Alachua Audubon Evening Programs

All AAS Evening Programs are free and open to the general public. All programs are currently presented online via Zoom. Starting in March 2023, programs will switch to an in-person/Zoom hybrid format. The necessary information is provided in the descriptions below.

We record and post videos on our YouTube channel of as many of the programs as we can.  See links below with their respective program descriptions and on our YouTube channel.


Upcoming Programs

North Florida Sparrows: Identification and Ecology, Saturday, Jan 14, 2023 at 7:00 PM on Zoom

Join Adam Kent as he shows us how to identify sparrows found in North Florida. Once you understand the basics of the combination of distribution, behavior, and appearance for this fascinating group of birds, you can begin to chip away at the term “little brown job” and get more out of your sparrowing experience.

An Anhinga sparked Adam’s passion for birds when he was a child. Since then, an enthusiasm for the natural world has led him to a variety of biologist positions including assessing sites for the Great Florida Birding Trail, working as Florida’s first Scrub-Jay Conservation Coordinator, and currently as a biological consultant and natural history tour leader. One of Adam’s birding highlights was making recordings that led to the description of a new species of bird in Mexico, the Nava’s Wren. Adam has been leading sparrow identification workshops since 2000.

Join the Zoom Meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83723144735
Meeting ID: 837 2314 4735

Understanding Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park: A Dive Into Managing For Wildlife on the Prairie, Tuesday, February 7th, at 7 pm on Zoom


Presenters Bubba Scales and Brian Law

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a regional treasure among nature enthusiasts, especially birders, and a major contributing factor to the community’s sense of place. Meet Brian Law, the biologist who manages the park’s natural features and hear what he has to say about ongoing and upcoming efforts to preserve and restore the habitats that support the diversity of wildlife that birders and the community at large has come to know and love. Park volunteer, Friends of Paynes Prairie board member, and former owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, Bubba Scales will join Brian to highlight some of the most notable ornithological events occurring in the prairie over the past year or so. Join us we discuss the park like you have never heard about it before, the park that makes Gainesville so unique!

Join the Zoom Meeting Feb 7, 2023 07:00 PM Eastern Time
Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81212519834

Past Programs

The Most Endangered Bird in North America: The Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, Thursday, Nov 17, 2022 07:00 PM on Zoom

   

Considered the most endangered bird in North America, the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum floridanus) is a subspecies that has exhibited steep declines in their population for the last 30 years. This decline has long been attributed to the loss and fragmentation of their native habitat, Florida’s dry prairie. Efforts to bring them back from the brink of extinction has created perhaps one of the largest and most successful collaborations between federal agencies, state agencies, and non-profit organizations. Novel management tools were created by the state to maximize Florida Grasshopper Sparrows’ reproductive success and, along with the establishment of a captive-breeding population, biologists are now seeing hope for the future of Florida Grasshopper Sparrows.

Fabiola “Fabby” Baeza-Tarin was born in the border town of Ojinaga, Chihuahua Mexico. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Master’s degree in Range and Wildlife Management from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. For my master’s thesis, I worked under Borderlands Research Institute to investigate overwinter habitat requirements of two grassland bird specialists that have experienced steep population declines, Baird’s Sparrow and Grasshopper Sparrow on a ranch in Marfa, Texas. My fondness of grassland birds, and more specifically, the Grasshopper Sparrow brought me to Archbold Biological Station. I am a Research Assistant in the Avian Ecology Program overseeing a population of the critically endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, a subspecies that resides in Florida year-round. I lead the research and manage the population of sparrows at DeLuca Preserve, a working cattle ranch. At this property, I am investigating management options that would enhance and protect avian biodiversity of cattle ranches while keeping cattle operations profitable, ultimately to export the gained knowledge to other Florida ranches. I am a subject-matter expert and spokesperson for the state-wide effort to protect and connect a network of 18 million acres of critical habitats in the state of Florida, the Florida Wildlife Corridor, to ensure the state’s ecology, economy and well-being of all Floridians for generations to come.

Join the Zoom Meeting at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81562475681
or find the link on our website under Events ->Evening Programs.
Meeting ID: 815 6247 5681

Biography of Frank Chapman – The Man who Created the Christmas Bird Count
Presented by James Huffstodt with an introduction by Rex Rowan.
Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 7PM on Zoom.

  

Join us as James Huffstodt presents the enigmatic history of Frank M. Chapman, the creator of the Christmas Bird Count and a past resident of Gainesville, from his recently published book “The Man Who Loved Birds”. Dr. Frank M. Chapman worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and made his mark as the most popular bird writer of his era, internationally renowned ornithologist (despite never having gone to college), South American explorer, museum  innovator, perfector of the bird habitat diorama, pioneer bird photographer (circa 1890), and one of the leaders in bringing an end to the bloody reign of the plume hunters. Beginning in 1885 the New Jersey resident spent winters at his mother’s cottage in Gainesville until her death in 1912. During that time, he did extensive and important bird research at Alachua Sink and the surrounding area, now a part of Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.

James Huffstodt, 75, is a retired Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission information-education officer and lives in Tallahassee.

View the recorded program on our YouTube channel here:
Link: https://youtu.be/PeEjQ3yIiMQ

Gainesville’s Treatment Wetlands: Sweetwater Wetlands Park and the Planned Groundwater Recharge Wetland 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.

View the recorded program on our YouTube channel here:
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jCffT1789c

Bird Photography Basics by Mitch Walters, Thursday, August 25, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom

Mitch is an award-winning nature photographer and PhD candidate studying avian acoustics at the University of Florida. Birds may be colorful and adorable, but they are also skulky and flighty, making them challenging subjects to photograph. Join Mitch as he shares his best tips for successfully and consistently capturing birds behind the camera, while also showcasing the incredible beauty and diversity of bird photography in Florida (and beyond)!
View the recorded program on our YouTube channel here:

Why Make Nest Boxes for Kestrels?, Thursday, August 18th at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom

For the past 30 years, Bob Simons has built and installed over 150 nest boxes for Southeastern American Kestrels with the help of Boy Scouts, student interns, and volunteers. The boxes are monitored to gauge their activity. Why did he do this? What have we learned?
View the recorded program on our YouTube channel here:

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

This program was 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.


View the recorded program on our YouTube channel here:
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBJ-fhmK0w4

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 was a fun program too!

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

An Introduction into Fireflies, their Diversity, Natural History, Life Cycle
April 4, 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 includes 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 – okeller1977@gmail.com and @dr_firefly

Here is the video recording of this 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 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 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 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)

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)

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?

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:

https://ebird.org/barchart?byr=1900&eyr=2020&bmo=1&emo=12&r=US-FL-001

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 Diamond 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.

A Fight Against Time (8 Oct 2020)

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.

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