Urban Forest Bird-a-thon 2022


Urban Forest Bird-a-thon 2022


Urban Forest
6711 Ellis Avenue,
Huntington Beach, CA 92648


September 22, 2022 - September 25, 2022    
All Day

The two-decades-old Huntington Beach Urban Forest serves as an increasingly popular stopover in our Pacific Flyway zone. As habitat continues to grow and expand, more birds have been flocking here year-round. During the monthly bird survey on Thursday morning, April 27, 2023, when many migrating birds were nesting, a record 54 species were observed. How many will you find?

On behalf of the Huntington Beach Tree Society, my Western Bluebird family and all the birds in the HB Urban Forest, I’d like to thank all who participated in the first-ever Huntington Beach Urban Forest BIRD-A-THON. We hope to see you again soon! (Photo by Urban Forest birder James Kendall)

Fresh Air & Fun for Everyone!

The fall Huntington Beach Urban Forest BIRD-A-THON was a four-day fundraiser for planting and bird-friendly improvements at the Urban Forest. Similar to a walk-a-thon, bird-watching participants competed as individuals or teams, raising pledge money by counting birds and bird species, recording data on the popular eBird app. Participants could “bird” the park any daylight hours on any day from Thursday through Sunday in order to be included in the bird-friendly competition. No prior birding knowledge or experience was required to join the fun.

Some participants opted to join Saturday and Sunday morning teams led by expert birders.  “Lena’s Legions,” the official birder kick-off team on Thursday, observed the most – 41 species. Many participants were delighted to discover this increasingly verdant expanse for the first time. The parkland is situated within the Pacific Flyway zone frequented by birds traveling between Alaska and the southernmost regions of South America. The event began on the first day of fall and right on schedule, migratory birds were among those detected. For the complete list, please click here.

Forestation, Restoration, Transformation

Using BIRD-A-THON pledges and donations, the HB Tree Society intends to welcome back CA Gnatcatchers, just as HB Trees’ prolific planting throughout the increasingly lush Urban Forest has attracted so many other bird species.

Shutterbug James Kendall Honored

James Kendall was unanimously chosen as the 2022 honoree by the HB Trees BIRD-A-THON Planning Committee, for bringing to light the amazing diversity of bird species found in the Urban Forest. To see some of his extraordinary bird photographs that he generously shares, click here.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” stated fellow birder and planning committee member Betty Kanne during the award presentation at the start of the BIRD-A-THON. The hand carved and painted bluebird was created by artist and HB Trees volunteer Ray Calloway.

The Western Bluebird is the Urban Forest mascot and “spokesbird” as its kindred conservation spirit, with this beautiful bird and the HB Urban Forest both rescued in the 21st century.   

Birder and Urban Forest photographer James Kendall received the Western Bluebird Award from HB Tree Society President Jean Nagy on day one of the four-day fall BIRD-A-THON. “Jim has brought to life aspects of nature that many folks would otherwise never notice. Through hundreds of hours of patient observation, he has captured gorgeous photographs of even the shyest species,” she states. “The more we can expose current and future generations to the beauty of birds and the benefit they provide to a healthy ecosystem, the better.”

Bringing Back Native Habitat & Ca Gnatcatchers

Urban Forest BIRD-A-THON 2022 proceeds are helping fund the purchase and planting of (clockwise from top left) California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), Laurel Sumac (Malosma laurina), a Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) forest, Lemonade Berry (Rhus integrifolia) and Bush Penstemon (Keckiella antirrhinoides), all of which serve as habitat for California Gnatcatchers and scores more of our most cherished resident and migrating bird species. Reduction of this habitat in so much of our region has led to California Gnatcatchers being placed on the California Endangered Species List.

August 2023 Update

Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) and other coastal sage scrub shrubs planted over the past two decades on the south side of the Urban Forest are thriving, and expanding with nearby plantings. These Southern California natives are extremely drought-tolerant and provide habitat for numerous birds, butterflies and bees.

This Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), planted by a high school volunteer, is an important coastal sage shrub producing bright red berries loved by several bird species.

To read this story, please click here.

Click on the photo to read the story.

HB Trees’ first-ever Urban Forest BIRD-A-THON Sept. 22-25, 2022,  coincided with the start of the fall migration. An abundance of birds were observed, including those shown here, compliments of birder & photographer James Kendall.  “Lena’s Legions,” the official BIRD-A-THON kick-off team on Thursday, observed 41 species for a total of 312 birds! The “Bluebirds” team shown above, led by birders Betty Kanne & Lena Hayashi and comprised primarily of novice birders, spied 26 species on Saturday morning. The Urban Forest’s diverse bird population has proven HB Trees’ “If you plant it, they will come”  philosophy to be true.

Everyone involved with our organization, from Volunteer to President, brings immense value and purpose to the work we do.

This article was written by a Huntington Beach Tree Society team member with a sincere passion to help the world we all share get better with each passing day.

If you would like to get involved and make a difference today, we invite you to connect with us.

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