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Ducks and Waterfowl Identification with Greg Butcher, February 2nd

Photo: FMN Ana Ka’ahanui

Thursday, February 2, 2023
7 – 8:30 pm
Online
$10 ASNV members/$15 Nonmembers

Register here.

Join Greg Butcher, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia board member and recently retired migratory species coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service International Programs, for an introduction to waterfowl identification. Get to know many of the species that winter in the open waters of our region. You’ll learn how to tell a Bufflehead from a Hooded Merganser, and, you’ll learn the features (and hear the call) of the beautiful Tundra Swans that winter in Northern Virginia. Strategies will include identification by shape and color pattern. After the presentation, test your identification skills with a Kahoot!

This event will be helpful for those participating in the Winter Waterfowl Count on Feb 11-12 but is open to anyone who would like to know how to identify winter waterfowl!

There is an optional field trip for a limited number of participants, but you are encouraged to do your own independent field trips to see winter waterfowl! Some good locations to see waterfowl in NoVa are Huntley Meadows, Dyke Marsh and Mason Neck State Park.

ASNV – Now Hiring Volunteer Coordinator, deadline January 9th

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) is now accepting applications for a Volunteer Coordinator. This will be a part-time, temporary position for one year, with a possibility to renew for a second year. The Volunteer Coordinator will play a critical role assisting with planning, recruiting, and implementing various volunteer programs and projects for ASNV. This position is also an opportunity to learn more about birds and wildlife, connect with other people who share a passion for nature, and utilize a range of skills to make an impact in our community. Please view the full job listing here for additional information. Deadline January 9, 2023.

ASNV Outreach Volunteer Orientation and Training, February 18th

Photo: Danny Brown

Saturday, February 18, 2023
1 pm – 3 pm
National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20191
Limited to 30 participants
Apply here.

Do you enjoy speaking to people about your passion for birds and the environment? The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV) is currently seeking new volunteers to help them with representing ASNV at community events, leading nature walks for a general public audience, and delivering presentations to audiences of children and/or adults.

Please join them for this volunteer orientation and training if you are interested in helping them and the birds this Spring. Speakers include ASNV board members Stacey Remick-Simkins, Libby Lyons, and Greg Butcher. They will provide information on ASNV’s history and plans for the future, and on what we can do to help birds in Northern Virginia.

After the brief presentations, participants will be split up into three groups to dig deeper into the different forms of volunteering at community events, nature walks, or presentations, with each group engaging in interactive training. The groups will rotate so each participant will have a chance to learn about each kind of volunteer activity.

Experienced volunteers will provide new volunteers support after the training session. Before striking out on their own, new volunteers will have the chance to shadow experienced volunteers, to make sure they are comfortable before they take the lead in an activity such as leading a nature walk.

 

Audubon Afternoon with Forensic Ornithologist Carla Dove, January 22, 2023

Photo: Carla Dove

Sunday, January 22, 2023
2:30 – 4:30 pm
National Wildlife Federation
11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Ste. 100, Reston
Register here.

Join Audubon Society of Northern Virginia for their semi-annual live Audubon Afternoon.

They’ll gather informally starting at 2:30 so you have the opportunity to reconnect with everyone. They welcome any food and drink you would like to share during the informal portion of the program. At 3 PM, they’ll have a presentation by Forensic Ornithologist Dr. Carla Dove, a scientist with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Carla does specialized research in the microscopic identification of feathers. Her current research involves establishing techniques in this newly developing field within Ornithology, which applies forensic methodologies to determine species of birds from fragmentary evidence using microscopy, whole feather comparisons with museum specimens and DNA “barcoding.”

The Audubon Afternoon is free, and everyone is welcome to attend. Registration is requested, so they have an idea of how many people will attend but is not required.

Christmas Bird Count, December 14th – January 5th

Photo: Winter Wren, Therese Scheller/Audubon Photography Awards

The 123rd Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place between this December 14 and January 5, 2023. General information about the CBC is available on the Audubon website.

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia sponsors the Manassas-Bull Run CBC, which will be held for the 41st year on Sunday, December 18. Those who participated in our count last December will to be contacted no later than Thanksgiving. Anyone who would like to participate in this count but did not participate last year should contact the compiler, Phil Silas, at [email protected], or 703-987-0817, as soon as possible but not later than December 8.

Information on other local CBCs that you may be interested in is available in the November 2022 issue of The Siskin, the newsletter of the Northern Virginia Bird Club. Look for the list on page 3.

If you have any questions or concerns about participating in this fun and very useful annual event, you can email or call Phil Silas.

