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  • Bluebird News!

    Bluebird Boxes are Ready for the Nesting Season

    On April 2, eight of us cleaned out the Bluebird boxes on the Vredenburgh trail to get them ready for spring. We got all of them cleaned and found only a few minor maintenance issues and a few boxes which will need replacement. We had a great group and perfect weather!...

  • Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge Field Trip, February 2021

    After a couple weeks of troublesome weather, February 27 was a magnificent day for our first YVAS field trip of the year! An enthusiastic group of YVAS members and family met at 8:00 AM in the Refuge Lookout parking lot where YVAS Board member and Refuge Volunteer, Kerry Turley, gave an orientation and birding tips about the refuge.

  • To Save Birds, Prevent Window Strikes

    Glass collisions are a huge problem for birds. The American Bird Conservancy estimates that up to a billion birds die in collisions with glass each year in the United States. Although most people have seen or heard a bird hit a window, they often believe it is an unusual event. Add up all those deaths and the number is staggering.

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  • Cottonwood - Rivers and Reproduction - Katrina Strahmann

    Katrina Strathmann, Restoration Ecologist, Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group

    Cottonwood: Rivers and Reproduction

    Katrina Strathmann, Restoration Ecologist Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group

    Posted by Yakima Valley Audubon Society on Thursday, January 28, 2021

    Riparian forests form the foundation of lowland floodplain and channel systems. They provide shade, nutrient input, and large wood critical to maintaining channel...

  • Evans Canyon Fire Impacts and How You Can Help with Restoration

    On the afternoon of August 31, 2020, a fire broke out near the northern slope of Cleman Mountain in the Wenas Valley. Named the Evans Canyon fire, it would ultimately burn 75, 817 acres. The fire burned in two directions, heading down the Wenas Creek Valley but also burning northeast and burning in the Umptanum Creek watershed. Ultimately, the fire...

  • BirdYak Email Group for Birding in Yakima County - Groups.io

    BirdYak is an email list for topics relating to birds and birding in Yakima County. This list is open to anyone, and the hope is that the postings will focus on issues of sightings and identification related to Yakima County, and associated topics such as birding destinations and equipment. Discussion of purely conservation issues are discouraged, as...

  • COVID-19 Response - Socially Distanced Field Trips and Online Programs

    Because the COVID-19 outbreak is still cancelling in-person gatherings, there will be no programs held at the Arboretum. However, we will be holding the programs via the internet live on Zoom. They will still be held on the fourth Thursday of each month, beginning in August. Each month, a link for the Zoom program will appear with the “Crier” newsletter,...

  • Bluebird Trail Monitoring Does Have Heartbreaks

    While monitoring the Vredenburg Trail is usually a very positive experience, there are times when one encounters a nesting incident that can be discouraging.

    On June 19 while monitoring the trail with his wife Chris Reid, Denny Granstrand had a jarring moment when he lifted the lid of Box 65. I imagine that like most of us, his pupils enlarged,...

  • Vanishing Birds of Yakima County

    I came to the Yakima Valley in 1978 and set to work observing and learning its birdlife. I found the very diverse habitats the county boasts were home for an impressive array of birds, more than 300 in all. However, the past 40 years have seen changes to our birds. At least six species that were regular in occurrence and...

  • Washington Sage Grouse - 2019 Status

    Populations of Greater sage-grouse in Washington continue to decline and these have resulted in serious concerns for the species long-term conservation status, according to the 2019 annual report issued by the Washington State Department of Wildlife (WDFW). That report forms the basis of this report. The overall state population was estimated to be 676 in 2019, associated with 21 leks...

  • Blues News - In 2019, Vredenburgh Trail Survives

    In 1982, YVAS members put up 57 nest boxes in the Wenas area. The trail was expanded over the years and now has 132 nest boxes along a 14 mile stretch of North Wenas Road between Audubon Road and Durr Road. In 1994, the trail was named in honor of Virginia and Harold Vredenburgh to recognize their years of tireless...

