Alachua Audubon Society

A chapter of the National Audubon Society

Alachua Audubon Evening Programs

All AAS Evening Programs are free and open to the general public. Until further notice all programs are online via Zoom. The necessary information is provided in the descriptions below.

It is our intent to record and post videos of as many of the programs as we can. You will find those below with their respective program descriptions and on our YouTube channel.

Upcoming Programs

This month’s Alachua Audubon Evening Program is presented by AAS president Debbie Segal.

The ecological, recreational, and ecotourism benefits of GRU’s Sweetwater Wetlands Park are wide-ranging and represent a triple crown winner for water quality, wildlife, and visitors. Because of Sweetwater’s many community-wide benefits, GRU has decided to construct a second treatment wetland, one that will be located on the west side of Gainesville and will be designed to recharge the Floridan Aquifer with cleaner water.

Join Debbie for this informative presentation and learn how Sweetwater Wetlands Park and other constructed treatment wetlands successfully and inconspicuously clean water bodies, and about GRU’s plans for a new system – the Groundwater Recharge Wetland.

Here is your link to join:

or find it on the AAS website under Events and Activities -> Programs.

Past Programs

Invaders, Vagrants, & Rarities, Thursday, June 23rd, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom

This program will be presented by Alex Lamoreaux, a senior leader and North American birding specialist
for Wildside Nature Tours. Alex guides birding tours across the US and beyond. He has worked on avian
research projects from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to southern Belize. Bird migration, particularly
shorebird and raptor migration, is his strongest interest. You might recognize Alex’s name from when he
has visited or lived for short periods of time in the Gainesville area, but he currently resides in Plymouth,
Massachusetts and bird-guiding takes him all over the world. His presentation will delve into the mechanisms that influence how birds end up where they shouldn’t be by drawing on rare bird sightings from Florida and beyond.
Zoom link:

Panhandle Birding by Robert Gundy, Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom

Robert Gundy will profile eastern Florida panhandle birding hotspots. Robert, who prefers to be called simply Gundy, has lived for many years in the Tallahassee area and birded the area extensively. He has many recommended birding hot spots for you to explore and we are guessing that you are not aware of many of these great locations,

In 2020, Robert and his girlfriend Natasza Fontaine worked together to break the Florida Big Year record, which had been set at 387 species just the year before. Birding as a team, Natasza ended the year with 386 species and Gundy with 388.

If you watched Robert and Natasza’s program on their wild adventures chasing birds for their big year you know how entertaining they can be.  This will be a fun program too!

Zoom link is:

An introduction into fireflies, their diversity, natural history, life cycle (4 April 2022)

Dr. Oliver Keller earned his PhD from the University of Florida where he studied fireflies of the West Indies. The West Indies are a biodiversity hotspot home to almost 10% of the world’s firefly species. Currently, he is working as a biological scientist in the Florida State Collection of Arthropods (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) continuing his research on fireflies.

His presentation will include an introduction into fireflies, their diversity, natural history, and life cycle. He will then cover the firefly diversity of Florida, where to find them, the consequences of light pollution, and tips and tricks to help preserve their habitat.

Email and twitter accounts – and @dr_firefly

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

The Biggest Day— the World Record Big Day of 1982 in Amazonian Peru (23 March, 2021)

Scott Robinson is the Ordway Professor at the Florida Museum of Natural History and also taught at the university of Illinois after getting his Batchelor’s Degree at Dartmouth and his doctorate at Princeton. He teaches Avian Biology at UF and has been a fanatical birdwatcher since his father introduced him to the hobby in 1967. He took a gap year in college to set a new North American Big Year record in 1976. His lab mostly studies birds in South America, but also has projects in Africa and China.

Back in the late 1970s and 1980s, before there were any field guides or other easily available sources of information, ornithologists made pioneering visits to remote sites in the Amazon and Andes where they obtained the first recordings of bird songs, described many new species, and characterized the structure of these hyper-diverse tropical bird communities. This list included John Terborgh, John Fitzpatrick, and the late Ted Parker. When I began my doctoral research on the birds of the Amazon, I was fortunate enough to be taught bird songs by these pioneers and to collaborate with Ted Parker on a research project censusing, for the first time, an Amazonian bird community in 1982. This talk describes how we took advantage of this new knowledge to establish a world record Big Day—331 species—on foot and by dugout canoe in an area of about a square mile, a record that endured until just a few years ago.

