Events

OAS PROGRAM Meetings

OAS Pot-Luck Holiday Party

Date: Tuesday, December 13
Time: 7:00 PM
Hosted by: Kathleen Crago
Location: Clubroom, DeLimon Place, 801 Rue Dauphine, Metairie, LA 70005 (Old Metairie) Directions and Parking: Enter at 801 Metairie Road, across from PJ’S. This street is Rue St. Ann–stay on Rue St. Ann until you come to the second stop sign. Park in front of the office on St. Ann or at the corners of the con-dos. The entrance is 801 Rue Dauphine.

Bring your favorite dish or spirits to share, and join us for some holiday cheer!

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The ecology of sexual selection in a Neotropical lekking manakin

Date: Tuesday, January 17
Time: 6:30 PM social, 7:00 PM program
Speaker: Luke Anderson, Tulane University
Location: Community Church Unitarian Universalist, 6690 Fleur De Lis Drive, New Orleans, LA 70124 (Lakeview).

Luke will discuss how genes and the environment interact to shape male mating success in lek mating systems, where males aggregate to perform elaborate courtship displays for females. In these systems, females conduct all parental care alone and exhibit stringent mating preferences; as a result, a small number of males achieves the vast majority of the mating success. His research in the White-bearded Manakin suggests that the distribution of fruit resources plays an important role in shaping the observed variation in male display performance and reproductive success at leks. The talk will feature videos of manakin courtship displays obtained by motion-activated camera trapping efforts at lek sites in northwest Ecuador.

Luke is a PhD candidate in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University. His research primarily focuses on the ecological context and genomic consequences of sexual selection in manakins, an iconic family (Pipridae) of Neotropical lekking birds renowned for their extravagant displays and plumage. Luke conducts fieldwork in the Chocó rainforests of northwest Ecuador in close collaboration with members of the local community and the non-profit organization FCAT (Fundación para la Conservación de los Andes Tropicales).

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Birding Field Trips

Bring binoculars, field guides, bug spray, rain gear, sunscreen and refreshments. Boots and cell phones may be useful. Snacks and drinks are recommended. Contact the trip leader if you have questions.
COVID Guidelines: Vaccinations and masks may be required for some field trips. Check with the trip leader.
eBird users: Please share your eBird account email address with the trip leader and the trip leader or designee will keep the trip list to share with participants.

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Bonnet Carré Spillway

Half Day Trip

Date and Time: Saturday, December 10, 8:00 AM
Location: Meet at the Norco Boat Launch. Take Airline Hwy (US 61) west, turn right onto the east Spillway levee, and turn left down to the boat launch. May need rubber boots.
Leader: Chris Brantley 985-237-5399, chrisbrantley@charter.net

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Christmas Bird Counts

Slidell Christmas Bird Count

Date: Saturday, December 17
Compiler: Contact Wendy Rihner for details: 330-348-3810, wrihner@gmail.com

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New Orleans Christmas Bird Count

Date: Monday, December 26
Compiler: Contact Glenn Ousset for details: 504-495-4284, gousset@bellsouth.net

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New Orleans Christmas Bird Count

Date: Wednesday, December 28
Compiler: Contact Chris Brantley for details: chrisbrantley@charter.net

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Venice Christmas Bird Count

Date: Friday, December 30
Compiler: Contact David Muth for details: 504-872-5993, muthdp@gmail.com

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St. Tammany Christmas Bird Count

Date: Friday, December 30
Compiler: Contact Chris Brantley for details: chrisbrantley@charter.net

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RECORDINGS OF ZOOM PROGRAMS – WATCH THEM ANYTIME!

California Birding

Presented by Joan Garvey, OAS Membership Chair

Presented by Joan Garvey, OAS Membership Chair
This presentation features birds photographed in different habitats near South San Francisco, California. Also included are birds encountered on a deep water pelagic out of Half Moon Bay. Big surprises were a Polar Skua and a Hawaiian Petrel!

Click HERE to watch California Birding

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Alaskan cruise with an extension to Victoria

Presented by Joan Garvey, OAS Membership Chair

This presentation was created to highlight birds seen in the Pacific Northwest. This was not a birding trip, but with a little effort and planning one can work birding in to any vacation. Bring your optics!

