We Love Birds Bulletin

Posts from Bexar Audubon Society
about birding and conservation articles, books, programs, webinars, classes, and other newsworthy items for BAS members.

June 4, 2020

“Black Birders Week”
Promotes Diversity and Takes on Racism in the Outdoors

Audubon chapters want the outdoors and the joy of birds to be open to everyone. However, the legacy of racism and injustice in this country still exclude and endanger Black people in ways large and small every day. That means we need to listen carefully to our Black colleagues’ experiences and work hard to build a more just and inclusive world in everything we do.
Click here to learn more.

Listen to Drew Lanham’s Keynote Speech at the 2017 Audubon Convention in Utah

An author, ornithologist, and professor of ecology and conservation at Clemson University, Lanham spoke on the importance of inclusiveness and diversity in birding, among other themes.

Spotlight on Birds Facing Extinction

Spoon‐billed Sandpiper
Spoon-billed Sandpiper: Photo by Butterfly Hunter/Shutterstock

A newly released study paints a dire picture about the global extinction of wildlife. It says the extinction rate is likely much higher than previously thought and is eroding nature’s ability to provide vital services to people. The researchers found that 515 species of land vertebrates have populations of 1,000 or fewer individuals. Birds account for 65 percent of the total — 335 species. This article in BirdWatching magazine spotlights a handful of them.

June 3, 2020

Beach Birds Need Space This Summer

Least Tern coastal nests are often disturbed by beach-goers.  Share the Shore!
As beaches, islands, and sandbars attract people to our beautiful waterfronts, beach visitors and boaters can help make beaches safer for nesting birds by avoiding areas close to their nesting sites. In some locations, signs and fencing is installed that informs people about the presence of sensitive nesting birds and to give beach nesting birds their space. Shorebirds, skimmers, terns, plovers, oystercatchers, and other species are nesting now and need our help to improve their nesting success.
A Least Tern tends its chicks on their beach nest.

May 28, 2020

Is It Okay to Remove Cowbird Eggs
From Host Nests?

It can be tempting to interfere with these brood parasites. But there are many reasons—legal and behavioral—to leave tampering to the pros. Read more HERE.

Wednesday, May 27

National Audubon Response to
Central Park Incident

In response to an incident in Central Park’s Ramble that went viral on Twitter, the National Audubon Society issued the following statement:

“Black Americans often face terrible daily dangers in outdoor spaces, where they are subjected to unwarranted suspicion, confrontation, and violence,” said Audubon Senior VP for State Programs Rebeccah Sanders, who is white. “The outdoors – and the joy of birds – should be safe and welcoming for all people. That’s the reality Audubon and our partners are working hard to achieve. We unequivocally condemn racist sentiments, behavior, and systems that undermine the humanity, rights, and freedom of Black people. We are grateful Christian Cooper is safe. He takes great delight in sharing New York City’s birds with others and serves as a board member of the New York City Audubon Society, where he promotes conservation of New York City’s outdoor spaces and inclusion of all people.”

May 20, 2020

What to do if you find a
Baby Bird on the Ground

During the spring and summer, wildlife refuges, parks, zoos, and veterinary clinics across the country are presented with a problem. People working in their yards, walking on trails, or visiting other outdoor sites find a baby bird that cannot yet fly. It seems apparent that there are no adult birds tending to the youngster, so people immediately assume that the bird needs help. So they scoop up the bird, put it in a cardboard box, and bring it to the nearest facility they can think of to save the youngster. Sadly, this act of kindness probably does more harm than good. Bexar Audubon Society and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service want to help you be prepared and know how to handle this situation for the best possible results.

Click HERE for more information. Click HERE for a handy reference flowchart to help your know what to do.
Click HERE to contact the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Emergency Hot Line in the San Antonio Area.

May 19, 2020

Interesting Research Questions Arising from Current Situation

One of the first things people noticed were the birds.

Once the stay-at-home orders were in place and the sounds of traffic and business dimmed, the birds seemed louder. There seemed to be more of them. But is this really the case?

“There are some really interesting questions along the lines of, ‘What if you had the opportunity to take away people from this place?’” says Andrew Farnsworth a research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, who specializes in bird migration. “Now there’s some chances to think about it – if people are smart about the way they ask the questions.”

Read the whole article HERE.

The San Antonio River Authority is hosting the agency’s 7th Annual Environmental Film Fest – Online Edition

The San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) is hosting the agency’s 7th Annual Environmental Film Fest to help commemorate National Rivers Month in June. This year, the fest will be streamed online as a way to allow everyone an opportunity to enjoy these entertaining and thought-provoking short films from the comfort and safety of their homes.

The film fest will be free to the public, but registration is required to access the films. To find out more, view the trailer, and register, click HERE.


May 17, 2020

NEW BIRD BOOKS!