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Monitoring Terns in Maine (11 January 2022)

My name is Brian Cammarano: avid birder, avian conservationist and University of Central Florida graduate with a degree in Ecology, Evolutionary & Conservation Biology. I have been working seasonal jobs to experience firsthand what it takes to be a field biologist. I have been involved with many avian conservation efforts such as Songbird banding in Key Biscayne for the Cape Florida Banding Station, grassland songbird nest searching in Eastern Montana, black rail detection surveying in Big Cypress and monitoring beach nesting birds in Southwest Florida.

Last summer (Summer 2021), I was a Project Puffin Research Assistant on Stratton Island, off the coast of Maine, where I conducted research and monitored a tern colony including the federally listed Roseate Tern. Join me for this presentation where I will provide some insight on what it’s like to work and live on a colonial seabird nesting island!

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

A Chemist’s View of Birds in Costa Rica (7 December 2021)

Join us for a visual treat! William J. Cooper, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Irvine and now living in Florida will share his photographic treats with us. His videos were all taken at the Pierella Ecological Garden, Horquetas de Sarapiqui. This garden was the vision of William Camacho. Mr. Camacho started raising blue morpho butterflies in a 20 meter by 20 meter enclosure in 1995 and by selling them through the Costa Rica Entomological Supply he was able to buy more land for the present 3 hectares (7.5 acres) garden. The biodiversity of birds there is spectacular and provides a unique opportunity to study several species such as the White-tailed Manakin and the White-necked Jacobin Hummingbird.

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Winter Hummingbirds with Fred Bassett (3 November 2021)

Perhaps you were able to see our spring program on hummingbirds with Fred Bassett. Now we will view a talk given by Fred that is specifically designed to help you coax some western hummingbirds to your feeder this winter. You will hear specific hints on this process and see some outstanding photos of these migrating western hummingbirds.

We follow up Fred’s talk with additional presentation and commentary from Bubba Scales, who shares valuable information and insights with a more local focus on Gainesville/Alachua County.

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Bees of the long-leaf pine ecosystem (06 October 2021)

Shiala Naranjo is a lab manager and field researcher at the Pollinator Ecology and Conservation Lab led by Dr. Rachel Mallinger at the University of Florida. Her past experiences include evaluating how wildflowers support pollinator communities at Michigan State University, University of Central Florida, and the University of Minnesota. Shiala will discuss the biology, diversity and conservation of bees in long-leaf pine savannas. This ecosystem once covered much of the southeastern U.S. coastal plain, but now currently occupies less than 3% of its historic range. Watch to learn what, when and how to spot bees in this threatened ecosystem.

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Robert Gundy and Natasza Fontaine share the adventures of their Florida Big Year (25 September 2021)

Have you ever done a Big Day? A Big Year? In this presentation, Robert Gundy and Natasza Fontaine shared the adventures of their 2020 Florida Big Year. Some of you may have followed their postings as they drove around Florida searching to add as many species to their list as they could. Their entertaining talk covered highs and lows, wet nights and dry days and plenty of mileage on their vehicles. Final count: Robert 388 species, Natasza 386 species. Lots of fascinating stories in this one!

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Changes in Attitude: Latitudinal shifts in social roles within avian mobs of North America (4 August 2021)

Featuring Dr. Katie Sieving of the UF Dept. of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation and director of the AAS Bird Banding Lab. She talked about winter mobbing flocks – mainly how titmice, nuthatches, chickadees and downy woodpeckers vary in mob participation between FL, TN, and IN. Here in FL, titmice rule the mobs but as we move north they take a back seat to nuthatches. These core mobbing and flocking species have complicated relationships but they are commonly together and their togetherness benefits them (and other species, too)! We will explore these relationships beyond mobbing flocks too.

(We will add the recording of this program shortly)

Two Weeks in Thailand (13 July 2021)

Scott Flamand is a former president of Alachua Audubon Society (2001-2005) and retired science teacher who taught over 5,000 students over his 37 years as a teacher (mostly Biology) at Gainesville’s Buchholz High School.