Songbird Research: Prothonotary Warblers with Shirley Devan, Webinar December 15th

Photo: Prothonotary Warbler, Heather Orkis/Audubon Photography Awards

Thursday, December 15, 2022
7-8 pm
Webinar
ASNV Members $15/Nonmembers $25
Register here.

Cure your winter blues with a pop of yellow! Learn all about the Prothonotary Warbler, the only Eastern warbler species that nests in cavities. Populations of this striking bird, affectionately described by some as a “flying lemon,” have declined by 34 percent since 1970. It is a watch list species for Partners in Flight. The Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory (CVWO) has been studying the species since 1995 by banding and monitoring nestlings at 130+ nesting boxes along Virginia’s coast. Shirley Devan, a member of the board of directors for the CVWO, will provide a brief life history of the Prothonotary Warbler. She also will describe CVWO’s banding efforts and what the organization has learned in the process. You also can expect to see some great photos. Brought to you by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.

State of the Birds 2022 in Northern Virginia, Audubon Society of Northern Virginia

Photo: Chimney Swifts, Gen Cvengros, Audubon Photography Awards

Following a 2019 report that we have lost 3 billion birds in 50 years in the United States and Canada, the national State of the Birds Report 2022 (released on October 12, 2022) shows that birds are declining in every habitat except wetlands, where 30+ years of conservation investment have paid off.

To see the national report, visit StateoftheBirds.org.

Here in northern Virginia, we have also lost many birds. Urban and suburban areas pose special threats to birds, including habitat loss, window and other collisions, and the spread of invasive species, including plants, insect pests, and outdoor cats.

In the face of these losses, there are many things we can do to promote bird conservation. ASNV’s Audubon at Home program advises homeowners on replacing invasive plants with natives. In addition, we advise park managers on how to manage parks for breeding birds, especially grasslands and meadows that support declining species such as Eastern Meadowlarks and American Kestrels.

The new State of the Birds report identifies 90 species that have declined more than 50% in the past 50 years. Of those species, five breed in northern Virginia and should be a special focus of conservation efforts here:

  • Chimney Swift – You can help ASNV protect swifts by letting us know if you have breeding swifts or a fall roosting congregation.
  • Wood Thrush and Red-headed Woodpecker – These birds need healthy forests to breed successfully.
  • Prairie Warbler – This is a species that needs overgrown meadows with Eastern red cedars.
  • King Rail – This a secretive wetland bird that often breeds in Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and occasionally in other wetlands nearby.

In addition to these five, our region supports important populations of migrating birds in spring and fall. These birds use small parks and even backyards while traveling on their perilous journeys, so everything we do to improve our local environment can make a big difference!

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia

Winter Seed Sowing with Laura Beaty and Donna Murphy, November 1st

Tuesday, November 1, 2022
7 -8 pm
Virtual
ASNV Member Ticket: $10
Non-member ticket: $15
Register here.

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia wants to know: Do you want a garden brimming with life for a fraction of the price you’d pay to install full-grown plants? Learn how to propagate native plants from seed with this helpful tutorial. Now is the time to collect and sow seeds in trays of seed-starter medium for over-wintering and sprouting seedlings in the spring and summer. Laura Beaty and Donna Murphy will recommend seed sources, share helpful tips and tricks, and answer questions from the audience.

THE SPOOKY AND THE SPECTACULAR: ALL ABOUT SPIDERS WITH DR. SARAH STELLWAGEN, October 25th

Photo: Female Jumping Spider, Thomas Shahan

Tuesday, October 25, 2022
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

This is a Virtual program

Member Ticket: $15
Non-member Ticket: $25

Click here for more information and registration details. 

 

The Audubon Society of Northern Virginia would like to help you celebrate the spooky this October.  Learn all about the spectacular, secret lives of spiders. These eight-legged critters may be a little creepy to some, but they also are fascinating animals with unique hunting strategies. A favorite snack of many birds, arachnids are a crucial part of the ecosystem. Dr. Stellwagen will discuss some of the scary and not-so-scary species that live in our region. You might be surprised by how clever, creative and, yes, even “cute,” spiders can be.

The Incredible Abilities of Dragonflies, September 6th

Photo: Dr. Jessica Ware

Tuesday, September 6
7 pm
Webinar
ASNV member $15/nonmember $25
Register here.

Join Audubon Society of Northern Virginia after Labor Day for a lively talk on dragonflies by Dr. Jessica Ware. Dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) are some of the oldest insects on the planet, and over millions of years they have evolved flying abilities that make them the most efficient predators on earth. Come learn more about these ancient animals that are all around us. Dr. Ware will lead us on a time traveling journey through the past 400 million years of their evolution, going back to the Late Carboniferous to Early Triassic. You will learn more about their life cycles, reproductive behaviors, colorful communication techniques, and the anatomy that makes them such successful predators.