My Big year flyer

Join hundreds of fellow birders, wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers and environmentalists for a special two-film birding event also featuring the Sierra Club, the Stanislaus Audubon Society, the Great Valley Museum, and the Stanislaus Wildlife Refuge. You’ll also find out where the top spots are for locating a plenitude of birds and wildlife, all in your own backyard.

My Big Year
(G) 50 Min.
 Jim Gain, inspired by the movie The Big Year, decided to see how many different bird species he could photograph over the course of four seasons in 2016. His breathtaking film, shot in Merced and Stanislaus counties, beautifully captures thousands of wild birds and their habitats. A photographer and avid birder, Jim is also an educator at Modesto City Schools.

The Big Year
(PG~2011) 1 Hr. 40 Min.
Three disparate men (Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson) try to outdo each other in the ultimate bird-watching competition in 1998 -- the year El Nino brought an unprecedented number of species to North America. Their quest takes them on an unforgettable trek throughout North America.


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 updated 2/22/2017

February 25, Modesto Reservoir/Turlock Lake. 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 grasslands can be superb for raptors. If there is water in the Turlock Lake outlet canal we may be lucky enough to find Barrow’s Goldeneye. We may also visit Joe Domecq Wilderness Area and Dawson Lake (time permitting). 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 Ralph Baker (

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 (and the water levels) 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 11. Meet at the Stanislaus County Library parking lot (1500 I Street) at 7:00 a.m. Bring lunch. We will return to Modesto early afternoon. Trip leader, Dave Froba, 521-7265,

March 19, April 16, May 21. 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 woodlands, 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.


April 29. Del Puerto Canyon runs just outside of Patterson up to the county line at 2400 feet. The combination of altitude and spring migration makes this a dynamite place to bird at this time of the year. Trip leader, Dan Gilman, 765-9481, Meet at the Stanislaus County Library parking lot (1500 I Street, Modesto) at 7:00 a.m. We will return to Modesto mid afternoon.

May 13. String of Pearls. This series of parks along the lower Stanislaus River attracts migratory birds on their way to the Sierra or points north. Trip leader, John Harris, 510-504-2427, johnh@mills.eduMeet at 7:30 a.m at the Raley’s parking lot in Oakdale, 1550 E F Street (highway 120) at Maag Avenue, near the east end of town, just before the rodeo grounds . We will return to the parking lot in mid afternoon. 

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