Archive for the ‘Birding Events’ Category

World Wildlife Day 2017

World Wildlife Day 2017

Great movements in human history often start because of the need to stand up to cruelty, unfairness, and governmental overreach. Have you noticed that good usually wins?

In the realm of nature, we have our movements, as well, that start for similar reasons: People with good hearts see others with not-so-good hearts mistreating birds, mammals, sea life, and habitats, and often using these creatures and exploited areas for their own selfish gain.

They didn’t stay silent, but got busy and started fights. Not violent fights, but good fights that have built momentum and are still going.

In 1896, for example, Harriet Hemenway and Mina Hall started the first Audubon Society chapter in Massachusetts because they were upset by the killing of birds for the millinery (hat making) industry. They held a series of teas in an effort to convince other women to stop buying hats decorated with the feathers of these birds. This movement gained momentum, and within two years, other Audubon chapters had sprung up. Harriet and Mina were good people who started a movement and spread the word that wildlife is not a commodity and should be protected. To this day, the Audubon Society still speaks on behalf of birds. (A recent example of Audubon’s activism is their recent fight against the cormorant slaughter on Oregon’s Sand Island.)

In 1918, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was signed into law to prevent the willy-nilly, free-for-all use of wild birds, their feathers, their nests, and their eggs. (Click on the link to see what this law covers in its entirety.) Good people did that, setting into motion legislation that has protected birds for almost 100 years.

On December 20, 2013, the United Nations proclaimed March 3 to be World Wildlife Day as a way to draw attention, raise awareness, and hopefully encourage people to take action against habitat change and destruction, and the over-exploitation or illicit trafficking of fauna (wildlife) and flora (plants and trees), which is threatening, and even causing, the extinction of many species.

World Wildlife Day’s theme for 2017 is “Listen to the Young Voices,” and there are plenty of these voices to listen to: Did you know that over ¼ of the current world population is between the ages of 10-24? Many of these young people are very environmentally-focused and can teach us a thing or two. Likewise, we also have the opportunity — right now — to encourage the young people we know personally to respect wildlife and become its voices and protectors, not just on World Wildlife Day, but all through their growing-up years.

Sounds like a great movement to me. Click here to learn more about this year’s World Wildlife Day.

Learn more about your backyard birds in Birds of the Pacific Northwest: How to Identify 25 of the Most Popular Backyard Birds. Get it for your Kindle (which you can also read on your PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet with this free reading app), Nook, on Smashwords, or in the iTunes bookstore.

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Are you feeling it in the air? Even the light looks different. I’m referring, of course, to the fast approaching end of summer as it hurls itself willy-nilly toward fall. But that’s alright: When it comes to birding, the autumn months are some of the best! There’s always something to do, whether it’s simply enjoying rarely-seen birds as they pass through on their migration routes or heralding the return of “the usuals” once the bug and fruit supplies of summer have dwindled. But if watching backyard birds while sipping your morning coffee leaves you longing for something a little more adventurous, you might want to hit up some fun bird-centered events in your area.

After a somewhat-extensive, caffeine-fueled search through the highways and byways of Google (and receiving some helpful suggestions on Twitter), I’ve found what I think is a pretty good cross-section of fun happenings to keep us all out of trouble…for a while, anyway. Some are family-friendly, which is a fabulous way to get your kids or grandkids bitten by the nature bug.

Take a look! (Click on the title of each event for more information.)

WFO / WOS Joint Conference
When: Thursday, August 22, 2013 through Sunday, August 25, 2013.
Where: Red Lion Hotel, Olympia, WA
Cost: Varies
This one starts tomorrow! The “38th Annual Conference of Western Field Ornithologists, A Joint Conference with Washington Ornithological Society,” is being held this week at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia. From the site: “Each year WFO holds a multi-day conference with scientific papers, field trips, workshops, panels, a keynote address, the annual membership meeting, and other events. The location varies each year as WFO attempts to span its region of coverage while also making its conferences accessible to the bulk of its members.” Field trips and workshops are filling up fast, so jump on this if it’s something you think you can attend. Go to this page and click on the registration link to see the cost of this event, which varies for members and non-members. Thanks to @TAudubon for the heads-up on this event!

Puget Sound Birdfest
When: Friday, September 6 through Sunday, September 8, 2013
Where: Edmonds, WA
Cost: FREE
From the site: “The Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds, Washington is a yearly celebration of the birds and of nature found on the beautiful shores of Puget Sound. Our three-day events include speakers, guided walks, land and water-based field trips, exhibits, and educational activities for children and adults.” Thanks to a previously-planned engagement that I have with a California beach, I won’t be able to attend this one. On one hand, I’m bummed about it, but on the other hand…I’ll be on a beach. If you go, please report back and let us know what you thought! Leave a comment here or post about it on our Facebook page.

Vulture Awareness Day at Portland Audubon
When: Saturday, September 7, 2013 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Where: Portland Audubon, Portland, OR
Cost: FREE
Vultures get a bad rap, don’t they? Here’s an excellent chance to learn why vultures are actually pretty cool creatures. From the Portland Audubon site: “Around the world, vultures are facing hazards in the wild and their numbers are dwindling. As nature’s recyclers, they play an important role in a variety of ecosystems, and it’s up to us to help save them. Portland Audubon’s free celebration of International Vulture Awareness Day is filled with fun and educational activities:
Meet Ruby, Portland Audubon’s Turkey Vulture
Compare your ‘wingspan’ to that of an Andean Condor’s silhouette
Make a crafted vulture and mask
Learn fun vulture facts
Figure out the differences between Old and New World vultures
Discover why vultures are important
Make a pledge to help protect vultures
Go on a scavenger hunt.”
Click on the link above for more details and directions. Thank you, @PortlandAudubon for letting us know about this event.

