Check out the Photographic Big Year for Stanislaus and Merced Counties

It's that time of year again! Christmas Bird Count season is almost upon us and we need all the help we can get! And you don't need to be an expert birder to participate, Stanislaus and Merced County birders of all skill levels are invited to participate in Stanislaus Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Counts. Each count area will have at least one experienced birder to help with identifying birds during the survey.  These counts not only gather vital survey data for National Audubon Society, but they also present opportunities for birders to see dozens of species, and hundreds of individual birds, in one day. Please consider joining us for these enjoyable citizen science surveys. So come on out and join us, it's always an adventure. Click HERE for dates and times.
Click HERE to learn the history of the Christmas Bird Count.


On July 12, 2016, Stanislaus Audubon Society donated "Birds of the Pacific Slope" to the Vasche Library at California State University, Stanislaus.  The two-volume set of Andrew Jackson Grayson's work is in Special Collections.  Members of the public can call the Reference Department (209-667-3232) and make an appointment to see them. Appointments should be made at least 24 hours prior to the visit. Photo identification will be required upon arrival.

 Please read Salvatore Salerno's article about Andrew Jackson Grayson - Story HERE (link fixed - JG)

UPDATED 7/9/2015 Stanislaus County Review Species List - PDF File
NEW - January 2015
Printable County Checklists with occurrence codes
Stanislaus County Checklist Updated 12/19/16



Stanislaus Audubon Society has started a Facebook page for Stanislaus and Merced County birders to share comments and photos on birds and birding.  You may contact the Facebook administrator at

                        LOCAL BIRD MOVIE

Do you want to learn to watch birds? If so click on the movie just below this box, "Wings Over Our Two Counties". It will get you started, and all in the context of our own Stanislaus/Merced counties area. Or, just watch it for the pretty pictures, as well as Jim Gain's slide show just below it.

      AUDUBON FIELD TRIPS updated12/16/16

January 14, Saturday. San Luis National Wild- life Refuge, Merced County. This refuge has an auto tour route that winds through upland and wetlands habitats, where as many as thirty species of waterfowl may be seen, as well as shorebirds and other water birds. Hawks, falcons, and even owls may be viewed on this trip. The majestic Tundra Swans are most reliable at Sousa Marsh. Another tour route circles around a herd of tule elk. Trip leader is Sal Salerno, who may be contacted at Meet at the Stanislaus County Library parking lot, 1500 I Street, Modesto, at 7:00 a.m. We will return to Modesto in mid-afternoon, so it is recommended to bring a lunch.

January 15, February 19, March 19. The San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge near Modesto is huge and offers the most diverse habitats in the area, including mixed species transitional areas, riparian forest, oak wood- lands, grassland, and seasonal wetlands. Trip leader, Trip leader, Ralph Baker (, chooses the particular habitats to visit each month based on conditions and season. Meet at the Stanislaus County Library parking lot (1500 I Street, Modesto) at 7:00 a.m. We will return to Modesto mid afternoon.

February 25, Modesto Reservoir/Turlock
In winter these lakes can attract scores of waterfowl, grebes and the occasional loon. The shoreline may have large numbers of shorebirds, while the surrounding grass- lands can be superb for raptors. If there is water in the Turlock Lake outlet canal we may be lucky enough to find Barrow’s Gold- eneye. We may also visit Joe Domecq Wil- derness Area and Dawson Lake (time permit- ting). Meet at the Stanislaus County Library parking lot (1500 I Street) at 7:00 a.m. Bring lunch. We will return to Modesto mid- afternoon. Trip leader, to be announced. For questions, contact Dave Froba, 521-7265,

March 11, Unknown Area. Occasionally we decide on the location of a field trip at the last minute, depending on what is happening in the bird world at the moment. But rest assured the trip will be to the place, or places, where the bird life is at its most interesting in this area on March 8. Meet at the Stanislaus County Library parking lot (1500 I Street) at 7:00 a.m. Bring lunch. We will return to Modesto early after- noon. Trip leader, to be announced. For questions, contact Dave Froba, 521-7265,

Audubon Field Trip Email List

If you would like to be on a group email to advise you of all Audubon field trips, please email: Dave Froba at

STA_Birds Reports

Link to reports






 Modesto Sewage Ponds Information
The Modesto Ponds are open to birders on the second Saturday of every month. You must contact them at least 4 days prior to get permission to enter. The Jennings Rd. office number is (209) 342-4501 and the Jennings cell phone number is (209) 652-8662.

$20 per year
*Use forms from National Audubon Society
*Call N.A.S. at 1-844-428-3826
S.A.S. chapter code is C36.
Expiration date of your membership
is located on label of Valley Habitat.

The second edition of "The Birding Sites of Stanislaus and Merced Counties" is available as of October 25, 2016. This new edition contains many rare or uncommon birds found since 2011.  Three new trails have been added, and a few birding sites were deleted or updated.  Eight new species of birds that were accepted as Stanislaus County records have been included, as well.  In addition, new photographs of birds have been added to the 96-page edition. 



William Gambel was the first trained naturalist to traverse California overland in the 19th century, collecting bird and plant specimens for the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.  Although he never traveled through Stanislaus County, he was the first to discover and describe for science many of our local species, such as the Wrentit and Oak Titmouse.  He was the first to complete descriptions of the little-known California Thrasher and Greater Roadrunner, and the first to verify the status of Burrowing Owl as year-round residents. Gambel lived to be only 27 years old.  You can read the remarkable story of this pioneer naturalist here