Joan Garvey serves as Membership Chair of Orleans Audubon Society. After retiring from private practice as a General Dentist, she became an avid birder. She also maintains a hummingbird garden with hopes of hosting wintering species. In her free time she enjoys painting watercolors of bird she photographs.

Click HERE to watch Alaskan cruise with an extension to Victoria, BC

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Celebrating the Swallow-tailed Kite

Presented by Dr. Jennifer Coulson, OAS President

The Swallow-tailed Kite might just be the most charismatic bird on the planet. Learn about this kite’s captivating life history and habits from ornithologist Dr. Jennifer Coulson, who has devoted most of her life to studying this bird. Jennifer will relate details about this kite’s social lifestyle, highlight some extreme specializations, and provide fascinating tales about the annual journey to Brazil and back. Find out the latest news on OAS’s Swallow-tailed Kite Project, which includes monitoring nests, tracking global movements, engaging citizen scientists, and working with landowners, managers, and the timber industry to conserve kites.

Jennifer received a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Tulane University. After joining the Board of Directors of the OAS in 1996, she has served as President for the past 22 years. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Raptor Research Foundation. She and her husband, Tom, are falconers and raptor breeders who hunt with a trained group of Harris’s Hawks.

Click HERE to watch Celebrating the Swallow-tailed Kite

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Least Sandpipers – Photo by Larry Pace

Science and conservation for birds and humans on working lands in the Mississippi Delta

Presented by Dr. Jason Hoeksema, University of Mississippi

Delta Wind Birds (DWB) promotes creation and protection of wetland habitat for migratory water birds in the Mississippi Delta region, especially by working with private landowners. Dr. Hoeksema will highlight all of these projects in which DWB is currently engaged, including creation of temporary wetlands on corn and soybean fields after harvest, which may benefit birds, reduce pollution, and improve crop yields.

Click HERE to watch Science and conservation for birds and humans on working lands in the Mississippi Delta

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Greater Ani

Cooperation and Conflict: The Bizarre Lives of Tropical Cuckoos

Presented by Dr. Christie Riehl, Princeton University

The anis — including the Groove-billed and Smooth-billed Anis of Texas and Florida, and the Greater Ani of South America — share an unusual nesting strategy known as communal nesting. Several pairs cooperatively build a single nest in which all the females lay their eggs, and the entire group shares incubation, nest defense, and parental care of the mixed clutch. In this talk, Christie Riehl will discuss the results of her long-term field study of Greater Anis in Panama, focusing on the fascinating cooperative behaviors of this tropical cuckoo.

Christie studies the ecology and evolution of avian life histories, especially in tropical species. Her long-term research project is on cooperatively breeding greater anis in Panama, with many other projects on the evolution of parental care and mating systems in birds. She is also affiliated with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Princeton’s High Meadows Environmental Institute, and Princeton’s Program in Latin American Studies.

Click HERE to watch Cooperation and Conflict: The Bizarre Lives of Tropical Cuckoo

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Birding Colombia

Birding Colombia’s Southern Frontier—Putumayo

Presented by Joelle Finley and Ken Harris

The small Department of Putumayo lies along the southern border of Colombia, adjacent to the northern border of Ecuador. Within Putumayo lies the main Andean massif, the eastern slope, the Andean foothills and the beginnings of the Amazonian basin. This wide array of habitats leads to a huge variety of birds. In addition, just to the north lies the Department of Huila which is home to the UNESCO Archeological Site San Augustin. San Augustin is a collection of ancient ceremonial and burial sites dating back to 3300 BC. The burial sites were accompanied by stone statues. Very little is known about the people who created these magnificent carved stones. Join Ken and Joelle as they bird from 10,000 ft in the paramo of the high Andes down to 800 ft on the edge of the Amazon Basin.

Click HERE to watch Birding Colombia’s Southern Frontier—Putumayo

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Black Rail

Erik Johnson holds a Black Rail.

Searching for Black Rails in Louisiana – a Race against Extinction

Presented by Dr. Erik Johnson, Director of Conservation Science, Audubon Delta

The Black Rail is one of the hardest birds to find in North America, and Louisiana had only 13 documented records prior to 2017. Meanwhile, the species has been disappearing from its Atlantic Coast range, by up to 90% over the last 25 years, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a process to consider adding the Black Rail to the Endangered Species Act. Audubon researchers with support from the USFWS and LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in 2017-2019 conducted the first focused search for Black Rails in Louisiana, which resulted in 83 detections, and a first glimpse of the species’ habitat preferences. In a new research collaborative across the Gulf of Mexico, research and conservation organizations are working to understand how to preserve and restore Black Rail habitat before the threats of coastal development and sea level rise drive the species to extinction, which has been predicted to occur by 2068 without immediate action. Join Dr. Erik Johnson, Director of Conservation Science with Audubon Delta, to learn about these secretive and amazing birds, and how you can help ensure their survival.

