June 15, 2017

On May 30 Audubon Canyon Ranch accomplished its first major controlled burn event of its Fire Ecology Program when roughly 17.5 acres of grassland and oak savannah on the Bouverie Preserve in the Sonoma Valley were targeted. The event served to further ACR's goals of addressing hazardous fuel loads and declining ecosystem health through the coordination of cooperative, ecologically planned, scientifically monitored, and safely implemented controlled burns. The burns could not have gone better!

A cooperative event

A...

June 14, 2017

For the past several months, ACR’s Quinton Martins and Keysight’s Neil Martin have been developing a new walk-through cage trap that utilizes ultrasonic electronic sensors and has become ACR’s main safe-capture method. Because of trapping restrictions in California, or as an additional “tool” for biologists in other states or around the world, this cage design should be very useful. Some of the benefits include: no bait is necessary; researchers can trap all-year round with no seasonal limitations due to bait degradation; set electronic timer to have cage active only when capture teams are on standby; and researchers can set the ultrasonic electronic sensors to target size-specific animals, avoiding capture on non-target species.

The two presented the cage trap at the 12th...

May 02, 2017

The ACR Nature Guide class of 2017 includes 14 graduates with ages ranging from 7 years-old through retirement. Our newest volunteers received 8 weeks of training, learning about plants, birds, reptiles, pond critters, nature connection, interpretation, and more! These folks will now go on to share their knowledge and love for nature with the public at the Martin Griffin Preserve.

The Nature Guide program (previously called Ranch Guides) has existed since 1986 and plays an important role in introducing visitors to the range of hiking and learning opportunities at Martin Griffin Preserve.

Join us through spring and summer for engaging Conservation Talks by regional...

April 08, 2017
10-day-old mountain lion kittens - copyright Audubon Canyon Ranch egret.org

4/7/17: Team discovers 10-day old mountain lion kittens belonging to P1.
On April 7 our mountain lion research team announced the discovery of three 10-day old mountain lion kittens belonging to P1, a female mountain lion enlisted in our research study. The den was located the Glen Ellen / Kenwood vicinity of Sonoma County. The team was able to capture photos and video of the tiny lions from a distance. The kittens were not touched or handled at all.

This marks the first offspring born to a subject of the study and was especially exciting for lead researcher Dr. Quinton Martins...

April 05, 2017

On March 13th, ACR’s Fire Ecology Program successfully conducted its planned pile burns for the year. The burns significantly reduced hazardous fuel loads near our southern property boundary, reducing wildfire risk, improving public safety, and preparing for a successful, low-intensity controlled burn in the future. During pre-burn preparation of the area, 30 young oak saplings were found within a patch of decadent coyote brush. In order to protect these saplings, the coyote brush was removed from the immediate vicinity of the saplings, and the decadent brush patch was burned amidst the piles. 

February 22, 2017

Note: If the video does not appear in this space, please visit http://abc7news.com/1770142/ for viewing.

We were thrilled to welcome the ABC7News special projects team to join us on our search for mountain lions in the hills of Sonoma. The news crew filmed behind the scenes, interviewed our team and local landowners and captured the latest developments this week. This captivating story was featured by ABC7News (KGO Bay Area) Thursday, February 23.

Fourth Mountain Lion Captured

Just before this aired, our research team was thrilled to capture a fourth female mountain lion in four months. The latest big...

February 08, 2017

ACR's Mountain Lion Project welcomed Alex Hettena to the team this month. Alex, a master's candidate in Environmental Science, will focus mostly on investigating the multitude of GPS "cluster" activity from our two collared mountain lions. Clusters are defined when a mountain lion spends 4 hours or more at any two locations less than 100m apart, possibly indicating a kill/feeding site. These kill sites not only offer tons of insight into mountain lion diet and behavior but also allow us to connect with landowners in order to gain access to the sites. Since our tracking activities began, 41 GPS location clusters over a 3 month period were identified for P1 in 2016. Of those, 12 were investigated and 10 found remains of feeding activity. All of the kill sites were deer of different ages...

February 08, 2017

We humans have come up with some poetic collective nouns for animals. A murder of crows. A parliament of owls. Even a shrewdness of apes (now also the name of a band). So it seems we missed the proverbial lily pad when we came up with the term “army” to describe the millions of frogs that welcome spring with their delightful and often deafening chorus. As few Californians are more joyously vocal about the possible end to the California drought this year, I humbly offer a happiness of frogs as an alternative.

The frogs we hear performing their seasonal symphony right now in the North Bay are Pacific chorus frogs, or sometimes called simply tree frogs. Sticklers for taxonomic accuracy will correctly point out that our local Pacific chorus...
February 01, 2017

ACR staff and volunteers conducted the second of four annual waterbird counts on Tomales Bay in mid-January. The team of 17, including 11 volunteers, launched from the Marshall Boat Works in three boats and made a complete sweep of the bay over the course of the chilly but clear morning.

Approximately 19,400 waterbirds were counted, which is low relative to past seasons when as many as 35,000 birds could be seen. Highlights included the sighting of three Caspian Terns, a common sight on Tomales Bay in summer, but rarely seen in winter, and at least one Black Scoter, a lovely bird that is thought to be in decline. Bufflehead and Greater Scaup were most numerous (counted about 6,300 Bufflehead and 6,400 Scaup), and although gulls are counted during the Christmas Bird Count, they...

January 27, 2017

ACR is pleased to welcome the 2017 Juniper Junior Naturalist Training class! Now in its 24th year, the Juniper Program provides training for 30 budding naturalists who were identified by docents during a school program field trip. This year we’ve added an entire additional training day, growing the training from five to six Saturdays – by including a day of Stewardship & Leadership.

Once they have completed their training, Junipers are invited to assist with field research and stewardship projects, and they serve as co-leaders for nature walks for Preserve visitors. Come for a nature walk and meet our fabulous Junipers!

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