Scott will share stories and photos of birds and wildlife from his adventure in Thailand in early 2020. Join him for photos of dozens of bird species including: Bulbuls, Hornbills, Sunbirds, Treepies, and Laughingthrushes. He will also include many mammals and a handful of herps.Many of you attended our standing-room only program when Scott shared his birding trip to India. We’re sure you will enjoy this talk too!

(We will add the recording of this program shortly)

Springs and Aquifer Protection is for the Birds (29 June 2021)

Join us to hear and see Dr. Bob Knight, Director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, describe the worsening threats to Florida’s artesian springs and the Floridan Aquifer that springs rely on, and how one approach to protecting the springs also enhances birdlife. Prior to founding the Florida Springs Institute, Bob was President of Wetland Solutions, an environmental engineering firm specializing in design and implementation of constructed treatment wetlands. In addition to working on more than 200 treatment wetland projects nationwide, Bob started and ended his wetlands career conceptualizing and helping to design Gainesville’s Sweetwater Wetlands. This project not only cleanses nitrogen from about 2 billion gallons of the City’s wastewater and stormwater that enters the aquifer each year at Alachua Sink, but it also is home to one of the most diverse and productive birding hotspots in North Florida. Bob will describe how other large utilities throughout the state’s 27 million acre Springs Region can play their part in protecting the most important drinking water supply in Florida while enhancing their environmental stewardship.

(We will add the recording of this program shortly)

Alaska: Birding the Last Frontier with Andy Bankert (14 May 2021)

From the lush rainforests of the Pacific Northwest to the barren Arctic tundra, Alaska boasts a large diversity of birds over its vast and varied landscape. This presentation will bring the audience on a tour throughout the state to get a closeup look at the state of the birdlife from species familiar to Coloradans, like the American Dipper, to birds seen nowhere else on the North American continent like Spectacled Eiders and Red-legged Kittiwakes. This presentation is sure to spark the sense of awe and wonder that drew Andy up to the 49th state for summer after summer of field work.
Born and raised in central Florida, Andy Bankert has been a birder since receiving the National Geographic Field Guide for his 5th birthday, and his hobby has taken him all over the country and other parts of the world searching for birds. He has worked as a field technician for the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies all over the Great Plains region, a shorebird and seabird biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service across Alaska, and a seabird surveyor in Hawaii. His plan to work as a tour guide on Alaska’s St. Paul Island this year got derailed, so he now spends his time photographing Alaska’s birds and wildlife, harvesting fish and berries for the winter, and analyzing grassland bird data for Bird Conservancy of the Rockies based out of Colorado.
(We will add the recording of this program shortly)

Hummingbirds! (12 April 2021)

HUMMINGBIRDS! This month we will focus on one of the area’s most popular birds, the hummingbird. Fred Bassett is known in this area as he frequently comes here to band hummingbirds from his base in Alabama. We asked Fred to give us a zoom talk and he replied that he has many requests and thus has created a recorded presentation that he hopes we will use. And we will!After viewing Fred’s 30 minute talk we will have a panel of local bird enthusiasts who have a long history of contact with Fred and extensive knowledge of hummingbirds to field questions and tell of experiences with Fred. We hope you will join us on zoom. Just click on the link below.

(We will add the recording of this program shortly)

Breaking New Ground with Florida Scrub-Jay Translocations (16 March 2021)

Join us to hear Breaking New Ground with Florida Scrub-Jay Translocations. Dr. Karl Miller of FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute will share the latest findings from his translocation research on Florida Scrub-Jays. Karl and his team are translocating jays from Ocala National Forest to conservation lands in north and south Florida to achieve multiple objectives. New techniques, used at different times of the year, are proving beneficial for the safe and effective translocation of this threatened species.

Zoom failed to record the full program but what we have of it (including the excellent Q&A portion) will be coming soon.

Conservation Ecology of Short-tailed Hawks, Swallow-tailed Kites, and Snail Kites (15 February 2021)

Gina Kent of the Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) shares her latest research on tracking, migration, and monitoring opportunities for three magnificent Florida raptors including GPS-tracked Snail Kites from Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. This Snail Kite research was made possible with support from Alachua Audubon and St. Pete Audubon.

