Founded in 1904

Affiliated with the National Audubon Society

Our Mission: To bring the excitement of birds to our community through birding, education and the conservation of bird habitats


Click here to go to Youth Conservation.

Hahamonga Monitoring

In November, bulldozers from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works began destroying riparian habitat in Hahamongna Watershed Park. To date, they have transformed nearly all of the 71 acres on the floor of the basin to bare dirt. Excavation of sediment will commence on April 15 and last through December 31, and this pattern will repeat for four years, the projected time required to remove 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment.

During and after this time, mitigation efforts will add native plants to areas surrounding the floor of the basin. But those activities will be dwarfed by the ongoing clearance of a 51-acre “maintenance yard” in the center of the basin, which will be scraped to bare dirt each fall.

These are tragic times for Hahamongna. But our reaction must be two-fold. First, we must act as watchdogs on the County’s activities. Already, they have bulldozed mature oak trees in the vicinity of the East Altadena drain – trees that were supposed to be protected under the project plan. The County has many other restrictions on their activities in Hahamongna, and those of us who spend time there must be aware of those restrictions and must report any violations. Read Part 1: General Terms of County Permits and Part 2: Specific Violations to watch for.

Second we must prepare for the time, five years ahead, when the major sediment clearing is complete. Riparian habitat grew in the basin before, and it will grow again, unless the County is successful in their plan to scrape bare 51 acres each fall. That will be the next battle, and Pasadena Audubon will need your help and support as we fight that battle.

For now, mourn for what we have lost, and prepare yourself to continue to fight.

Image    Image

Hahamonga before                         Hahamonga after

(photos from Carol Momsen)

Butterflies and Birds Need Native Plants - Why Native Plants Matter

One of the best ways to invite birds into your garden is to plant a bird habitat. This means landscaping with plants that birds can use for food either directly or indirectly. If you're interested in planting such a habitat, an excellent resource is the YouTube channel for L.I.F.E.--Landscape Integrity Films and Education. You can subscribe, and it's free!
These short films clearly explain the value of planting native plants to us and to wildlife. And they give clear tutorials on how to create a native garden.

For a sample, please enjoy the film right here:

Polystyrene Ban Update—Victory!

From Laura Garrett, our conservation chair:

On Monday, May 9, the Pasadena City Council unanimously voted to have the city attorney draft an ordinance that will ban most single-use polystyrene in the City of Pasadena. So what does this mean? Once the ordinance is drafted, then it has to be read publically. Then Council votes again. Based on their comments on May 8, we should have no trouble getting the final draft of the ordinance passed. Two members of Council even asked if the ordinance could be stronger than the one staff presented! Anyone who has ever participated in a beach cleanup or the cleanup at Peck Park knows how pernicious polystyrene is once it’s in the environment. So this is wonderful news for birds!

The ordinance bans the use of polystyrene take-out containers, including clam shells and cups. These items will no longer be available at restaurants or events at the Rose Bowl and other Pasadena venues. Even better, no stores in Pasadena will be allowed to sell these items, and better yet, they will also not be allowed to sell polystyrene ice chests, unless they are encapsulated in hard plastic.

Many small businesses are concerned about the extra cost of take-out containers that are not made from polystyrene. These other containers can cost the same as polystyrene or as much as ten cents more, depending on the container. Though many speakers at the City Council meeting assured these restaurant owners that we’d be happy to pay the extra dime, many of the owners said their customers couldn’t pay it. So we have some work to do as a community to help these folks not go out of business. By the way, there has not been one documented case of a restaurant going out of business because of a polystyrene ban. The first such ban in California was in 1988 in Berkeley.

While this is a very welcome step in Pasadena’s journey toward sustainability, we still have miles to go before we sleep. And Council seems to be aware of this. For instance, some councilmembers are eager to promote a “bring your own container” program that encourages restaurants and patrons to eschew the use of single-use takeout containers altogether. This would be best of all!

Many thanks to those of you who signed letters and/or the petition and emailed City Council. You joined a dedicated army of folks who worked very hard to make this happen. The birds thank you!
Questions? Email me at purplecow@jps.net.

Past Conservation Events

Peck Water Conservation Park

Are you ready to get your hands dirty and take care of a beautiful birding spot? Volunteer to pick up trash at Peck Park on April 16th from 10 AM to 1 PM (optional bird walk starts at 8 AM). Please wear clothes that you are okay getting dirty, sturdy shoes, and a hat. We ask that you bring a refillable water bottle and sunscreen. We will be providing water, light snacks, and lunch afterwards to thank you for your hard work! Please note- this project is for ages 18 and up.

Email Lois at lbrunet@pasadenaaudubon.org for more information and to register. We look forward to seeing you there!

(photos from lacounty.gov)

International Migratory Bird Day is May 14th!

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty with a day of birding and habitat restoration.

Join PAS and the Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy at Rubio Canyon on May 14th. This is an all ages event (but please, no dogs). We will start with a bird walk from 8-9:00 AM, and then help AFC restore Rubio Canyon’s bird habitat by either removing invasive plants or planting native plants from 9:00 AM to noon. Please wear clothes that you are okay getting dirty, sturdy shoes, and a hat. We ask that you bring a refillable water bottle and sunscreen. We will be providing water and light snacks.

Email Kym at kym.buzdygon@pasadenaaudubon.org for more information and to register. We look forward to seeing you there!

(photos from Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy)

From Laura Garrett, our conservation chair:

Birders: Some of you have asked me about the situation at Hahamongna. It is not good at all. The County is collecting comments right now about their plan to permanently remove 42-120 acres of habitat from the dam up to JPL. In their draft EIR, they said the impacts to recreation, including birding would be "minimal." It is critical that we tell them this is simply not true. Their plans also permenently destroy the habitat where the Least Bell's Vireo nested in 2012.

Many people have been meeting to see what we can do to prevent this from happening. One excellent resource is savehahamongna.org. Join up and see what you can do to help.

One of the best things to do is to write a letter commenting on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). Please copy the letter to your County Supervisor, and, if you live in Pasadena or La Canada, your city councilmember.
Feel free to download the Hahamonga Sediment Cleanout Fact Sheet for tips.

Some Addresses:

County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works, Water Resources Division
Attn: Reservoir Cleanouts Program
P.O.Box 1460, Alhambra, CA 91802-1460
or email: reservoircleanouts@dpw.lacounty.gov

Supervisor Antonovich
215 N. Marengo Ave., Suite 120, Pasadena, CA 91101
or email his Director of Communications Tony Bell tbell@bos.lacounty.gov

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard
100 N. Garfield Avenue, Room S228, Pasadena, CA 90009
or email at bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net

Here are some other resources that might be useful:

Darren Dowell's Birds of Hahamonga

Save Hahamonga on Facebook
Arroyo Seco Foundation on Facebook

Scoping Comments
DG EIR toolkit
DGSRMP Fact Sheet
Devil's Gate Sediment Management

For more info contact Laura Garrett: purplecow@jps.net