• Have you heard? 2018 is the Year of the Bird!

    National Geographic in collaboration with Audubon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Life International is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that has saved so many birds but is currently under attack at the national level. Additionally, more than 100 other organizations that work to protect birds and their habitat have joined the campaign. Each month these organizations will feature stories about birds, conservation efforts and how you can help. Read about why birds matter. Take the pledge and then #BirdYourWorld!

    What can you do to participate in Year of the Bird this month? Plant bird friendly plants! Birds often rely on plants in our yards, balconies, and other spaces for habitat and food and the best plants to provide this are those native to your area. To know the best plants for your area, search Audubon’s native plants database by your zip code. You can even search based on the birds you want to attract and the type of plants you want in your garden. By growing the best bird-friendly plants for your area, you will attract and protect the birds you love while making your space beautiful, easy to care for, and better for the environment—and this month is the perfect time to get started. Learn more and find your plants here.

     
  • Sign up for The Advocate!

    Sign up for The Advocate, a once-a week publication by Audubon Florida during the Florida Legislative session that will keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in the Florida government concerning conservation.  Bills being introduced in the House and Senate, and the Audubon take on these bills are discussed as are any measures you can do to help influence your Legislators.  Sign up now by going to fl.audubon.org. Enter your email address at the botom of their home page.  The Advocate will come directly to your email every Friday.

     
  • 2017 Grimes Environmental Award

    Congratulations to Duval Audubon Society Board Member Carol Bailey-White, recipient of the 2017 Bob and Carol Grimes Foundation Environmental Award! The Bob and Carol Grimes Foundation for the Environment was established in 2006 to honor the memory of Robert G. “Bob” Grimes (1928-2001), a Jacksonville insurance executive who was active in The Audubon Society and volunteered for many local environment issues.

    Grimes Award 2017 group

    (L-R: Duval Audubon Society President Jody Willis, Board Member Emeritus Carole A. Adams, Carol Bailey-White, Carol Grimes.)

     
  • Tips for Identifying Sparrows

     

    It is sparrow season in Northeast Florida. They're small, plump and generally brown. Lest you refer to them as LBJ's (little brown jobs), here are a few tips in identifying some species you may encounter this winter. For starters, note if the breast is clear or streaked. Generally, adult sparrows in our area with little to no streaking on the breast could be Chipping, White-throated, White-crowned, Bachman's, Field, and Grasshopper. Sparrows with streaked breasts could be Savannah, Song, Swamp, Vesper, Henslow's, Lincoln's and Le Conte's. Another key to consider is does the sparrow have an eye ring? Vesper is a good example. Consider habitat. A Swamp Sparrow would not be found in a field. Likewise, a Field Sparrow would not be found in a wet, swampy area. Another clue is whether or not the sparrow is solitary or seen with others. Savannah and Chipping Sparrows are often seen with others. Henslow's and Lincoln's (if you're fortunate enough to see one) will likely be solitary. Here are a couple of documents prepared by Adam Kent to assist with identification. One is sparrow identification. Head patterns should also be considered. Does the sparrow have dark whiskers or stripes on the crown? Here is a link to Sparrow head topography.

    For our wintering marsh sparrows, Nelson's and Saltmarsh, here is a link to a photo essay by the American Birding Association: https://www.aba.org/nab/v65n2sparrows.pdf

    Some members of Duval Audubon recently helped with St. Augustine's annual Christmas Bird Count. Members of Laura Johannsen's team were treated to great views of a Lincoln's Sparrow.

    Lincolns Sparrow Wainwright StAugustine

     

     
  • Please note dates for our next two exciting programs!

    Our programs are normally held the third Monday of the month. However, our December and January programs are the exception. The December program “Eyes on the Sparrow: Innovations in Conservation at White Oak” will be held on Tuesday, December 19th. It will be a fascinating discussion of White Oak's conservation programs with a focus on their role in the collaborative effort of saving the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow.

    Our January program “Birds of Paradise, Jewel-babblers and Paradise Kingfishers - birding New Guinea!” will be on Monday, January 22nd.

    Both are listed on our Calendar of Events on this site. We hope you can join us at Charles M. Neviaser Educational Institute of Community Hospice & Palliative Care, 4266 Sunbeam Rd. #100, Jacksonville, Fl. 32257 for both of these programs.

     
  • Urgent Threat to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge still urgently needs your help. Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on opening up the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas exploration as a way to generate revenue for the federal tax plan. We must continue to spread the message that this iconic American treasure, which is home to 200 species of birds, should not be opened to exploration.  For a more in-depth look at the issue, click here. To send an urgent letter to your members of Congress, asking them to oppose efforts to open the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling, click here.

     
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    Young Birder Goes to Camp!

    As part of our Youth Initiatives Program, Duval Audubon sponsored a teen, Samantha Jones, to attend Camp TALON’s 2017 summer session. Camp TALON ((Teen Adventures Learning Ornithology and Nature), located in Georgia, focuses on improving one’s birding skills and knowledge of coastal ecology.  Samantha, who is also a member of our Northeast Florida Young Birders Club, reports the following about her experience:

    As a birder, we can all relate to the feeling of wanting to go anywhere and everywhere to spot every bird known to man. When I found out about the opportunity to go birdwatching for six days with other teenagers with the same interest, I didn’t hesitate to look further into it. Although it was my first time joining a group for an overnight stay (more like a week-long stay), I think it’s safe to say that I was excited to learn more about ornithology.

    Finally, the day had come for me to begin the trek to Epworth by the Sea in southern Georgia, where I would be staying with several other campers. When I got there, I was happily greeted by the two camp counselors, Mrs. Julie Duncan and Mr. Bob Sargent, who would take us to multiple nature preserves throughout Georgia. Needless to say, the camp itself was spectacular, with excellent food and friendly employees.

    Those six days were spent traveling to different parks like Little St. Simons Island, Sapelo Island, Harris Neck NWR, and other different habitats. Many birds, common and rare, were seen at the different places. Some of the most notable ones were Yellow-breasted Chat, Wilson’s Plover, and Osprey.

    To my pleasure, not only did we birdwatch, but Mr. Sargent shared his extensive knowledge on other organisms from plants to marine creatures that inhabited the Eastern coast.

    Alligator S Jones

     

    We also had a guest speaker join our hikes and teach us in-depth about ecology and how every organism has its place in nature.

    Camp Talon composite S Jones