The Audubon Observer, June 2021
SUMMERTIME VIRTUAL PHOTO SHARING
Since we haven't been able to host in-person get-togethers for more than a year due to the pandemic, we invite you to help us offer the next best thing: a virtual photo sharing experience!
Have you photographed any cool birds this year? We'd love to incorporate them into a slide show of our members' best bird photos captured since June of 2020. Here's how to participate:
Pick up to ten of your best bird photos from the past year, and send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org along with the ID of each bird species, the date and location where the photo was captured, and any additional information you want viewers to know about your photo. We'll compile them all into a video slide show that will showcase our members' photographic talents! (Check out our "Best of Us" Virtual Photo Sharing video to see what our members contributed last year.)
The deadline for submitting your photos for inclusion in our Virtual Photo Sharing project will be Wednesday, June 30, 2021, and we'll have the video slide show ready for your viewing pleasure by July 31st. If you haven't already included your personal watermark on your photos, we'll add your name to each photo to make sure all photos are properly credited to the photographer.
We can't wait to see (and share) your amazing photos! And please feel free to reach out to us with any questions about how to participate.
~ Carol Bailey-White, President
MANY VOICES FOR CONSERVATION AND
Continuing our series focusing on the contributions of historically under-recognized groups to conservation and environmental advocacy, this month we are featuring Tykee James, Government Affairs Coordinator at Audubon and a co-founder of Black Birders Week. During last year's inaugural event, James moderated Audubon's virtual "Birding While Black" conversations with young Black birdwatchers to hear their stories of discovering birds and their unique experiences of birding while Black in America.
Born in Philadelphia, James moved around the country several times with his family, living in Wisconsin, California, and Texas, before returning to his hometown in 2011. Back in Philadelphia, a serious asthma attack triggered concerns about air pollution and the environment, and he began work as a naturalist and public educator at Philadelphia's Cobbs Creek Environmental Center. He also served as an environmental policy advisor to a Pennsylvania State Representative before moving to Washington, DC in 2018.
James joined the staff of the National Audubon Society in December of 2018 and found his passion in organizing bird walks with members of Congress and their staff to share his deep connection with nature and highlight environmental issues on behalf of the Audubon organization. He is also the host of the On Word for Wildlife podcast hosted by the Wildlife Observer Network.
Tykee James is a leading voice for equity and inclusion within the Audubon organization and in the wider birding community. According to Audubon, "James always finds a way to advocate for birds and the environment through the lenses of visibility and racial politics."
We at Duval Audubon Society applaud and support James' efforts to make birding more inclusive, and we are committed to making sure everyone feels welcome at any and all of our activities.
~ Carol Bailey-White
BABY BIRDS MYTHBUSTER
Mythbuster! You can touch baby birds and they won’t be abandoned by their parents! How do I know? When I had to have a huge dead tree in my yard cut down last year, the tree surgeon brought me a log with baby Red-bellied Woodpeckers in it. I had no idea what to do, but I had to get them out of that log because ants were swarming in it. I had never held a bird in my hand, but I reached in and carefully grabbed the two chicks and moved them to a box.
I kept them on my porch for several hours while I decided what to do. I called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wildlife Alert Hotline, and they referred me to a very kind man who offered to raise them, but I also got in touch with former Duval Audubon Society President Lesley Royce and she told me to PUT THEM BACK UP IN THE NEAREST TREE!!
So, I modified a nest box that was in my shed and screwed it into the nearest tree about 12 feet up. I placed rotting wood from the log they had been in (free of ants) in the bottom, since that was what they were used to, then I climbed the ladder with the chicks, laid them gently in their new home and hoped for the best.
By the next day they were calling loudly, and the parents were back and forth feeding them. On the 12th day there was silence. I was worried but afraid to look. On the 13th day I climbed the ladder and found a completely empty nest: they had fledged!
This story had a happy ending, but it could have turned out differently. I'll leave you with two closing thoughts:
~ Carolyn Antman, Conservation Director for Duval County
BOOK REVIEW: ORNITHERAPY
Many articles have been written in the past year about the benefits of being in nature, and more and more people are discovering the joy and wonder of birdwatching. With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping so many working from home and unable to shop in stores, eat in a restaurant, or spend time with family and friends, watching and learning about birds in their natural habitat has become a form of therapy for many, and offers proven mental and physical health benefits.
Now that the COVID vaccines are available, we are hopeful that the pandemic is winding down and things can start returning to normal. But we also hope that folks will continue to be interested in birdwatching and the benefits that come with the hobby. Ornitherapy, a new book by professional birding guide and environmental educator Holly Merker, internationally acclaimed birder, photographer and award winning author Richard Crossley, and adventure blogger (and Richard's daughter) Sophie Crossley, is a wonderful companion to the hobby that can help birdwatchers better connect to birds and nature in a more mindful way.
Ornitherapy is not a bird identification guide. In fact, readers don't need to know much of anything about birds in order to get the most out of the book. It's designed to be used as a gentle guide to observing birds and nature, and incorporates exploration and meditation sections that inspire readers to discover bird behavior, habitats, family life, appearance, sounds, and special abilities through deliberate and mindful observation. The book also has a section with room for journaling to encourage readers to improve their skills by taking notes on their observations and reflections.
The explorations, meditations and journaling pages provide much food for thought and motivation for careful observation, and it's all beautifully written and illustrated on nearly every page with gorgeous photographs. Plus, the binding is a work of art in itself. Someone took great care to make sure the book is easy to use - it lays flat and stays open to the page you're on; no fussing with trying to keep it open when you're out in the field and need your hands to hold your binoculars or camera (or just don't want to have to hold a book in your hands the whole time).
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their observation skills and enhance the richness of their nature experience. You can order the book directly on the Ornitherapy website. Enjoy!
~ Carol Bailey-White
Our chapter is on summer break!
During the months of June, July, and August, your Duval Audubon Society chapter leaders will use that time to plan activities for the upcoming 2021/2022 season starting in September. With the COVID-19 vaccines now available, we are optimistic that we'll be able to once again host regular in-person outings to great birding spots in Clay, Duval, and Nassau counties (and beyond). And we are definitely planning to continue offering our Open House events at our Crosby Sanctuary conservation property in Orange Park on the fourth Saturday of every month (except December) to provide more opportunities for folks to experience this beautiful preserve.
In addition, we will also use the summer months to continue working with our Lights Out Northeast Florida partners St. Johns County Audubon Society and The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to plan our volunteer-driven data collection efforts and public information campaign for the fall 2021 migration season.
We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead. Hope you have a fabulous summer!
Even though we're on break this month, there are still some great events happening in June:
See you in September!
Duval Audubon Society, Inc.