Audubon speaker to discuss wonders of Georgia’s rivers

The director of Georgia’s premier river-conservation association will reveal some of the natural treasures of the state’s waterways at the next meeting of the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at Sandy Creek Nature Center. Come a little early for snacks and birder banter.

April Ingle, executive director of the Georgia River Network, will also provide an update on efforts to protect rivers throughout the state, from whitewater streams in the north Georgia mountains to blackwater rivers like the cypress-lined Suwannee near the Florida border. Ingle’s presentation, “Protecting, Restoring and Enjoying Georgia’s Rivers,” will feature first-hand adventure stories and photographs from Paddle Georgia, the Georgia River Network’s annual week-long paddle trip that explores different rivers every summer.

UGA researcher to discuss cheating birds at Audubon meeting

Whether birds gain advantages by cheating on their mates will be the topic at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at Sandy Creek Nature Center. Anna Joy Lehmicke, who recently completed doctoral  work with the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, will present “Do Cheaters Always Prosper: The Costs and Benefits of Extra-Pair Paternity in Birds.”

While most birds appear to stay with the same mate during the breeding season or even for life, recent advances in molecular genetics have allowed researchers to discover that appearances can be deceiving. Among the vast majority of seemingly monogamous species, dalliances outside of the pair bond are surprisingly common. Lehmicke will discuss the potential costs and benefits of straying, using evidence from her own research on seaside sparrows and some scandalous examples from other scientific studies. Lehmicke, who recently completed her Ph.D., has been working with birds since her freshman year in college and became interested in genetics during a conservation genetics class while at the School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

 

Next meeting March. 6, 6:45 p.m. @ Sandy Creek Nature Center: Expert 'Birdscaping' Tips for Your Backyard

Join Oconee Rivers Audubon Society for our next meeting on March 6. Whether you have a half acre or 10, there are many things you can do to make your yard more bird-friendly, and the leader of the Georgia Ornithological Society (GOS) will present some expert tips at the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society’s next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 6, at Sandy Creek Nature Center.

GOS President Steve Holzman will present “Birdscaping Your Yard,” offering suggestions for some great flowers, vines, shrubs and trees you can add to help attract birds and protect them from hazards. The program will feature a brief discussion about how you can join Audubon’s Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program.

Upcoming Bird banding Opportunities with IBA Coordinator Charlie Muise

Charlie Muise, Georgia's Important Bird Area coordinator, has a number of opportunities over the next few months for volunteers to participate in bird banding operations at Joe Kurz Wildlife Management Area and Panola Mountain State Park. If you have ever wanted to see birds in the hand and contribute to a long-running bird banding project, this is your chance.

Camp Talon

Do you know a teenager interested in birding and/or wildlife? Did you know there is a summer program on the Georgia coast designed just them? Camp T.A.L.O.N. is a 5 day summer camp program on St. Simon's Island sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Ornithological Society, and Atlanta Audubon. The camp is relatively inexpensive ($300 for lodging, meals, and bus to St. Simon's Island from Macon) and scholarships are available. Read more about it here. Deadline for early registration is May 1.

Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 14-17

The Great Backyard Bird Count is next weekend February 14-17! Anyone can participate as long as they count birds for at least 15 minutes and report their results here. This is a great way to get involved with citizen science and contribute to growing database of bird observations documenting changes in urban bird communities across North America. Don't want to count in your backyard? Head on over to Sandy Creek Nature Center and join their count. They will have binoculars and field guides available for anyone to use. Read more about the count at Sandy Creek Nature Center here.

Georgia Christmas Bird Count Circles For Your Smartphone

Wondering if you are still in the count circle or poaching on your neighbor's section? Point your phone here: http://bit.ly/1bKiCfx to access all the Christmas Bird Count circles in Georgia. Steve Holzman created this using the ArcGIS online mapping tool. You can access the map using your phone's browser, but download the iOS app or the Android App for increased functionality including full use of location services so you know where you are within the count circle at all times.

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