Discover the Birds of The Big Apple

July 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Known as the “city that never sleeps” and “The Big Apple”, New York City is a vibrant bustling metropolis that has more than a few surprises for visitors – and for native New Yorkers – who choose to explore its natural resources. The New York Water Taxi service offers visitors the opportunity to see the city from the harbor and its waterways. Working with the New York City Audubon Society, in the summer months the water taxi service offers a NYC Audubon Summer EcoCruise to highlight the amazing diversity and abundance of birdlife resident on the small islands in New York Harbor.

Lasting around 90 minutes, the cruise makes its way past world-renowned monuments, under iconic city bridges and along the shoreline of islands where visitors can view some of the more than 3,000 herons that have migrated from the south, along with hundreds of cormorants, egrets, ibis and other birds. Ever mindful of the impact humans have on the habitats of birds, the fleet of vessels used by the water taxi service are fitted with low-emission engines and mufflers, while the hulls are designed to cut through the water with as little disturbance as possible. While on the tour, visitors will learn about the ecology of the harbor and the important role its islands play in the conservation of various bird species.

With more than 10,000 members, New York City Audubon has been protecting wildlife habitats and its residents in all five boroughs for more than thirty years, with the goal of improving and conserving the environment for future generations. Wild birds from more than 350 species either live or pass through the city each year – that is almost a third of all species recorded in North America. They depend on the lush, vegetated areas in Jamaica Bay, the islands of New York Harbor and Central Park for their survival. The society collects data relating to birds across New York City, using the information to monitor bird and wildlife populations, and acts as an advocate for wildlife at government policy-making level.

Education programs formulated by the New York City Audubon inform the public, both young and old, about being responsible environmental stewards. The society welcomes new volunteers to work towards the goal of protecting wild birds and natural habitats in New York City, thereby improving the quality of life for all.

Birdsong Apps Pose Threat to Breeding

June 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Bird watching as a hobby has been traced back to the late-18th century as portrayed in the works of English naturalists and ornithologists Gilbert White, Thomas Bewick and George Montagu. During the Victorian Era, the study of birds became fashionable, but not necessarily in their natural habitats, as collectors obtained specimens of eggs and preserved dead birds sourced from around the world. In the late 19th century the Audubon Society in the United States and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Britain were founded to protect birds from these collectors and from the increasingly popular feather trade. In 1901 a book published by British ornithologist and writer Edmund Selous, entitled simply Bird Watching, is thought to have been the origin of the term describing the practice of observing birds in their natural habitat – a pastime which requires plenty of patience.

In today’s society which is increasing becoming accustomed to instant gratification, patience may sometimes be seen as a hindrance rather than a virtue, and this may be the case among birding enthusiasts who are using mobile phone apps to mimic birdsong in an effort to attract birds. Wardens on England’s Brownsea Island have recently reported instances where visitors have used these mobile apps to mimic the unique call of the Nightjar, apparently so they could get a clearer photograph. What these visitors may not realize is that they are breaking a law (the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981) which was put into place to protect nesting birds from being intentionally disturbed. Designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA), Brownsea Island is home to a host of bird species, including the Nightjar which, thanks to conservation efforts, has experienced an increase in numbers in recent years.

When a recorded birdsong is played repeatedly it is likely to divert the bird from essential duties, such as feeding its young. It may also prompt a bird to interrupt the mating process to chase off what it perceives to be a rival in order to protect its territory.

Giving birders the benefit of the doubt that they may be unaware of the negative impact their birdsong apps are having, the Dorset Wildlife Trust is launching an online campaign to warn people of the harm they may inadvertently be causing. To reinforce the message, signs will be erected on each of the 42 reserves overseen by the Trust requesting that birdsong apps not be used in the reserves.

Tucson Audubon Society Field Trip

June 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

August 30 – September 2, 2013 (Labor Day Weekend) –Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon – 8:00 AM Q Ranch / Mogollon Rim /Tonto National Forest On Friday, carpool (requires high clearance vehicles) to historic Q Ranch near Young, AZ where 150 species of birds have been identified including raptors, tanagers, orioles, hummers, swallows, sparrows, warblers, and Mountain Bluebirds. Expect lots of other natural beauty, including post-monsoon wildflowers and dragonflies. Dark clear night skies at 5600 feet with plenty of stars. Combine birding with brief hikes to nearby scenic and historic locations.

Tour the 1000-year-old Q Ranch Mogollon-Culture Pueblo ruins. Depart ranch Monday after early birding and brunch. Ranch is a relatively poor cell-phone zone, but Verizon service is available within a few miles. All meals included. $135/person/night for shared room (we will link up sharers if possible). $200/person/night for single room. Full online or check payment is due by July 31, 2013 (www.qranch.com). Limited to 12 people total. Riders will pay ~$50 each for drivers’ gas cost. No out-of-the-way departures and ret! urns – you must be able to carpool from and return to Tucson or Phoenix and ride in someone else’s vehicle. For reservations and more info, contact trip leader Steve Buck (stevetucson@aol.com). Birding leader (present at Q Ranch only): Ken Furtado (ken@qranch.com).