Bird Love: The Family Life of Birds by Wenfei Tong

A stunningly illustrated look at the mating and parenting lives of the world’s birds

Bird Love looks at the extraordinary range of mating systems in the avian world, exploring all the stages from courtship and nest-building to protecting eggs and raising chicks. It delves into the reasons why some species, such as the Wattled Jacana, rely on males to do all the childcare, while others, such as cuckoos and honeyguides, dump their eggs in the nests of others to raise. For some birds, reciprocal promiscuity pays off: both male and female Dunnocks will rear the most chicks by mating with as many partners as possible. For others, long-term monogamy is the only way to ensure their offspring survive.

Wenfei Tong is an expert on the evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology of birds, but she is also a born naturalist, a talented writer, and a gifted photographer. Her love and enthusiasm for the subject is clear and infectious, and she has found a way to communicate a wealth of scholarship about the reproductive behavior of these charismatic animals to a broad audience.


Birdsong For the Curious Naturalist: Your Guide to Listening
by Donald Kroodsma

From a leading expert, Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist is a basic, how-to guide that teaches anyone—from beginner to advanced birder—how to listen. In understandable and appealing language, Kroodsma explains why and how birds sing, what various calls mean, and what to listen for from the birds around us. The descriptions are accompanied by color photos of the birds, as well as QR codes that link to an online collection of more than 700 recordings. With these resources, readers are prepared to recognize bird sounds and the birds that make them.

Kroodsma encourages readers to find the joy of birdsong and curiosity—to observe, listen intently, be curious, ask questions, and realize that many unanswered questions about birdsong don’t have to rely on scientists for answers but can be answered by any curious naturalist.


What it’s Like to be a Bird by David Allen Sibley

BirdWatching magazine recently interviewed field guide author and illustrator David Allen Sibley about his new large-format publication called “What It’s Like to be a Bird,” featuring more than 200 species and 330 illustrations, appealing to birders and non-birders alike. Read the interview here. Author Sibley says of his new work, “I always learn a lot about a subject when I work on a book, which makes me confident that I’m producing a book that other people will also learn from. My favorite part is when I can pull together bits of information from many different sources and present them in a unified way, connecting them across categories and making complex ideas understandable.” Sibley recently wrote a newspaper article based on this book that you can read here.


The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman

Jennifer Ackerman, author of the New York Times bestseller “The  Genius of Birds,” has a new book, “The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think.”  The book investigates the bird way of being and the recent scientific research that is dramatically shifting our understanding of birds, including how they live and how they think.

The CBS Morning show highlighted Jennifer Ackerman’s book on May 16 in a piece that also discussed how birdwatching is helping people in lock down rediscover nature from their own yards. The report was well done and worth a view HERE.


How Birds Work by Marianne Taylor

Learn the answers to all kinds of questions about bird behavior and characteristics in Marianne Taylor’s new book, “How Birds Work: An Illustrated Guide to the Wonders of Form and Function―from Bones to Beak.” From the publisher: “How Birds Work goes beyond the  typical field guide to show us not only what birds look like but why. Why do many owls have asymmetrical ear openings? (Hint: It helps them pinpoint prey; see page 40.) And why does the Grey Heron rest on one leg at a time? (Hint: Not because it’s tired; see page 66!) Birds boast a spectacular array of adaptations suited to their incredibly diverse diets and habitats. In this in-depth handbook, discover the ways they’re even more astounding than you know—inside and out.


May 15, 2020

International Crane Foundation
“From the Field” Webinar Series

Join International Crane Foundation (ICF) staff for their weekly live webinar series “From the Field” on Thursdays beginning at 11 a.m. Central Time. You can see the list of upcoming and past webinars in this series HERE. The webinar recordings are available online on the ICF YouTube Channel after the event.

We especially recommend that you watch the recent presentation by ICF Rich Beilfuss, President and CEO:

Cranes, Climate Change, and COVID-19: Lessons for Saving a Beloved Family of Birds, Ourselves, and Our World 

Understanding the serious threat of global warming to cranes and the wild places they depend on helps us better understand how our changing climate will affect people and wildlife on a global scale. The COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us that if we wait to see the full impact of a crisis before taking action, it is much more difficult and costly to stop it. 


May 13, 2020

Nature’s Best Hope

In this YouTube video, Dr. Doug Tallamy discusses simple steps that each of us can-and must-take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope.

Click HERE to listen to this informative, inspirational talk.

Click HERE to order the book by the same name, which outlines Dr. Tallamy’s vision for a grassroots approach to conservation.


It’s Stinging Caterpillar Season:
Look But Don’t Touch!

Spring foliage brings on an abundance of caterpillars, a few of which carry irritating or even venomous hairs. A good rule of thumb: If a caterpillar looks “fuzzy,” don’t touch it. Click HERE to read more about the caterpillars you might contact while out birding that you do not want to touch.

Puss caterpillar. (AgriLife photo by Wizzie Brown) of southern flannel moth

April 29, 2020

American Bird Conservancy
Webinar Series Now on YouTube

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has made all of its recent webinars available on its YouTube Channel for all of us to access.

Click HERE to view the current series of six webinars on a variety of topics related to bird conservation, from preventing window strikes to enjoying birds from your window.