Click HERE to watch Searching for Black Rails in Louisiana – a Race against Extinction

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Dr. Nicholas Mason

Dr. Nicholas Mason

LSU Museum of Natural Science Ornithology Program

Presented by Dr. Nick Mason, Curator of Birds, LSU Museum of Natural Science

The LSU Museum of Natural Science ornithology program is world renowned for their collections and contributions to science. Dr. Nicholas Mason joined the museum in 2020 as the Curator of Birds. Dr. Mason provides a brief history of the ornithology programs at the LSU Museum of Natural Science and talks about current and future research.

Click HERE to watch LSU Museum of Natural Science Ornithology Program

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Offshore Wind

National Audubon Society’s Approach to Offshore Wind

Presented by Dr. Shilo Felton

Thanks to advances in technology and a growing bipartisan consensus that a transition to clean energy is needed to address climate change, there are a growing number of clean energy projects on the horizon, especially in offshore wind energy. National Audubon Society’s science shows that climate change is the number one threat to birds, putting up to two-thirds of North American bird species at risk of extinction. We support getting to net-zero carbon emissions and transitioning to clean energy. We want to ensure that we build new solar and wind projects in a way that protects birds and mitigates the risk to migratory species. That’s why Audubon strongly supports properly sited and operated clean energy projects. Join Dr. Shilo Felton, coastal avian ecologist and Field Manager with Audubon’s Clean Energy Initiative, to learn about how responsible offshore wind projects can protect birds and the places they live, and how you can take action in your community.

Click HERE to watch National Audubon Society’s Approach to Offshore Wind

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Adelie Penguins

Antarctica and Adelie Penguins

Presented by Dr. Peter Kappes

Perhaps no animal is more synonymous with the Antarctic than the Adelie Penguin. We all probably have an image of one of these tuxedoed ambassadors waddling across the ice, but there is a lot more to these birds than cute internet memes. Come learn more about these fascinating birds and the other seabirds that frequent Antarctica, and what it is like to live and work among these birds at one of the world’s most remote and pristine field sites. Dr. Peter Kappes is an applied conservation biologist and a member of Mississippi State University’s research staff at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.

Click HERE to watch Antarctica and Adelie Penguins

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Whooping Crane

Reestablishing Louisiana’s Whooping Cranes

Presented by Irvin Louque, Whooping Crane Outreach Coordinator, International Crane Foundation

Through the dedication and teamwork of many conservation organizations, Whooping Cranes are returning to Louisiana wetland ecosystems. Louisiana once hosted resident and wintering populations of both Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes, but both species were once extirpated due to habitat loss and unregulated hunting. Thanks to laws protecting wetlands and reducing hunting pressure, wintering Sandhill Cranes returned decades ago, but multi-agency reintroduction efforts were needed to bring back the nonmigratory Whooping Cranes. Today, around 70 Whooping Cranes are establishing territories and raising their young in Louisiana’s coastal marshes and prairie agricultural areas. The population is not without challenges and birders can help by spreading awareness, reporting sightings and harassment of the cranes, and promoting a conservation ethic.

Click HERE to watch Reestablishing Louisiana’s Whooping Cranes

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California Condor

Saving the California Condor: The Importance of Zoos in Conservation of Endangered Species

Presented by Mike Houlihan, Assistant Curator of Birds, Audubon Zoo

Mike Houlihan assisted with the reintroduction of California Condors. He will discuss how zoos have played an active role in the reintroduction of California Condors and tell us about his experiences working with fish and wildlife in the field. In the case of the condor, zoos became a life preserver for the species in the wild. Mike will discuss the struggles still facing condors and the importance of zoos in wildlife conservation of endangered animals.

