Posts

Audubon Afternoon: How Birds Adapt their Songs to Urban Noise and What We’ve Learned during the Pandemic, Dr. David Luther, June 6th

Photo courtesy of ASNV

Sunday, June 6, 2021
3 pm
Virtual
Register here.

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia will hold its annual membership meeting virtually, on Sunday, June 6 from 3:00 to 3:15 PM. The membership will vote on incoming Directors and new terms for Officers.

At 3:15 PM, they will welcome Dr. David Luther to their Audubon Afternoon. Urban environments are among the most highly modified habitats on the planet. David’s research has focused on how human activity has modified habitats and altered ecological processes around the world. Acoustic communication is a critical component of reproductive success in many species. His lab at George Mason University studies how human noise affects the behavior and survival of a diversity of bird species.

Art, Wonder and the Natural World, webinar May 6th

Photo courtesy of Jane Kim

Thursday, May 6, 2021
7 pm
Fee: $10

To register, click here.

Join Audubon Society of Northern Virginia as they welcome Jane Kim, artist, science illustrator, and the founder of Ink Dwell, a studio that explores the wonders of the natural world. In this visually stunning presentation, Jane will take the audience on an artistic journey that explores the 375 million year evolution of birds, the migratory behaviors of some of our most beloved and endangered animals and the importance of creating urban monuments to nature.

This is a joint venture with the Oak Spring Garden Foundation.

Birding by Ear

Song Sparrow photo by Pat Ulrich

On line: Thursday, May 13, Tuesday, May 18 & Thursday, May 20
7:00 – 8:30PM
Field Trip: Saturday, May 22 (Limit 20), Place TBD
Fee: $75/Online only; $100/Online + Field Trip
To register, click here.

Sponsored by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia

Have you ever wondered what that song or ‘chip’ note was that you heard on a forest hike? Can’t tell the difference between a spring peeper and a wood warbler? How does one learn to memorize the complex and endless variety of bird sings? This workshop is designed for you. If you are a relative beginner, and want to start building a repertoire of learned bird songs and calls, here is the place. This workshop on Birding by Ear will help you phoneticize a variety of bird calls using mnemonic devices, understand the basic function and purpose of avian vocalizations, organize a library of calls and songs having similar characteristics, and improve your field birding skills.

Beginning Birding – Hybrid Workshop, April 27th, 29th & May 1st

Photo by Luke Franke

April 27, 29; Tuesday & Thursday, 7:00 – 8:00PM
Field Trip: May 1, 7:30AM (Limit 20)
Where: Hybrid – online and in the field!
Fee: $25/Online only; $50/Online + Field Trip

To register, click here.

Are you new to the world of birding? Not sure if the bird in your binoculars is a warbler or a sparrow? Then this class is for you! This three part hybrid class will focus on the basics: Why go birding? What is birding? What about binoculars, field guides, and phone apps? How can you get started identifying the birds you see? Where can you go birding?

Join Greg Butcher, Larry Meade and Dixie Sommers for Audubon Society of Northern Virginia’s first hybrid workshop. They’ll meet online for two, one-hour Zoom sessions and follow up what you’ve learned in the field.

Attracting Bees and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants, March 6th

Agapostemon photo by Heather Holm

Saturday, March 6, 2021
11 am
Fee: $10
Register here.

Most insects have a positive impact in our landscapes. Native plants can be selected to attract specific bees and beneficial insects including predatory and parasitic wasps, beetles, flies, true bugs, and lacewings. Learn about the predator-prey relationships of these flower-visiting beneficial insects and how they help keep problem insect populations in balance. The life cycles, diversity, and nesting habitat of native bees will also be covered along with examples of native plants for different site conditions.

The program will be presented by Heather Holm, biologist, pollinator conservationist, and award-winning author.

This is a joint venture with Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and the American Horticultural Society.

Fundamentals of Avian Biology, The Study of Birds: Spring Session

Photo: Dr. Chris Haney

March 2,4,9,11,16,18, 23, 25, 30; April 1, 13, 15
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:30 – 8:30 pm
Fee: $150/member; $175/non-member
Click here to learn more and/or register.

Are you new to birding and want to learn more or just want to dig deeper into the subject? Then this class is for you! This course is designed and presented at an introductory but comprehensive university level in 6 weekly parts, with each internet-hosted video instructional session about one hour long.

Action Alert: Scrub your Bird Feeders!

Pine Siskin photo by William Kurt; text by Jessica Bigger

Recently, there have been several local reports of birders finding sick and dead Pine Siskins. The likely culprit is a bacterium called Salmonellosis, which is fatal to many feeder birds. Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, and Common Redpolls appear to be exceptionally vulnerable to the disease. Salmonellosis is usually spread through feces which can contaminate bird feeders and bird baths. So, it is important to make sure you clean your bird feeders and bird baths very well and often. 