More info at www.tucsonaudubon.org/what-we-do/birding/fieldtrips.html

2013 Olympic Peninsula BirdFest

February 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

Organized by the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, the Olympic Peninsula BirdFest offers something for everyone, whether you are a beginner birder, or a seasoned expert. Take a stroll, take a hike, or take a boat tour and see what this spectacular part of the world has to offer. For more information visit the Olympic Peninsula Bird Fest Website.

Dates: 30 March – 1 April 2013
Location: Sequim, WA

Christmas Bird Count 2012

November 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

The 113th Christmas Bird Count is set to take place from December 14 through to January 5 all over the Americas, with tens of thousands of volunteer birding enthusiasts participating. If you have not yet taken part in this annual event, why not make it your new family tradition, as it is one that can be enjoyed by all ages.

Visit the Audubon website for more information and to register.

Warblers – Specialty Workshop

July 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

The Tucson Audubon Society presents a Warbler Specialty Workshop with Homer Hansen. Learn to distinguish fall warblers, with key structural characteristics and species comparisons, along with warbler vocalizations. For more information visit the Tucson Audubon Society Website.

Dates: 23-25 August 2012
Venue: Tucson Audubon Society
City: Tucson
State: Arizona
Country: United States

Cerulean Warbler Weekend

April 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

Organized by Michigan Audubon the Cerulean Warbler Weekend is held in the state’s best area for spotting these delightful little birds, Barry County. This weekend is devoted to learning about North America’s fastest declining songbird and its conservation. Several birding tours will be held, focussing on Cerulean Warblers, Henslow’s Sparrow, Flycatchers and so forth. The Cerulean Warbler Weekend schedule also includes workshops on butterfly and dragonfly identification and opportunities to paddle on Glass Creek. Keynote speaker at the evnet is Dr. Jeff Hoover, an Avian Ecologist from the Illinois Natural HIstory Survey.

Dates: 1 to 3 June 2012
Time: 05:30 am
Location: Barry County
State: Michigan
Country: United States of America

Olympic BirdFest 2012

February 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Events

The Olympic BirdFest is hosted by the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Dungeness River Audubon Center. Events during the festival will include a Totem Tour, birding at Sequim Bay, Dungeness Bay, Dungeness Spit, Salt Creek County Park, Ediz Hook and John Wayne Marina, photography workshops, a visit to the Endangered Waterfowl Breeding Sanctuary, wine tasting, a raptor presentation by the Northwest Raptor Center, the Olympic Owl Prowl, a banquet and silent auction and island cruises.

Date: 30 March to 1 April 2012
Venue: Dungeness River Audubon Center
City: Sequim
State: Washington
Country: United States of America

Christmas Bird Count – Gathering Valuable Data

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Birding Tips

In the late 1800s wildlife conservation was unheard of and the hunting of birds and other animals was generally unrestricted in the United States. In some states it was a common Christmas tradition to go hunting, with the hunter bagging the most birds and animals being declared the winner of the so-called “Side Hunt”. By the turn of the century, however, nature lovers and scientists began to express concern regarding the effects of hunting on bird populations, and it was at this time, when the Audubon Society was still in its infancy, that the society’s representative Frank M. Chapman proposed starting a new Christmas tradition in which birds would be counted, rather than hunted, and so the concept of the “Christmas Bird Count” was born – and enthusiastically supported.

The very first Christmas Bird Count was carried out by Frank Chapman and a team of 27 birders, who recorded a combined count of 90 species of birds in 25 locations. From small beginnings, the Christmas Bird Count has grown into a nationwide effort involving thousands of keen birders, each doing their bit to compile a record of the country’s feathered creatures. Starting on 14 December this year, the 112th Christmas Bird Count will continue to 5 January 2012, during which time thousands of volunteers, referred to as “citizen scientists”, will collect data to be used by the Audubon society and other conservation organizations in determining the health of bird populations – and have loads of fun in the process.

With some nature-loving families, the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) has become somewhat of a tradition, and whether citizen scientists are monitoring backyard bird feeders, or going out into the wild, every bit of information collected in this carefully coordinated effort is important. The fact that the CBC has been taking place over such a long period of time gives conservationists a clearer picture of trends in bird populations. This allows them to formulate strategies to protect birds by protecting their natural habitat. Although the focus is on the feathered inhabitants of the monitored areas, conservationists are able to detect issues such as improper use of pesticides and groundwater contamination which could be detrimental to the humans in the area as well.

Whether you are a seasoned birder, or a budding citizen scientist, the Audubon Society welcomes participation in the Christmas Bird Count. So bundle up warm, grab those binoculars, and do your bit for the future of our feathered friends.

Klamath Falls Christmas Bird Count

November 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Come and enjoy a day counting birds in the Klamath Falls area. The event will see birders counting individual birds and all species seen or heard in their assigned area. The count cirle center is at Kinsley Field and extends to a 15 mile diameter. The day is rounded off with a potluck dinner. For more information, visit the Klamath Basin Audubon Society Website.

Date: 17 December 2011
Venue: Kingsley Field
city: Klamath Falls
State: Oregon
Country: United States of America

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