Click HERE to watch Saving the California Condor: The Importance of Zoos in Conservation of Endangered Species

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Dr. Erik Johnson

Migratory Birds and the Mississippi River

Presented by Dr. Erik Johnson, Director of Conservation Science, Audubon Delta

One of the longest rivers in the world, the Mississippi River has shaped much of North America, including its bird life. But humans have substantially modified the river for navigation and to protect communities from flooding, which has resulted in important and sometimes dire consequences for the region’s wildlife. Join Audubon’s Erik Johnson on a journey into the connections between the Mississippi River and birds and learn about the opportunities and actions underway to recover bird habitat in the region.

Erik Johnson is the Director of Conservation Science for Audubon Delta, a regional field office of the National Audubon Society, servicing Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Erik oversees conservation planning and implementation, habitat management initiatives, and applied scientific research focused on species of conservation concern.

Click HERE to watch Migratory Birds and the Mississippi River

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Egret gliding over Lake Pontchartrain

An Unexpected Passion for Birds

Presented by John Snell, Anchor, Fox 8 News

FOX 8 Anchor John Snell shares how photography inspired an unexpected passion for birding in South Louisiana. He also details the state’s efforts to restore its rapidly eroding wetlands.

Click HERE to watch An Unexpected Passion for Birds

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ECUADOR: Straddling the Equator in Search of Condors to Hummingbirds

Presented by Jennifer Coulson and David Muth

Roughly the size of the U.K., Ecuador offers more bird diversity in less space than any other country. This center of avian mega-diversity is home to over 1,650 species of birds! In 2018, Tom and Jennifer Coulson, David Muth, and Princeton ornithologist, Christie Riehl made a birding trip to Ecuador. They found Ecuador to be a user-friendly country for birding and ecotourism. Join Jennifer and David as they take us on a journey exploring the eastern slope of the Andes in search of the gigantic Andean Condor, the exquisite Tourmaline Sunangel, and everything in between. Learn why Ecuador is a special place for birds and birders.

Click HERE to watch Ecuador: Straddling the equator in search of condors to hummingbirds

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The Future Delta and Birds

Presented by David Muth

David will focus on Louisiana’s land loss: 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands over the last century. The state is poised to lose more as the delta sinks and seas rise—in fact, all of the remaining 4,000 square miles are threatened. We will review an aggressive plan to build sediment diversions to restart the natural delta-building process. The Environmental Impact Statement for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion is expected this spring. The implications for the health of bird populations could not be more profound. David Muth is Director of Gulf Restoration for the National Wildlife Federation.

Click HERE to watch The Future Delta and Birds

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40 Years in Borneo: Hacking Through the Jungle in Search of Birds

Presented by Dr. Fred Sheldon

Fred has two fundamental areas of research interest: the evolution and systematics of birds, and the natural history of the birds of the Malay Archipelago. His work in S.E. Asia is concentrated mainly in Borneo, where he is conducting a variety of studies with students and collaborators. Borneo, a giant, rugged island in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago, is shared by the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan and the tiny nation of Brunei. It’s known for its beaches and ancient, biodiverse rainforest, home to wildlife including orangutans and clouded leopards. In Sabah is 4,095 meter-tall Mount Kinabalu, the island’s highest peak, and, offshore, the famed dive site Sipadan Island.

Click HERE to watch 40 Years in Borneo: Hacking through the Jungle in Search of Birds

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My Big Year – Birding for a Cause

Presented by Dr. Joe Blanda

Joe Blanda is an orthopedic surgeon from Akron, Ohio who did a “big year” of birding in 2016 to raise money for cancer research after the death of his son to brain cancer. A big year is either a personal challenge or a friendly competition among birders who strive to observe as many bird species as possible within a calendar year and within a particular geographic area. Joe is a long-time nature photographer who will share some of his exciting bird sightings both with photographs and some captivating stories. You will learn how he used his passion for nature and birding not only to heal from his loss but also to discover a new desire to help others.

Click HERE to watch My Big Year – Birding for a Cause

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Madagascar: A Place Like No Other

Presenters: Ken Harris and Joelle Finley

The fourth largest island on Earth hosts 6 endemic families of birds with over 110 endemic bird species. Ninety percent of its forest species and all of its native land mammals are unique, among them the many species of lemurs, a primate group now largely confined to Madagascar. Two-thirds of all chameleons occur on Madagascar along with 7 species of Baobab trees (Africa has only 1 species). 80% of the forest is gone from Madagascar due to a huge over-population problem and is sadly being replaced by Eucalyptus.