  • Sheep Lake Hike Trip Report - September 6, 2019

    Fourteen Yakima Auduboners headed up the Chinook Pass Highway to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to Sheep Lake and beyond. Rain threatened on the drive up to the pass and it began to rain lightly as we approached the parking area. I radioed the group spread out in four cars seeing if group consensus might be to head elsewhere,...

  • Analysis Report Identifies Sagebrush Conservation Priorities

    Fire and the spread of invasive plants are two of the most pressing challenges facing the sagebrush steppe throughout the Great Basin and Washington’s Columbia Basin. A new report by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) provides a comprehensive assessment and strategies for dealing with fire and weedy invasives. These include options for conservation of sagebrush in...

  • Vredenburgh Bluebird Trail - Two Weeks in June

    The three newly hatched bluebirds in the snapshot below want to give a shout out to all our sponsors! Monitors rarely glimpse a shell fragment with new young inside a nest box…the adults either remove shells promptly after hatching or perhaps they consume them for the calcium content. As I take quick grabs with my smart phone, the quality/sharpness isn’t...

  • USDA Forest Service and Partners are seeking a community vision for recreation

    Cle Elum and Naches Areas—In the cold, clear waters of the Cle Elum River, an angler tries her luck catching trout as early morning steam rises into the air. Far to the south over several forested ridges, a group of motorbike enthusiasts are unloading their trailers in preparation for a day out on the Cub Creek trails in the Little...

  • Washington State is a Winner in Public-lands Bill Passed by Congress

    President Donald Trump signed on March 12 a landmark public lands bill with huge implications for national land acquisition for conservation, as well as for Washington state issues and projects. Every member of the Washington delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives passed this wide-ranging bill. Important for land acquisition of priority lands for permanent conservation protection and promotion of...

  • Arborfest 2019 - "Take a Walk in the Woods!"

    Come volunteer with the YVAS booth; enjoy the festivities; bring the family!

    Once again, it is almost time to celebrate nature with families at the Yakima Area Arboretum’s annual Arborfest, on Saturday, April 13th from 10am to 3 pm, at the Yakima Area Arboretum. This is a free community event, celebrating Arbor Day, spring, conservation, and nature. Featured are...

  • 2018 – A Record Year for Cleman Mountain Bluebirds

    During this cold, sometimes gloomy, time of year, it is fun to look back at warmer, sunnier times, especially when they involve birds. Last year (2018) was the fifth year that Joe and I monitored and maintained our little trail on Cleman Mountain which is accessed through the WDFW gate at the hay barn storing feed for wintering elk. Like...

  • Warm weather and wind hamper Yakima Valley CBC

    It was an odd Saturday morning on December 29 that greeted the birders on the Yakima Valley Christmas Bird Count. Weather conditions made it seem like an early spring day: high temp. of 57°, low 29°, no snow on the ground, and only the shallowest little pools of water frozen but soon melted as the day warmed. If it hadn’t...

  • Warm, sunny day highlights Toppenish NWR Christmas Bird Count

    On Saturday December 15th, 22 courageous birders ventured into the field for the Toppenish Christmas bird count. The weather was very pleasant; the sun shone down on us for much of the day, and the temperature got up into the mid 40s. This was certainly the warmest bird count I can remember being a part of, and I think this...

  • Hmm…Did I Just See a Hummingbird?

    Image - Immature Anna's Hummingbird - Cowiche Canyon, Yakima, WA
    Immature Anna's Hummingbird - Cowiche Canyon, Yakima, WA

    Q: It’s fall (or winter) and there are still hummingbirds in my yard – shouldn’t they have migrated by now?

    A: The hummingbirds seen in October thru February/March in the valley are almost...

  • Vredenburgh Bluebird Trail - They did it!! Wait, who did what??

    In 1982, YVAS members put up 57 nest boxes in the Wenas area. The trail was expanded over the years and now has 132 nest boxes along a 14 mile stretch of North Wenas Road between Audubon Road and Durr Road. In 1994, the trail was named in honor of Virginia and Harold Vredenburgh to recognize their years of tireless...