Sick birds may appear thin or fat and fluffed up and may have swollen eyelids. They are often lethargic and easy to approach. Some infected birds may show no outward symptoms but are carriers of the disease and can spread the infection to other birds,” as stated on feederwatch.org.

If you spot a bird you believe is sick, make sure to clean your bird feeders and the surrounding area to prevent the spread of the disease, and call your local wildlife rehabilitation center. If there are several sick birds around, remove your feeders for at least a week and clean them thoroughly.

Prevention is key to reducing the spread. You should clean your bird feeders every two weeks. Scrub your feeders thoroughly to remove any debris, and then wash them with soap and boiling water or soak your feeders in a bleach solution for at least 10 minutes.

For additional information, visit feederwatch.org.

Reprinted with permission of Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.

Introduction to Bird and Nature Photography with Brian Zwiebel, February 18th and 25th

Thursdays, February 18 & 25, 2021
7 – 8 pm
Cost $25
Register here.

This introductory program is great for beginners but will offer a few nuggets for the intermediate shooter as well. Learn what Brian does and what you should do too, every time you get your hands on a new digital camera. Discover what a histogram is, how to read it and use it to make better exposures. Learn to improve your images with better compositions and backgrounds as well as how to improve your action and behavior images. All of this and much more will be included in the program and each talking point supported by Brian’s award-winning photography. Presented by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.

Waterfowl Identification Webinar with Bill Young, January 11th & 12th

Hooded Mergansers, photo by Bill Young

Two sessions:
Monday, January 11, 2021 7-8 pm
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 7-8:30 pm
Fee: $25
Limit: 150
To register, click here.

Waterfowl can be easy to see, but difficult to tell apart. This two-part program, presented by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia, will provide techniques for identifying ducks, geese, and swans. It will also show how to identify other species typically seen on the water, such as loons, grebes, cormorants, and coots. Suitable for beginning and skilled birders. Practice your skills during the second session with a fun Kahoot!

2020 Christmas Bird Counts and Alternatives

Photo of Eastern Towhee by Bob Howdesell, CBC

Central Loudoun Christmas Bird Count
When: Monday, December 28, 2020
Join Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy as they participate in the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. The count circle has a 15-mile diameter and covers 177 square miles of Loudoun’s countryside: north to Waterford, south to Aldie, east to Ashburn, and west to Purcellville. LWC will not be holding an in-person Tally Rally this year but may do something virtual. If you are interested in participating for just a couple of hours or the entire day, sign up here.

Reston Association’s Winter Bird Count
When: Saturday, January 2, 2021 7 am – 12 pm
Half-day annual bird count throughout Reston natural areas. Meet local bird experts, obtain tips on identification, and help with collecting vital information about our feathered friends. Register using code 106201205 or call (703) 476-9689, ext. 5, by December 30th.

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia plans to hold the 39th Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 20. This year’s count will be different, in light of the pandemic.

Instead of recruiting new participants, they will be limiting the count to last year’s participants who want to do the count under conditions that conform with pandemic restrictions, including wearing masks, maintaining social distance and carpooling with household members only. Instead of their count day lunch gathering, they will have an online “tally rally” in the evening of count day. If you participated in last year’s count, you should have received a message about participating this year.

If you were looking forward to volunteering for the first time for this CBC, they hope you’ll understand and volunteer next year. BUT there are still ways you can join the spirit of the count! Consider these possibilities or invent your own:

Join the Free Zoom CBC Celebration and Summary:

Learn about highlights of this year’s CBC and celebrate with the CBC community. Register here.

Do Your Own Count:

Walk through your neighborhood or visit a park or refuge to gather observations and report your personal findings via eBird. (see below) Be sure to practice social distancing and wear a mask if within six feet of others!

Learn More About Useful Identification and Database Applications:

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a suite of useful tools and sites related to birding.

Explore many aspects of birding (species, hotspots, regions, etc.) at ebird.org.

You can also take a free course on their eBird smartphone application that allows you to document the species you see or hear. https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/product/ebird-essentials/

Take a free course on using another great smartphone app, Merlin Bird ID and other tools at https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org

Play learning games about birds at https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/learning-games/

Project FeederWatch:

Count birds that visit your feeders from the safety of your home or yard. Submit data from your sightings to contribute to winter and early bird counts. The 2020–21 FeederWatch season began on November 14 and ends on April 9. You can still sign up, and the last day to start a two-day count is April 8. Details are at https://feederwatch.org.

CBC Feeder Watchers:

If you reside in the Manassas-Bull Run CBC circle, you can count your feeder birds on December 20 and send a report that can be included in the official count. Contact the CBC compiler Phil Silas, epsdcva@aol.com for details.