Click HERE to watch Madagascar: A Place Like No Other

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Bird Louisiana!

Presenter: Joan Garvey

Louisiana currently boasts a count upwards of 470 species of birds. Of that number about 25% comprise rare migratory birds from the far north, west and tropical Americas. It is a state full of refuges, pinewoods, barrier islands and wetlands, all in the path of breeding, migratory and wintering birds. With our mild climate it is possible to bird here year-round. In our current situation of dealing with a pandemic, birding locally can still be very fulfilling. Travel may also be limited due to other factors, family obligations, work constraints or monetary limits. Most of the birds depicted in this presentation were seen on day trips.

Click HERE to watch Bird Louisiana!

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Carolina Dormon, Louisiana Pioneer Woman

Presenter: Linda Auld

Linda Auld “BugLady”

Join Linda Auld in celebrating the life of Caroline Dormon, an intriguing and powerful woman born in the little town of Acadia back in 1888. She is famous for being an artist, teacher, conservationist, and the first woman spokesperson in the U.S. Forestry Service. Learn about her fascinating life, her phenomenal accomplishments, her beautiful Briarwood Nature Retreat, and her fantastic, inspiring books.

Click HERE to watch Caroline Dormon, Louisiana Pioneer Woman

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Backyard Birds and More

Black-crowned Night Heron

Instructor: Joelle Finley

We’ll take a quick trip through the seasons looking at the common birds found in our New Orleans area, listening to their calls and discussing some of their migratory patterns. We’ll learn who is here, when they are here and a little something about enhancing our yards to attract them.

Joelle Finley is the OAS Vice-president, Program Chair and Field Trip Coordinator. She has been birding since the 1970s and spends as much time birding outside the U.S. as possible, which has been zero for the past 6 months.

Click HERE to watch Backyard Birds and More

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Bay-breasted Warbler by Joan Garvey

Confusing Fall Warblers

Instructor: Wendy Rihner

Ask even the best of birders, and they will admit that warblers in the fall can be a real test of their identification skills. While many birders prefer spring migration because many warblers are decked out in their colorful breeding plumage, identifying those once-brightly colored warblers in the fall presents a real challenge for beginning birders.

Wendy Rihner, OAS Education Chair, hosts a webinar for new birders on how to identify those confusing fall warblers. The webinar covers field identification techniques, plumage differences between spring and fall, and behavioral differences in these wonderful and beautiful species.

Click HERE to watch Confusing Fall Warblers

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The Monarch’s Egg and Everyday Wonders of Louisiana’s Butterflies

Presenter: Dr. Donata Henry

This presentation showcases the unique wildlife photography of Walter Clifton, an avid outdoorsman dedicated to documenting the natural history of birds and butterflies of Louisiana. He hand reared and photographed over a dozen different species of butterflies, allowing us to marvel at and appreciate life stages we rarely, if ever, get to see. Notably, he did not use a digital camera. He and Dr. Donata Henry, a Senior Professor of Practice in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University, explored the Honey Island Swamp together nest searching and waiting in hot, buggy blinds for warblers to reveal their secrets. Join us for a glimpse into the weird and wonderful biodiversity in your own backyard.”

Click HERE to watch The Monarch’s Egg and Other Everyday Wonders of Louisiana’s Butterflies

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Raptor Identification

Presenters: Jennifer and Tom Coulson

Raptor biologists Jennifer and Tom Coulson share their basic approach to raptor identification, a strategy which differs from that of most field guides. They will provide a number of novel tips for identifying our native diurnal birds of prey. The Coulsons are true “raptorophiles” who have spent much of their lives studying and working with birds of prey.

Click HERE to watch the Raptor Identification Workshop

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Native Plants for Birds

Presenter: Wendy Rihner

Rihner discusses the great potential for gardeners in the Greater New Orleans area to build bird-friendly communities. She will highlight WHAT native plants are, WHERE native plants can be purchased locally, WHY native plants are more important for birds and pollinators than tropicals/exotics, HOW we can help create bird-friendly communities one yard at a time. Wendy Rihner, recently retired from teaching English at Delgado Community College, now has even more time to learn about the relationship native plants play in the lives of birds. Rihner serves on the Board of Directors for the Native Plant Initiative of Greater New Orleans, as well as the executive boards of both the Orleans Audubon Society and Audubon Louisiana.

Click HERE to watch Native Plants for Birds

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