• The Great Backyard Bird Count 2017

     

    Nineteen years and still growing! The Great Backyard Bird Count was launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. It was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. It has now become a global event.

    You may ask why is this important and what is the data collected used for? Scientists have several tools to determine what is happening to bird populations. The data we collect over the years is one of those tools. It shows how a species’ range expands or shrinks over time. A decline in populations can signal that something has changed with their habitat and habitat that we all rely on. It’s important that we pay attention to these changes since they are closely tied to our environmental health.

    The count begins on February 17th through the 20th. You can count anywhere, not just your backyard. Count the birds you see for a least 15 minutes. Then enter your totals online. If you haven’t participated before, you’ll need to create an free online account. For detailed information, go to birdcount.org. Have fun and know that you are participating in a valuable citizen-science project.

    If you want to join an organized field trip, come to Cedar Point Preserve on the 19th.

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  • Florida is growing in leaps and bounds, more than one million more people now than in 2010! It’s hard to miss all the new development. For us and the birds and wildlife, it is our responsibility to ensure that new development happens in the most environmentally safe way possible. Duval Audubon Society will try to keep you informed of related current issues and how you can make your voice heard.

    While you may get alerts from organizations asking you to sign petitions, calling or emailing your representative is much more effective. A call is the best and only takes a minute. You only need to identify yourself and indicate if you support or don’t support the issue involved. If it is a particular bill, the number of the bill should be noted.

    To find out who represents you in government, link to the following websites:

     U.S. House www.house.gov/representatives/find/

                  U.S. Senate www.senate.gov/senators         

     Florida House www.myfloridahouse.gov

                  Florida Senate www.flsenate.gov/senators/find              

     Jacksonville City Council member City Council members

                  Mayor Lenny Curry www.coj.net/mayor-curry.aspx

                  Nassau County Commissioners www.nassaucountyfl.com

                  Clay County Commissioners www.claycountygov.com/about-us/board-of-county-commissioners

    Pending issues:

    Please encourage your Sate Senator to SUPPORT SB 10. This bill authorizes the purchase of land to use for overflow when Lake Okeechobee is full. This land would prevent polluted fresh water from being sent to sea via the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries. When this happened in 2016 it resulted in a massive, toxic blue-green algae bloom. See your current Audubon Naturalist magazine or visit fl.audubon.org for further details.

     
  • Road Show of 2016's Best Avian Photography Coming!

    Roadshow of 2016’s Best Avian Photography Coming to Duval and St. Johns County Wild Birds Unlimited Stores.

    Mark your calendars for this exhibit! Visit the Wild Birds Unlimited Store, Julington Village in Fruit Cove between February 24th and March 4th and the Jacksonville Beach store in the South Beach Regional Shopping Center at the beach end of Butler Boulevard between March 6th and March 16th to walk among the winning bird photographs from this year’s Audubon Photography Awards and learn more about your local birdlife. Selected from over 7,000 entries—submitted from all 50 states, DC, and Canada—the winning photos were published in the May/June 2016 issue of Audubon magazine. A panel of five judges had the daunting task of sifting through the stunning images and grading them based on technical quality, originality and artistic merit.

    Each store is planning a special event around the exhibit. Wild Birds Unlimited at the beaches and Duval Audubon are planning an event on Saturday, March 11. Details to be announced soon. The St. Johns County Audubon Chapter will be hosting a reception at the Fruit Cove store on Monday, February 27 @ 6:30pm to highlight these photos, provide information about the local chapter and its activities, and provide advice on nature photography.

    Grand Prize Winner, Bonnie Block; Bald Eagle and Great Blue Herons

     

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  • 3rd Annual CBC4Kids Was For the Birds!

    Kids were getting in on the Christmas Bird Count when Duval Audubon held its 3rd Annual CBC4Kids (Christmas Bird Count For Kids).  Participants began by learning birding basics in a Binocular Boot Camp. Then they moved on to hit the trails with experienced birders to count as many birds they could in one hour. 

    Despite a cold and windy day, 36 children along with about 40 adults spotted over 200 birds and 26 different species.  Highlights included a pair of Bald Eagles, a Barred Owl, a Red Shouldered Hawk, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Pied-billed Grebes, Yellow-throated Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Northern Flickers.  After tallying their findings, the children were treated to a program by the Jacksonville Zoo’s WILD Ambassadors.  The Ambassadors introduced the children to a box turtle, armadillo, amazon parrot and a boa constrictor.  Wild Birds Unlimited of Julington Creek and Publix provided the kids with refreshments and supplies.