Nature Night: Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest at Portland Audubon
When: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 (7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)
Where: Portland Audubon, Portland, OR
Cost: FREE
You’ll enjoy this fun talk at Portland Audubon, which is part of their monthly Nature Night lecture series. My friends from Twitter, Sarah and Max of @MustSeeBirds, are presenting the talk based on their just-published book, Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest. From the Portland Audubon site: “Ever wondered where to find particular species of birds in Oregon? Or wanted to know more about those birds than you can find in a field guide? Sarah Swanson and Max Smith provide the answers and celebrate Oregon’s favorite birds with their newly published book, Must See Birds of the Pacific Northwest: 85 Unforgettable Species, Their Fascinating Lives, and How to Find Them. In their book, Sarah and Max group birds in a fresh, fun and thoughtful way by using categories based on interesting traits like big birds, colorful birds and killer birds.” I’ve read a little bit of the book so far, and if this talk was anywhere near me, I’d be there with bells on! I hope you will be, too. (And tell them I said hello!) Thanks to @MustSeeBirds for letting us know about this event.

Monterey Bay Birding Festival
When: Friday, September 12 through Sunday, September 15, 2013
Where: Monterey Bay area, CA
Cost: $10-$45
Not a Pacific Northwest event, but I’m listing it for our California birding friends. And it figures — this one happens after I leave California! From the site: “Designed for both seasoned and beginning birders, as well as outdoor lovers, the festival offers a unique opportunity to explore, learn and appreciate world class habitats such as the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Elkhorn Slough National Marine Estuary, and Pinnacles National Monument. Specially designed field trips will take partic-ipants to Big Sur to see California condors. Join a pelagic trip by Shearwater Journeys to one of the world’s most productive regions for albatrosses, shearwaters, storm-petrels and more. Jump into a kayak and get closer to nature or take a scenic ride at Elkhorn Slough Safari. All field trips are led by top quality, friendly leaders. Online sales is now under way for each birding event offered a la carte, so you’re able to mix and match outings according to your personal interests.”

Hummingbird Super Saturday
When: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Where: Seward Park in Seattle, WA
Cost: FREE
I may see you at this one! If you’re in the Seattle area, this will be held at the Seward Park Audubon Center just inside Seward Park. Kid-friendly and even wheelchair-friendly (but not dog-friendly). From the site: “Celebrate these tiny wonders that flit and zip through the air with amazing speed! Some hummingbirds, like the Rufous, take epic journeys from Alaska to Mexico while others, like our Anna’s, are year-round residents in Seattle. Discover how to help protect hummingbirds, provide them with sanctuaries in our parks and your back yards and explore why they are so adorable! Arts, crafts, games, and activities will entertain and educate hummingbird enthusiasts of all ages.” The link above will take you to the Brown Paper Tickets website, where you’ll be able to explore many other Seward Park Audubon events — too many to list here!

Rogue Valley Audubon Field Trip
When: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Where: Rogue Valley area, OR
Cost: FREE
For our Southern Oregon friends, here’s something for you: “Veteran birding expert Ron Ketchum will lead this trip to the mountain lakes of the nearby Cascades where possible destinations include Howard Prairie Lake, Hyatt Lake, Little Hyatt Lake and Lily Glen Campground. Late migrant warblers, early waterfowl, and such montane species as Mountain Quail and Mountain Bluebird are possible sightings. Meet at the dirt parking lot adjacent to Shop N Kart in Ashland at 7:30 AM. Bring hats, sunscreen, drinks and snacks and appropriate footwear. Carpooling is recommended. Any dogs must be kept in vehicles. Group will return by early afternoon.”

That’s it for today! I’ll post more fall birding events as I come across them. If you’d like to get the word out about your event, you may comment here, talk to me on Twitter (@PacificNWBirds), or message me via our Facebook page. As mentioned in one of the event descriptions, above, please let us know if you attend any of these events. We’d love to know what you thought!

Learn more about your backyard birds in Birds of the Pacific Northwest: How to Identify 25 of the Most Popular Backyard Birds. Get it for your Kindle (which you can also read on your PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet with this free reading app), Nook, on Smashwords, or in the iTunes bookstore.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram!

The Great Backyard Bird Count map, courtesy of

For the first time in its 16-year history, the Great Backyard Bird Count is going global. If you have internet access, you can participate — whether you live in Seattle, Los Angeles, Providence, or St. Petersburg — and be an important voice in the counting of birds right where you live.

See the press release here for the Great Backyard Bird Count, a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and their Canadian partner, Bird Studies Canada.

I hope you’ll take part! It’s only a fifteen-minute commitment and I would love to hear about the birds you counted. Come back and tell us about them in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Do you know any budding ornithologists? Kids can take part, too!


Learn all about the birds in your own backyard! Birds of the Pacific Northwest: How to Identify 25 of the Most Popular Backyard Birds is now available for you to read (and take with you!) on your Kindle, Kindle app, or on your PC or Mac.

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