wildlife watchers, have all come together to oppose this proposal. It’s a slap in the face for this amendment to go through.”
The Air Force’s proposal to seize the Desert Refuge generated enormous public outcry and a national campaign to save the refuge, under the banner #DontBombTheBighorn. Over 32,000 people submitted comments to the Air Force opposed to the expansion. The Nevada legislature approved a resolution opposed to the expansion in 2019 with a bipartisan 58-3 vote.
Notably, in late 2019, the entire Nevada delegation introduced legislation which would have eliminated most of the Air Force’s takeover proposal while designating much of the refuge as wilderness. As a result of their advocacy, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted last month not to allow any expansion of the Air Force bombing range in their version of the National Defense Authorization Act.
“It defies belief that the Desert Refuge could make it safely through Republican Senator Inhofe’s Senate Armed Services Committee only to be put on the chopping block by Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee,” said Donnelly. “We’re grateful to representatives Horsford, Titus and Lee and senators Cortez Masto and Rosen for their advocacy for our beloved Desert Refuge. We stand by them and with the people of Nevada and will continue our fight to stop the military from dropping bombs on wildlife refuges.”
Mississippi Kite enjoys Clark County Wetlands Park
By Scott Clemson - July 2, 2020
First seen on July 1st, 2020 by Corey S., a 2nd year Mississippi Kite (MIKI) has graced the Park’s snags, aether, and wetlands for many to observe. L. 13-17” WS 31-37”
Ictinia Mississipiensis ( ἱκτινοσ [iktinos] Greek = kite, + of Mississippi) has been officially documented in Nevada only 11 times since 1986 (according to Martin Meyers’ perusal of NBRC records), with 8 of those sightings in Clark County.
March, 2020, was a turning point for Red Rock Audubon Society. The reality of living in a society with a deadly virus brought all our gatherings to a halt. General meeting - cancelled. Bird walks - cancelled. Birds and Beers (or Beverages) - cancelled. Community outreach programs - cancelled. No Bioblitz at Clark County Wetlands Park or Children's Festival at the Winchester Dondero Cultural Center. No field trips. And our fledgling Winchester Nesters program was grounded. And while some of us managed to salvage a bit of Global Big Day as a Great Basin Bird Observatory Bird-a-Thon, this annual adventure with friends wasn't near the fun it used to be.
Red Rock Audubon really, really wants people to support local bird populations by growing native plants. Native plants are the best choice because they are adapted to survive our extreme weather conditions. Local birds and insects have evolved alongside these plants that provide the specific nutrition they need. So we are reaching out into the community by planting demonstration gardens to showcase our beautiful Nevada natives.
We often think about window strikes happening on buildings & homes. Any reflective surface can result in a window strike. Here you see a bird has struck a car window, parked outside, with the trees reflected very clearly. How can we prevent birds from striking car windows?
Worm-eating Warbler photo by Jennifer Dudek
By Jennifer Dudek
If you know me, mornings are not necessarily my thing, so how I have found and stuck with birding as a hobby is sometimes baffling. Generally, birding requires setting the alarm and being out at the crack of dawn to witness the birds singing and feasting. On an early morning in May, I reaped the rewards of being the proverbial early bird catching the worm by witnessing a rare southern Nevada sighting of a Worm-eating Warbler.