• Global Big Day a Success for the Northeast Florida Young Birders Club!

     

    Here’s the latest from Marie Chappell of the Northeast Florida Young Birders Club, on their 2016 Global Big Day outing. Please mark your calendar for the 18th for their next birding adventure!

    The 2016 Global Big Day—May 14th—was the biggest big day in all of birding history so far, with the most bird species seen in one day. The members of Cornell’s Team Sapsucker were by no means the only birders out there; others included well-seasoned birders, casual birders, avid birders, beginning birders, and young birders.

    The Northeast Florida Young Birders Club participated as well. Some of the Club’s members started their Big Day after eight o’clock in the morning; others started before six (okay, I’ll admit it, that was me). But whatever time we started, it certainly turned out to be a memorable day!

    Huguenot Memorial Park was our first stop as a group. We birded with the Duval Audubon Society and had the pleasure of meeting and learning from their trip leader, Judy Jeffas, Joan and Richard Becker and other Audubon members. Of course, there was no lack of birds! Thousands of nesting Laughing Gulls screamed from the dunes. About a dozen Black Scoters snoozed and preened on the sand bars. A young Great Black-backed Gull eyed us suspiciously as we attempted to identify it. An unusual Pectoral Sandpiper showed up amidst some Dunlins. Even a gorgeous American Oystercatcher pair offered great views (although we never did see their chick). As the young birders club left for their next destination, the trip ended with a happy 33 species.

    For more of the story with photos of their Big Day, please click here!

     

     
  • Crosby Sanctuary Kiosk at North Entrance!

    From our Crosby Sanctuary Director, Pete Johnson: A big thanks goes out to Brian Christ of Boy Scout Troop 321 for his Eagle Scout project at Crosby Sanctuary! He and his fellow scouts installed a new kiosk at the north entrance to the Crosby Sanctuary in Orange Park last weekend. Not only did he install the kiosk, but he planned, fund-raised and directed all aspects of the project. Brian showed great dedication and leadership in completing this project!! At the final Crosby Work Day (May 28) before summer break we will put some info on the kiosk and do some trail maintenance into the sanctuary.

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  • Call for Volunteers: Shorebird Stewards Needed!

    Do you like the beach? Do you want to help our coastal wildlife survive? Be a part of the statewide effort to help protect Florida’s beach-nesting shorebirds.

    It’s that time of year again when Florida’s vulnerable shorebirds are nesting on our beaches and Shorebird Stewards are needed. Did you know beach-nesting birds like Black Skimmers, American Oystercatchers, Laughing Gulls, and Royal Terns lay their eggs on top of the sand and raise their young on our local beaches?

    While they are adapted to survive this harsh environment of sun, sand, and salt with protection from their parents, chicks and eggs struggle to survive when beach-goers inadvertently flush parents from their nests. Left exposed to the harsh sun and predators, one disturbance can spell disaster for these vulnerable chicks. Weekends, especially long holiday weekends, can be disastrous for nesting shorebirds and seabirds since the level of disturbance from people, pets, and vehicles is often higher than usual. Under these circumstances, signs posted around nesting areas may not be enough to keep them protected from disturbance; this is when Bird Stewards are especially important.

    During their volunteer shifts, Shorebird Stewards keep a watchful eye on nesting areas and work to minimize disturbances by educating recreationists about these vulnerable shorebirds. While doing this important work, Shorebird Stewards can also enjoy up-close-and-personal looks at the fascinating behaviors of these nesting birds, not to mention having a fun day at the beach!

    Shorebird Stewarding opportunities are available at several beach locations in Northeast Florida:

    Amelia Island Plantation

    Amelia Island State Park

    Little Talbot Island State Park

    Huguenot Memorial Park

    Anastasia State Park

    Fort Matanzas National Monument

    Summer Haven

    If you would like to become a Shorebird Steward and help ensure the survival of these wonderful shorebirds,

    • contact Audubon Florida’s shorebird stewarding coordinator Chris Farrell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (904) 325-9940, and
    • sign up for the upcoming Shorebird Stewarding Training Session at Huguenot Memorial Park on May 19, 2016 by contacting JaxParks Park Naturalist Shelley Beville at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (904) 251-3229.

    And, join Duval Audubon Society for our upcoming field trip at beautiful Huguenot Memorial Park on May 14, 2016!

     
  • On April 2 at The BookMark at Neptune Beach, the Northeast Florida Young Birders Club made its appearance at a very special event—the David Allen Sibley book signing. Mr. Sibley told us about some additions to his new Sibley Birds East (including the parasitic Pin-tailed Whydah, which now breeds in Florida) and overviewed several incredible bird behaviors and mysteries which still fascinate him (do you know exactly where the Chimney Swift winters?).

    And, of course, we had our Sibley books signed. We even got a photo with this nationally-renowned birder and got to ask him a few questions. All in all, we had a great time, and we’re looking forward to the next event together!

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    Speaking of the next event, don't forget the Global Big Day, an international birding extravaganza on May 14th! Meet us with the Duval Audubon Society at Huguenot Memorial Park at 8:00 AM (see Activities > Calendar of Events for more details). We're looking forward to it, and we hope to see you there. 

    Bird on!

     
  • Bird Feeding Tips

     

    It’s that time of year when we hear the returning sounds of some of our favorite birds, like the buzzy trill of Northern Parulas, the whee-eep call of Great Crested Flycatcher or the chee-dits of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Spring is a good time to get our feeders ready for our nesting species as well as migrating birds. Be sure to routinely clean your feeders and bird baths to reduce exposure to disease. Always offer fresh water, particularly as our temperatures begin to rise. A bird bath can be as simple as using a clay saucer on a plant stand.

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    Offering a range of foods will increase your chances of attracting a greater variety of species. Here are some suggestions:

    • Birdseed: Black oil sunflower seed is the most popular and a favorite for many of our resident species. Nyjer or a Finch Blend is also a good choice for migrating American Goldfinch.  
    • Nuts: Peanuts (roasted, unsalted is a good choice)
    • Mealworms: Live mealworms are popular with numerous feeder birds and especially Eastern Bluebirds. Offer these in a container with smooth sides where they can’t crawl out. ‘Giant’ mealworms are not recommended because the larger exoskeleton is not readily digested.
    • Fruit: This time of year wild fruits and berries are minimal so offering orange halves and plain grape jelly in a container will be attractive to fruit specialists, such as Baltimore Oriole.
    • Nectar: For our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, make a solution of one part white sugar to four parts water. Never use artificial sweeteners or honey. It is not necessary to add red food coloring. Boil briefly to dissolve sugar crystals and sterilize. Black spots inside the feeder are mold which can be detrimental to a hummingbird. Wash the feeder every few days with hot water to prevent mold growth.
    • Suet: Because of our warm climate, we recommend a no-melt suet. Buy commercially prepared or try making your own!

    For more bird feeding tips, check out these suggestions from Audubon. Bird feeding tips.

    To download a brochure on bird feeding basics from Audubon, click here.