  • Sunnyside-Snake River Wildlife Area Management Plan

    I attended a public meeting on May 31st in Prosser hosted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) which is developing a new management plan for the Sunnyside-Snake River Wildlife Area in south-central Washington. The wildlife area consists of 17 units that cover more than 20,840 acres in Franklin, Benton, and Yakima counties. Almost half of the acreage...

  • Hunting for Birds with Cub Scouts

    A few years ago, YVAS obtained a grant to buy some lifesized bird models. We used these for events, including the Yakima Greenway’s “Kiddin’ Around” program. This year, when we received a request from a Terrace Heights Cub Scout group for something educational for one of their meetings, we recreated a similar event at the Yakima Area Arboretum.

  • The International Migratory Bird Day is May 12

    Any time of year is a great time to get out and see birds, but migration time is when flocks of colorful birds are at their peak, moving along their migratory flyways toward their breeding and wintering grounds.

    Since 1993, International Migratory Bird Day has been celebrated during the second weekend in May in the Western Hemisphere. World Migratory Bird...

  • When you see a White-headed Woodpecker, check for bands on its legs

    It’s that time of year again when we start getting out to go birding in areas we couldn’t get to in the winter. I want to remind everyone that we are still in the process of color-banding White-headed Woodpeckers in the Wenas in areas of the Ellensburg Pass Road, Mud Flats Road, Wenas Campground and Hog Ranch Road, Milk Canyon,...

  • 2018 - The Year of the Bird

    Psst…Have you heard? 2018 has been designated as the year of the bird. How so you ask? Well in the latest Audubon magazine, David Yarnold, CEO/PRESIDENT, AUDUBON, states that the charismatic editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine (Susan Goldberg) called and asked about an alliance between the two organizations to declare 2018 as The Year of the Bird. What if other...

  • Vantage Field Trip -- Waterbirds and More!

    On Sunday November 12th, four Yakima Audubon members joined me for a trip to Vantage to view the fall migrant waterfowl spectacle along the Columbia River. A quick stop at the Tjossem Pond in Ellensburg yielded two surprises; 2 female Red-breasted Merganers among the more expected Common Mergansers and two leucistic Canada Geese hanging out with a flock of Canada...

  • Vredenburgh Bluebird Nest Box Trail has successful 2017!

    As the human population and activities (habitat alteration & destruction) in North America expanded, bluebird populations plummeted due to the resulting shortage of natural cavities for nesting, pesticide use and perhaps most importantly, by importing two European species of birds to North America, the House Sparrow and the European Starling.

  • Lower Valley Shorebird Field Trip Finds 80 Species

    On August 16th I was joined by Annika Willette for a day of shorebirding around the lower valley. We started at the Kerry’s Pond, which was relatively productive. As soon as we got out of the car to scope the pond most of the ducks flushed, but we were still able to pick out Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, Mallard,...

  • The Case of the Migrating Warbling Vireo

    While we sitting at our patio table with friends on August 17 and enjoying some of Chris’s blueberry crisp, a Warbling Vireo landed near us in our cedar tree. Unfortunately, I was the only one at the table who got a good look at it. It was nice to see it in our yard and it was the first one...

  • Yakima County's Second Indigo Bunting Found Along Audubon Road in the Wenas on June 10

    Editor’s Note: These are Richard Repp’s reflections about another wonderful bird sighting in Yakima County. This is copied from an e-mail that Richard sent to BirdYak.

    In the event there may be a few Yakkers (shorthand for members of BirdYak) that do not fall into the category one of YVAS former presidents described as “kamikaze birders” (read super intense about...

  • Snow Mountain Ranch Field Trip Produces Fun Bird Sightings

    Seven birders (and flower lovers) took a hike at Snow Mountain Ranch. Despite the cooler, wetter conditions there than in year’s past, we saw some great birds and some beautiful wildflowers. If I knew the plant names better, I could have kept a list of plants as well as birds.

  • Snags Are Important Wildlife Habitat

    Did you know that trees can be more important for wildlife dead than alive? When trees die, their wood softens and rots providing places for animals to create cavities that are used as nest and shelter sites. In the northwest, nearly 100 species of wildlife use snags including some of our favorite birds such as bluebirds, owls, woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees,...