Birders unite monthly at Botanic Gardens

Kris Janicki of Glendora keeps her eyes on the sky at the California Botanic Gardens bird walk Sunday, sponsored by the Pomona Valley Audubon Society. The group saw fewer species than normal, mainly due to the weather and the number of hawks in the area. / photo by Natalie Medrano

Robyn Jones
Staff Writer  

The Pomona Valley Audubon Society hosted the monthly Bird Walk at the California Botanic Garden at 8 a.m. Sunday. About 45 bird enthusiasts from young children to seniors came out on the cold, cloudy day.

Volunteers Ken Burgdorff and Ken Damon, field trip chairperson Scott Marnoy, and Audubon Chapter President Tina Marie Stoner divided the participants into four groups to take them through the garden. 

Before starting the walk, each visitor was given a set of binoculars to view the birds clearly.

Burgdoff said this was the “unbirdiest” bird walk he has attended because of the poor weather conditions along with predators such as hawks. 

Despite calling it the “unbirdiest” bird walk because of cold cloudy weather, Burgdoff’s group discovered 14 different bird species, including his favorite Wrentit, a small grayish-brown bird with a pale belly and a long tail.

“First, you hear Wrentit with their whistling that sounds like a bouncing ball,” Burgdoff said.
“And if you’re lucky, you see them.”

At another point,  the bird-watchers encountered a hummingbird called Anna’s Hummingbird, a tiny tan bird with a purple chest flying in the bush before it flew up and descended with a whistling sound, apparently calling to potential mates.

The whistling noise made by this bird is actually based on the way the air hits the tail feathers, leaders said. 

Melvin Mulder, an Ontario resident who showed up Sunday, said he got into birding when became curious to know more about the birds he encountered on hikes. 

“It really helps to be with experienced birders because a lot of these people can tell the type of bird just by their sound,” Mulder said. “Having more eyes around you can also see more birds.”

Kimberly Hardison, 2015 University of La Verne alumna, said she got into birding after taking a class in ornithology, which is a branch of zoology dealing with birds. 

She was impressed with the number of raptors she encountered on the Sunday hike, as well as three or four hawks, which she noted probably scared away some of the smaller birds they may otherwise have seen. 

The California Botanic Garden at 1500 N. College Ave. in Claremont hosts a free family friendly bird on the first Sunday of each month. For more information, visit

Robyn Jones can be reached at

Robyn Jones is a senior journalism major and sports editor for the Campus Times. She is also a member of Iota Delta and a freelance photographer whose work can be found on Instagram at @jnaisphotos.

Natalie Medrano, a junior photography major, is the Fall 2022 photography editor for the Campus Times and a staff photographer for La Verne Magazine.


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