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

The 2020 Christmas Bird Count In Alachua County, a Synopsis (21 January 2020)

Andrew Kratter discusses the historical significance and importance of doing a yearly count. He also discusses the most recent count and trends seen. In December the count up was done by computer on zoom due to the pandemic. What have we learned this year?

Program: Bird Bling (3 Dec 2020)

Bling- expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry, or the wearing of them. So why are birds wearing those brightly colored bracelets on their legs? You may think that you know a lot about bird banding but here is a program that will give you a new insight into the “why” of bird banding. Join bird bander, Adam Dinuovo, Audubon staff member from the Naples, Marco Island area, as he shares his experiences banding Black Skimmers at the Florida coast.
Adam DiNuovo has been the SW FL Shorebird Program Manager for Audubon FL since April 2015. He has worked on seabird and shorebird research projects from coast to coast for the past 20 years. Projects have included American Oystercatchers in SC, Piping Plovers in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Atlantic Puffins and Arctic Terns in ME. Prior to his arrival in Florida, he was the Research Coordinator for the California Least Tern and Western Snowy Plover Program at San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research and the Sanctuary Manager for National Audubon’s Project Puffin in ME.

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Building Better Birding Skills by Adam Kent (9 Nov 2020)

Do you know how to identify individual Downy Woodpeckers based on their head patterns; how to identify a Tricolored Heron based on bill length; or how to tell an American Crow from a Fish Crow when it is calling, even if you can’t hear it? Adam will answer these questions and more in this presentation geared toward birding in your neighborhood.

Here is a list of books mentioned in the program:

By Kenn Kaufman: Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding: Understanding What You See and Hear (2011)

By Donald Kroodsma: The Singing Life of Birds (2005), Birdsong by the Seasons (2009), and Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist, (2020)

By Nathan Pieplow: Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America (2017)

By David Sibley: Sibley’s Birding Basics (2002), The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior (2001), and What It’s Like to Be a Bird (2020)

And here is a link to the eBird Alachua County Bird Observations bar chart:

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Program: A New Wetland in Gainesville! (4 Nov 2020)

Gainesville Regional Utilities and their partners, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Suwanee River Water Management District, plan to create a groundwater recharge wetland park near Diamon Sports Park (western Alachua County). The wetland park will create valuable wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities while simultaneously replenishing the Floridan Aquifer, which will help support flows at the Santa Fe River and its springs. During the presentation Kristen Sealey, GRU Engineer and Rick Hutton, GRU Supervising Engineer, will provide background about the project and share the multiple benefits the park will bring to the community and environment.

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

October Program – A Fight Against Time (8 Oct 2020)

Thursday evening, October 8 at 7:00 p.m.

Nordmann’s Greenshank is one of the most endangered shorebirds on our planet. Join UF grad student Philipp Maleko as he tells of his adventures in Eastern Russia working with Russian ornithologists wading through bog and forest to study this rare animal.

Here is the video recording of this live program, uploaded to our YouTube channel.

Urban Mockingbird Song Diversity

Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Millhopper Library, 6:30 p.m., (social time 6:00 p.m.)

The Northern Mockingbird is our Florida State Bird and Floridians love hearing its rich repertoire of calls and songs. A U of FL researcher is studying this bird right here in our Northwest Gainesville neighborhoods! Is there more song diversity in urban or rural Mockingbirds? What has been learned?

Saving Wildlife – Serving Community:

Tuesday, February 18, 2020, Millhopper Library, 6:30 p.m. (social time 6:00 p.m.)

Injured, orphaned, displaced wildlife are only part of our mission. Equally important are human interactions and conservation efforts.

Note: This talk precedes an Alachua Audubon field trip to look for birds on
the grounds of Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation in High Springs the following
Saturday, February 22. Public welcome.

Adventures and Discoveries Through Photography

Tuesday, April 21, 2020, Millhopper Library, 6:00 social time 6:30 program

Over the last 15 years, Drew Fulton’s photography has taken him to some incredible and unexpected places. From the swamps of Florida Everglades to the outback of Australia, from the sea floor in Turkey to the high forest canopy of Borneo, join Drew as he takes you on a journey through his lens and shares some of the natural history stories he experienced along the way.

Last Updated September 22nd, 2022, Karen Brown

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