The Audubon Observer, September 2023
CHAPTER LEADERSHIP NEWS
With the torch passing from Carol Bailey-White to Richard Egan as the incoming President of Duval Audubon Society, we mark a new chapter in our organization with many new faces and renewed purposes. Pete Johnson accepts the role of Vice President within the organization while he continues to oversee Duval Audubon Society’s beautiful North Florida cypress swamp, Crosby Sanctuary. We welcome Jamie de Nisco as Recording Secretary and Social Media Director while Helen Kehrt continues to provide her amazing skills as Treasurer.
We also welcome Paul Grybb as an at-large board member providing his conservation expertise and Clay County experience. Former at-large board member Jessica Dyszel takes over as the new Field Trips Director. Nora Bertacchi enthusiastically joins as Corresponding Secretary. Kate Zeray with her fun and exciting spirit offers her skills for Education/Youth Outreach. Kim Lamb is our new Programs Director and is also part of the core team for our Lights Out Northeast Florida initiative. Dedicated longtime board member Johnna Bellen continues wonderfully assisting us with Community Outreach, Christine Lucas continues her fantastic work managing Memberships, Elizabeth Filippelli continues her passionate conservation work in Duval County, including serving on the core team for Lights Out Northeast Florida, and Andrew Schumann continues his dedicated work with Nassau County conservation issues.
This incredibly hard-working team continues to serve you all, providing the great community opportunities, information and resources, field trips, and programs that you have come to enjoy. And while no longer a board member, former President Carol Bailey-White is still active and supporting our mission as she continues to edit our monthly newsletter and contributes social media updates. We continue our goal of connecting people with nature, conserving and restoring natural ecosystems, and focusing on birds and other wildlife with the desire of building strong, lasting community partnerships and relationships so that we can continue bringing the joys of birds and other wildlife to future generations. We welcome everyone to join us, and if you have any skills or talents you would like to share, consider volunteering as a board member. We are still looking for someone to take on the role of Volunteer Director. If this is something you'd be interested in, please fill out our board application, and we will get back to you soon with next steps.
We look forward to continuing to serve Clay, Duval, and Nassau counties today and into the future, and thank everyone who contributes their time, effort, and donations that make this all possible.
~ Jessica Dyszel, Field Trips Director
CROSBY SANCTUARY UPDATE
Another summer passes by at our Crosby Sanctuary. As we look toward the upcoming fall migration season, let’s look back at this summer’s breeding season at Crosby. On her June 23 eBird checklist, Jessica Dyszel astutely recorded breeding bird behavior by Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren and Prothonotary Warbler. The hummingbirds were gathering nest material and building nests! The titmice were observed feeding their young and a recently fledged wren was observed. A total of 8 Prothonotary Warblers were observed that day, four young being fed and four adults! Other species that also potentially nested at Crosby over the summer include Black-crowned Night Heron and Yellow-throated Warbler.
Crosby is known to provide important breeding habitat for these and numerous other species, such as Red-shouldered Hawk, Common Yellowthroat, Barred Owl, Red-eyed Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Great-crested Flycatcher, Limpkin, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, and Downy Woodpecker. These are the gems of our sanctuary, our babies to nurture by stewarding the land with care and love.
Our monthly Crosby workdays and open house days will be held on the third and fourth Saturdays of each month, respectively, from September 2023 through May 2024. The details are published on our website as well as our Meetup site. Our first open house on September 23rd will also include a hawk watch to be led by our neighborhood expert birder Jessica Dyszel. We’ll be looking for raptors such as the uncommon Short-tailed Hawk, which are known to inhabit the area.
As members of Duval Audubon, this is our land to enjoy and cherish. Please come visit the Crosby Sanctuary! Opportunities abound to volunteer and work, or just come walk the trails and enjoy nature in this truly special place.
~ Pete Johnson, Vice President and Crosby Sanctuary Director
LIGHTS OUT FOR BIRDS THIS FALL
Fall migration is upon us, a time when millions of songbirds travel through the Northeast Florida area, either on their way to their non-breeding territories further south, or arriving to spend the winter with us. Migration is the most dangerous time in a bird's life, as they face potentially deadly weather conditions, loss of important stopover habitat due to development, dangerous predators, and collisions with reflective buildings and windows as they make their way through unfamiliar urban and suburban areas. As we've reported before, as many as 1 billion birds die every year from collisions with buildings, according to the National Audubon Society.
One thing we can all do to help save the lives of migrating birds is turn off unnecessary lighting at night during peak migration season (September through November). Most songbirds migrate at night and navigate by the light of the stars, but bright nighttime lighting can divert them away from their normal migration flight path and into areas where they can easily collide with a reflective building or window. And it's not just hi-rise buildings in downtown areas, either; the American Bird Conservancy estimates that about half of the bird deaths from window collisions happen at private homes. Simply turning off unnecessary lighting at night means more migrating birds can make their journey safely.
The other piece of this puzzle is to reduce window reflections to prevent birds from colliding with them. Birds can't see that a reflection in a glass window is a solid surface to be avoided; they often fly right into windows thinking the reflection of the sky is the sky itself! Making windows visible to birds is the key to preventing this hazard, and there are many ways to do this, from the simplest, like installing screens or applying washable tempera paint designs on the outside of windows, to more complex options, like installing commercially-available patterned window film on the outside of your windows. These are just a few of the possible ways to make sure your windows are "bird-safe" this fall; more options are described in this great article from the Fatal Light Awareness Program.
Volunteers with our Lights Out Northeast Florida initiative are set to begin their fall window strike monitoring routes in downtown Jacksonville again this fall to collect more data about bird fatalities in the downtown area and share that with building managers and business owners to encourage them to go "lights out for birds," but we can all do our part to help migrating birds survive their perilous journey. Thank you for caring about the birds!
~ Carol Bailey-White, Editor
UPCOMING BIRDING EVENTS
Have you ever been to a birding festival or conference? These events can be a great way to get to know some outstanding birding spots away from your home turf, hear from experts about a variety of interesting bird-related topics, meet other birders (always fun!), and even shop for some new gear. Here are some excellent birding events coming up over the next several months:
These are just a few of the exciting birding events coming up soon in the eastern US, but the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a more complete list published on their All About Birds website, so take a look and make your travel plans!
~ Carol Bailey-White, Editor
Why Join Us? If you're not already a member of Audubon, look for our membership campaign on Facebook and Instagram later this month. You'll learn about the many and varied reasons that it is good to join Duval Audubon. Conservation, speaking up, having fun, and being 'in the know' are just a few. And why not forward our posts and ask a friend or friends to join you in Audubon? You'll all get all the benefits. It's easy to join at duvalaudubon.org. Your support will help secure the future for birds at risk from climate change, habitat loss, and threats from the storms that so often affect us here in Northeast Florida.
~ Christine Lucas, Membership Director
DUVAL AUDUBON ACTIVITIES IN SEPTEMBER
Here's what's happening this month:
Hope to see you soon!
Duval Audubon Society, Inc.