     

     

     

     

     

    The annual event is held each year at Camp Chowenwaw and is geared toward 8–16 year olds; although younger children still enjoy the day. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    CBC4Kids is modeled after the centuries old Audubon Christmas Bird Count and celebrates nature, parks, education and outdoor family fun.  A huge thanks to all of our volunteers and sponsors, Camp Chowenwaw, the WILD Ambassadors, Wild Bird Unlimited of Julington Creek and Publix. You helped make this year a wonderful success!

     

     
  • Let's Go to Trinidad in 2017!

    In celebration of Asa Wright Nature Centre's 50th anniversary, they are offering to donate $100 to our chapter when anyone books a trip to Asa Wright Nature Centre in 2017 through Caligo Ventures. They offer guided group tours, independent birding ventures or relaxing lodge stays. They are having special anniversary tours featuring 'birding celebrities' throughout the year. You can go during one of those weeks or anytime during the year. Just remember to mention you would like the donation to go to Duval Audubon Society. For more information on booking your trip, go to caligo.com

    Asa Wright Nature Centre has a rich history with Audubon. In 1967, visionary Audubon members rallied behind three influential people who had a dream. Renowned wildlife artist Don Eckelberry, prominent ornithologist and conservationist Erma Fisk and Russell Mason of Florida Audubon Society joined forces to make their dream become reality. Donors around the country helped them purchase the Spring Hill estate in the rainforest and the famous Oilbird cave thus creating the first non-profit, conservation focused trust and eco-lodge in the Carribean.

    To get a sense of what you might see, take a look at one of our member's photos from a visit over New Year's last year. Trinidad and Tobago

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  • Pete Johnson receives Grimes Environmental Award for 2016

    Congratulations to our own Pete Johnson, this year's recipient of the Grimes Foundation Environmental Award. This award is presented annually by the Grimes Foundation and Duval Audubon Society to a deserving individual who has worked to make our environment and community a better place. Pete Johnson has devoted much effort over the years into conserving and improving habitat at our now 510 acre preserve in Orange Park, Florida. We are grateful for his efforts.

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                                                                                                Carol Grimes presenting the award - photo courtesy of Carol Bailey-White

     
  • Retiring Board Member, Carole Adams, Recognized For Her Leadership With Audubon

    CAdamsWainwrightCarole Adams, a longtime board member of Duval Audubon, was recognized at our monthly program meeting on November 21st, 2016 for her dedication and leadership to our chapter and Audubon’s mission.

    Carole’s ‘spark bird’ was a Northern Cardinal which she recorded at the young age of ten while a Junior Audubon member living in Kansas with her grandparents. Fast forward twenty years and she found herself getting serious about birding and Audubon - so serious that she gave up being a passive member and became education chair of her local Audubon chapter in New York. It didn’t end there, however, and she became a board member and served two terms as chapter president. In June 1996 she received the Meritorious Service Award from the Council of New York State and the National Audubon Society.

    After taking an early retirement from the New York State Office of Mental Health, she moved to Jacksonville in 1997. Carole says she had no intention of getting actively involved with the local Audubon chapter. She held out for a little over six months! Since that time she has been on the board of Duval Audubon serving in various capacities from Education Chair to President. In addition, she has been a Director on the Audubon of Florida Board.

    Carole notes that there have been environmental challenges as well as many rewarding experiences during her years with the Duval Audubon Society. In September, 2003 she was presented the Barbara Stephens Award by the Civic Round Table of Jacksonville in recognition of her valuable contributions to the Jacksonville community. In December, 2009 she was the recipient of the Carol and Bob Grimes Environmental Award. November of 2010 garnered a Presidential Recognition by the National Audubon Society Board of Directors for Outstanding Service and Dedication. She was featured in the April 2009 issue of "Water's Edge" magazine and has given countless workshops. Her “Birding 101” was a popular draw as well as her “Owl Prowls”.

    Her citizen science activities included shorebird monitoring. In May 2009 while conducting a routine shorebird survey at Huguenot Memorial Park with Lesley Royce and Doris Leary, she had the most exciting shorebird experience of her life. It was the discovery and identification of a Greater Sand Plover, an Asian bird that somehow made its way to the beach in Jacksonville. The sighting of this vagrant made only the second western hemisphere record and a first for the state of Florida. Birding doesn't get much more exciting and rewarding than that! The moral of this story is keep birding because you never know what you might see!