News

Bird of the Month, May 2020 - California Thrasher

Photo: Allan Hack/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

California Thrasher

Toxostoma redivivum

California Thrasher is a medium sized bird with long tail and feet, and a long curved bill. You definitely cannot miss it! They are mainly insectivores are often in the ground sorting through leaves or poking into the ground with it’s beak. Occasionally, you will also see them eating fruit especially from coffeeberry, toyon, and other native plants. During breeding season, you will often find them in pairs and they will likely even remain together for a year taking care of their young and foraging together. California Thrashers are considered to be a flagship species of chaparral are only found in California and Baja California. If you are at Debs Park, you will occasionally see them around the yucca in our parking lot, but often you will have to go scouting for them. When you do catch a glimpse of them however, your hard work pays off. 

Plant of the Month, May 2020 - Chaparral Yucca

Photo: Bri Weldon/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Chaparral Yucca

Hesperoyucca whipplei

Like the California Thrasher, Chaparral yucca is a native plant in California and Baja California. It is part of the yucca family and contains a cluster of sharp, point and rigid leaves. These leaves had a lot of uses from our Tongva indigenous community. They would use them to weave baskets, make rope, sewing, and natural soap to name a few. The highlight of this plant however, is the flower stalk that grows after 5-10 years when the plant reaches maturity. The flower stalk reaches 10-15 feet and displays clusters of bell-shape white and purplish flowers. These flowers can only be pollinated by the yucca moth, who has a symbiotic relationship with this plant. Without yucca moths, this plant will not be able to exist. After pollination, this chaparral yucca will die, however the flower stalk will remain intact for more years, providing a perfect perch for a lot of birds. You can find these plants through our Center and parking lot, and if you are lucky, you will find them flowering.

Words from the Center Director, April 2020

Words from the Center Director, April 2020 from estefania palacio on Vimeo.

Words from the Center Director, April 2020

What's up at Debs? - April 2020

The Audubon Center at Debs Park is currently closed through at least April 30th. All Debs Park hiking trails are also closed to the public until further notice, due to the mandatory citywide park closure order. We will continue to keep everyone posted in regards to the status of the Center and surrounding trails as we receive further direction from the relevant authorities, as well as the National Audubon Society. During the Center closure we will not be offering any in-person programming or events, however staff have been working hard from home to create fun and family-friendly educational activities for our social media audience, so please consider following us if you are not already doing so!  

Staff have been checking in on the Center and the nursery regularly (while maintaining social distancing) and we are happy to report that the park itself is currently thriving, blossoming, and full of life. Pictured above is Blue Eyed Grass in the Center courtyard, Bush Sunflower along the driveway trail, and a water lily in the Center pond. Although the park is no longer accessible, we hope that everyone is still able to enjoy nature in some capacity during this time - whether it be in your backyard or on a walk around the neighborhood. We especially recommend backyard birding as a great way to pass the time outdoors. It’s times like this when it is especially important to remember the ways in which nature can serve to connect, heal, and ground us.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments, concerns, or thoughts as we all continue to navigate these uncertain times the best that we can.

Plant of the Month, April 2020 - California Sagebrush

California Sagebrush

Artemisia californica

One of the most important foundation species of the coastal sage scrub community is the California sagebrush. The California sagebrush, Artemisia californica, is a highly aromatic native shrub that belongs to the asteraceae family- that’s right the sunflower family. It doesn’t exhibit bright flowers like most plants in this family, but if you look closely, you will find small white flowers on the top of each stalk. This native plant is also one of the most drought-tolerant that can withstand thriving with no water in the California summer months. This plant is earned the nickname “cowboy cologne” because it is told that cowboys from the wild west used this plant as a natural deodorant to freshen up. The cowboys were not the only ones the used it however. Our local indigenous Tongva community also uses this native shrub for its amazing medicinal properties. This plant was brewed in teas for respiratory sickness, and gynecological aide for menopause, menstrual cramps and child labor pain. Amidst all the social distancing, be on the lookout for this plant around your neighborhood!

Bird of the Month, April 2020 - Bewick's Wren

Bewick's Wren

Thryomanes bewickii

One of our most common birds at Debs Park is our little Bewick’s Wrens. Although very small, these little ones are full of energy and a lot of noise. Very similar to the House Wren, however these little ones have a super prominent white eye brow or supercilium. Their diet mostly consists of insects and you will constantly find these wrens hopping from plant to plant, ground to plant, turning leaves over, climbing on trunks, or looking through crevices. They are extremely active birds! Like their foraging behavior, their songs are also very active, versatile, and can differ quite immensely based on geographic region. To catch a glimpse of wrens it is best to learn it’s song and track it by sound since they are so small. Come check us out at our park and catch a view of the Bewick’s Wren!

Nature Arts & Crafts: DIY Nature Journals

You can find nature all over your neighborhood. Nature Journals make it easy to keep track of what you’ve seen on your walks, bike rides, and hikes! Check out this video to see how to make your very own Nature Journal at home!

Get creative and make your journal unique!

YOU'LL NEED:

  • construction paper
  • regular paper
  • a hole punch 
  • string
  • scissors
  • crayons/markers/stamps/stickers

 Make your own and show us what you've seen on your nature walks!

How do you fill out your nature journal?  Check out the guide below to see how best to log information from your nature walks:

Backyard Birding Tips: Maintaining your Hummingbird Feeders

At the Center, we get a lot of questions about our super active hummingbirds! This hummingbird solution gives our hummers the boost they need to get through the day! Shout out to our volunteer Marshall who keeps our feeders clean and full for our hummers

Debunking some common hummingbird feeder myths:

  • Hummingbird solution doesn't need to be red to attract your hummers. The red color of the feeders should be enough to bring the hummers to your yard
  • Hummingbird feeders are NOT the only source of food for your hummers. Hummingbirds draw from feeders for a quick boost. Their main food sources are flowers and small insects! 
  • Sugar water is a safe and natural energy boost for your backyard hummingbirds.

Happy birding!

Backyard Birding: Maintaining your Hummingbird Feeders

Spring Migration in California
News

Local List: Spring Migration in California

Keep an eye out for these birds in your area

Audubon Center at Debs Park will be CLOSED to the public

Tongva ki in the Audubon Center at Debs Park Children's Woodland Trail

Our team at the Audubon Center at Debs Park continues monitoring the situation surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Los Angeles County. In the spirit of being good community members, the Audubon Center at Debs Park is taking steps to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) across the communities we serve.

The Audubon Center at Debs Park will be CLOSED to the public until further notice. We will be canceling all events and programs scheduled for the foreseeable future.

We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to email us at debspark@audubon.org. We encourage our community to check out the Center for Disease Control’s website for more information on coronavirus (COVID-19).

We can’t wait to see you again!

How you can help, right now