• Lights Out Northeast Florida

    Rose breasted GrosbeakEvery year, billions of birds fly thousands of miles as they migrate north to their breeding grounds in the spring and south to their wintering grounds in the fall. Migration is one of the most dangerous times in a bird’s life. They encounter many hazards as they travel: predators, bad weather, stopover habitat destruction due to development, food availability disruptions due to climate change, and more.

    One of the biggest threats to migrating birds, especially to songbirds since they primarily migrate at night, is brightly lit windows and buildings. Bright lighting at night can cause birds to become disoriented and confused, often causing deadly collisions with buildings and windows. In addition, lights can throw birds way off their migration paths, resulting in exhaustion and vulnerability to predators. The American Bird Conservancy estimates that up to a billion birds are killed each year by collisions with glass windows.

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  • Many Voices for Conservation and the Environment: Robin Wall Kimmerer

    Continuing our series focused on the contributions of Black Americans, Latin Americans, Native Americans, and other historically under-recognized groups to conservation and environmental sciences, since October 12th is Indigenous Peoples Day, it is only right to focus this month on an indigenous steward of the environment.

    Kimmerer BioRobin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potowatomi Nation. She lives in Fabius, New York (near my hometown of Syracuse) where she is a SUNY (State University of New York) Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology.

    She has written two excellent books which I highly recommend: Gathering Moss, which was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. and Braiding Sweetgrass, which I am happy to report has been on the NY Times Best Seller List for nonfiction. Braiding Sweetgrass is an exquisite collections of essays about the natural world which shows how the objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. I encourage everyone to read this book as she writes so beautifully about nature. It also illustrates the true reverence between Native Americans and the earth, which is a relationship we all need to practice if we are to survive.

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  • Native Plants for Birds

    To help you create bird friendly habitat in your landscape, we are continuing our monthly series featuring a native plant that is beneficial to birds and pollinators.

    Walters Viburnum watermark CBW IMG 20200222 103809

    This month's plant is: Walter’s Viburnum (Viburnum obovatum)

    Walter’s Viburnum honors a colonial botanist named Thomas Walter (1740-1789). Thomas Walter was an English born planter who described this species in his catalog of South Carolina flowering plants, Flora Caroliniana. It grows along the southeastern American coastal plain from South Carolina down to central Florida and back up to Alabama. It can be found in acidic moist woods, near streams, or in swamps.

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  • Autumn Means Back to School - And Migrating Birds!

    Kid in treehouse using binoculars PP stock photoThis year, back to school for students has been anything but the same ol’ migration back into classrooms, but seasonal lessons are still available even if they’re not from a school text or a formal classroom discussion. Keep your student engaged with outdoor fall activities such as backyard birding, trail hikes through local parks, and shore excursions to view the multitude of migrating birds making their way south before the cold weather hits.

    Autumn is currently in full swing on the First Coast, with a dramatic fall migration upon the state of Florida that includes everything from shorebirds to songbirds. Even though many birds, including shorebirds like plovers and sandpipers, make their way to points further south, many stop along the way to feed and recharge here in Northeast Florida. Songbirds such as warblers, grosbeaks, and thrushes join the southern trek this month, while year-round residents like cardinals and doves don’t migrate, yet still find full feeders and fresh water helpful for their survival. Autumn is a great time to see many birds at the feeder, making their way to warmer areas while the temperatures in most of the country begin to drop. Luckily, the First Coast is the perfect place for birders of any age to enjoy migrating birds as well as year-round residents!

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  • Upcoming Activities

    Jacksonville Arboretum Path watermark Martha MazzaAs we announced previously, no group outings or indoor gatherings are planned for this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are still plenty of fun and informative events on tap! Here's what's coming up for October:

     

    You can also take advantage of a wide array of fabulous, FREE online programs available from Audubon, Audubon Florida, the American Bird Conservancy, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. And you can watch them on YOUR schedule, anytime you like! Below are some of our favorite recent programs:

     

    These are just a few of the many free programs available online. They are posted on several different platforms, so check their websites (links above), look for them on YouTube, and follow them on Facebook to find more fascinating and informative online programs!