PRBO Conservation Science
Quarterly Journal of PRBO Conservation Science, Number 162, Fall 2010: The Water Issue


A Collection of Columns on Birds and Birding

Focus on Focus

Rich Stallcup

California's Water Legacy
CEO's Column
A Shorebird Saga
Willows and Warblers
Profile of Dave Shuford
PRBO Highlights
TomKat Ranch
Len and Patti Blumn
Staff Migrations

In 1982, PRBO director Burr Heneman asked if I would write a bird piece for the PRBO Newsletter. The idea was to present something for birders, to complement the excellent scientific articles. The concept was enthusiastically received by members and friends.

Now, 28 years later, we're still knocking out "Focus" columns. Many columns are illustrated with drawings by Keith Hansen, Tim Manolis, or Debbie Cotter; others, with photographs.

All of these essays are easy to access and read online, to print for personal use or as educational handouts, or to republish in relevant periodicals. Simply go to, click on Observers Online, then choose Focus Articles, and that will take you to the long list of titles. For permission to reprint, contact the PRBO Observer by emailing There is no charge; just please credit PRBO Conservation Science and me.

Some of the articles contain "Gee Whiz" facts about local birds, like:

Launching Babies... The Three Amigos (Heerman's Gull, Brown Pelican, Elegant Tern)... Butter-butts... Osprey... Fall Treasure Hunt on the O.P. (the outer point of Point Reyes Peninsula)... Extirpation, Extinction and Shrikes... Hummingbirds--An American Dream... Rails... Fall Shorebird Migration... Territory and Personal Space ... and Wrentits of the World.

Some Focus essays are more about birding itself, like:
All the Focus articles now are found at

Listing for Life... Pishing, Squeaking, and Impersonating Owls... Seeking Vernal Vagrants... Fall Landbird Migration... Seeking Seabirds... and Big County Year or Good News 2000.

A few of the offerings are obsolete (but some people will want to read them anyway), like:

Waldo's Dike... A California Birder's Library... Springtime on the Tioga Road... and The New A.O.U. Checklist.

A couple of them--Deadly Eucalyptus, A Reversible Catastrophe and Another Silent Spring--either caused controversy or jumped right into controversy already broiling.

Read all the PRBO Focus articles. They will entertain you, and you will know more than your friends do about birds.

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