VIDEO: JUNE 15th Community Program - Wolf Ecology and Reintro to Yellowstone NP


Wolf Ecology and Reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park
Presented by Dave Clendenen

[link at bottom]

After intro by MCAS president, Judy Neuhauser, Dave gives a presentation about wolf ecology and their reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park and the northern Rocky Mountains. The presentation also focuses on the wolf’s polarizing nature, and conflicts with human society arising from this species’ presence in the wild. It will also examine the critically important role that wolves play in maintaining the health and balance of the ecosystems in which they exist.

Dave Clendenen is a biologist and naturalist, living with his wife Sherryl in San Luis Obispo. He graduated from Cal Poly in 1981, earning a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Management, with a concentration in wildlife biology. He worked for 15 years on the California Condor Recovery Project, and was the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s lead biologist for condor recovery in southern California when he departed the project in 1997. During those years he also participated in the reintroduction of bald eagles on Catalina Island, and worked on a bald eagle study in central Arizona. He was also a hack site attendant, releasing a group of peregrine falcons near Mono Lake in 1984. In 1997, he took a position with The Wildlands Conservancy as preserve manager of Wind Wolves Preserve in Kern County. In 2014 he came full circle, returning to Cal Poly, where he is a technician in the Biology Department. Dave is also currently the Land Manager for Morro Coast Audubon Society (MCAS), managing stewardship of Sweet Springs Nature Preserve and other MCAS properties. Since 2003, Dave and Sherryl have volunteered with Rick McIntyre and the National Park Service for two to three weeks each summer, assisting with observation of reintroduced wolves in Yellowstone.

EUREKA! THE BIRDS OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY -- May 2020


MAY 2020

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VIDEO: The Wonderful Life of a Dying Tree, May Community Program


The Wonderful Life of a Dying Tree
Presented on Monday, May 18th, by Gillian Martin

Now available on the MCAS YouTube Channel.

From article by Gillian Martin publishers in Pacific Flyway newsletter (pg 3).

Our eyes dismiss a dying tree. Our fears tell us to cut it down and haul it away quickly. How often do we ask, “Does the tree need to be removed completely?”

A dying tree has a commendable destiny. Whether it still stands, is reduced to a hollowed stump, or becomes downed wood, most of its life occurs in a complex, intriguing, unseen world. Imagine a time-share that is used by different species, for different purposes, in every stage of its demise. Few natural resources are as overlooked and unappreciated.

One of the most critical relationships between dead trees and wildlife involves the woodpecker. This family of birds needs rotting wood in standing trees in which to excavate nest and roost sites. As if to ‘give back’ to its neighborhood, the woodpecker leaves its abandoned cavities to dozens of secondary cavity-nesting species. Could the bluebird, nuthatch or chickadee conceive of a better neighbor? But that’s not all, the woodpecker’s foraging methods sometimes expose insect nests for other insectivores. Secondarily, by working in decaying wood and brushing against fungal fruiting bodies the woodpecker becomes a vector of fungal spores and mycelial fragments. Does the term ‘forest succession’ come to mind? Yes, nature intended a tree to die in place and ultimately return its nutrients to the soil to support the next generation of trees and other vegetation.

EUREKA! THE BIRDS OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY -- April 2020


APRIL 2020

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COMMUNITY PROGRAM via Zoom - 6/15 - The Wolves of Yellowstone


Wolf Ecology and Reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park
Presented by Dave Clendenen

[Zoom info at bottom.]

Dave will talk about wolf ecology and their reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park and the northern Rocky Mountains. The presentation will also focus on the wolf’s polarizing nature, and conflicts with human society arising from this species’ presence in the wild. It will also examine the critically important role that wolves play in maintaining the health and balance of the ecosystems in which they exist.

Dave Clendenen is a biologist and naturalist, living with his wife Sherryl in San Luis Obispo. He graduated from Cal Poly in 1981, earning a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Management, with a concentration in wildlife biology. He worked for 15 years on the California Condor Recovery Project, and was the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s lead biologist for condor recovery in southern California when he departed the project in 1997. During those years he also participated in the reintroduction of bald eagles on Catalina Island, and worked on a bald eagle study in central Arizona.  He was also a hack site attendant, releasing a group of peregrine falcons near Mono Lake in 1984. In 1997, he took a position with The Wildlands Conservancy as preserve manager of Wind Wolves Preserve in Kern County. In 2014 he came full circle, returning to Cal Poly, where he is a technician in the Biology Department. Dave is also currently the Land Manager for Morro Coast Audubon Society (MCAS), managing stewardship of Sweet Springs Nature Preserve and other MCAS properties. Since 2003, Dave and Sherryl have volunteered with Rick McIntyre and the National Park Service for two to three weeks each summer, assisting with observation of reintroduced wolves in Yellowstone.

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Sweet Springs Circle of Friends Plaques Installed

Thank you to our Sweet Springs Circle of Friends contributors (those who donate $500+)! Although the annual Circle of Friends celebration is being postponed until it is deemed safe to again gather together, we went ahead and installed the fiscal year 2019 plaques at the entrance to Central Sweet Springs on May 16th. Besides individual donations, 3 special plaques were added to honor our Sweet Springs Ambassadors, and Work Party and Breeding Bird Survey Volunteers.

MCAS thanks each and every one of you for your generous donations! The MCAS fiscal year 2020 began May 1st, the date we usually send out our annual fund drive appeal letters. This year, however, since many are struggling economically, we are postponing sending the letters until late summer. Should you have the means to replenish our coffers at this time, we welcome any and all donations. Options are checks to MCAS, PO Box 1507, Morro Bay, CA 93443, or donate on-line.

Both Sweet Springs and the Audubon 4th Street Audubon Overlook remain open to the public for passive recreations and fresh air (and birding, or course). We do recommend not sharing binoculars and abiding by the social distancing guidelines

VIDEO: Protecting Nature's Nurseries - April 20th MCAS Community Program


For those that were not able to attend the MCAS Virtual Community program on 4/20, the video is now available for viewing on YouTube. Presenter Andrea Jones, Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon California, describes ongoing work that is being done to preserve and improve estuaries all along the west coast.

Something special happens when a river meets an ocean. Freshwater rivers and streams flow from inland to mix with salty ocean water, creating a unique habitat called an estuary. Estuaries, and the wetlands and bays that surround them, are some of the most productive areas in the world for birds, other wildlife, and humans. The coasts and estuaries of the Pacific Flyway-the migratory bird highway stretching from the Arctic to Patagonia-support nearly a billion birds.

Returning to our beaches...

Snowy Plovers blend with beach sand and rocks
Social distancing is not just important for people—it’s important that we keep our distance from nesting birds too, as California’s beaches begin to reopen. If you go to the beach or a coastal island, please help us protect birds by avoiding their nesting areas. Signs or people usually alert you to these areas, but many posting and fencing efforts are delayed this season due to COVID-19.

Snowy Plover with downy young

Audubon California’s 10 Steps to Protect Snowy Plover Chicks at the Beach

We’re not the only ones who need social distancing this spring and summer. Snowy Plovers, Killdeer, and Least Tern are easily scared off their nests and away from chicks by humans and dogs. Please maintain your distance from beach-nesting birds!

3 Ways to Share the Shore video