You’ve come to the right place if you want to be in the know about what’s going on in our organization. Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.
On June 16-17, 2018, a Boy Scout named Josh Cooper conducted an Eagle Scout Project on the main pond in the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. He, along with his family and volunteers from Troop 598, spent Saturday digging and excavating mud from the pond. The goal of the project was to deepen certain areas of the pond to make it a more suitable habitat for aquatic wildlife. On Sunday, they planted cat tails that had been collected the previous week. These native plants will provide food, shelter, and oxygen to aquatic wildlife. Hopefully you can come see the changes to the pond!
If you’re considering volunteering with a cause you care about in the community, consider the benefits you can receive. Here are the top eight benefits of volunteering.
List of bird festivals in Texas for July-September, 2018.
Kristen Vale of American Bird Conservancy posted a short video on Twitter to report on the Least Tern breeding season. She is excited to say that there are more fledglings than last year. This is due to the efforts at Bolivar Flats and the Walk in the Wet Sand campaign.
On Saturday, June 9, 2018, seven Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts from troops in Humble, Atascocita, and Katy arrived at Winters Bayou sanctuary for a day of conservation. The girls and their families worked hard, clearing trails through Winters Bayou that needed some serious TLC. Jobs included trimming back overgrown vegetation, removing debris from the trails, and helping remove several downed trees. After the hard work, the scouts participated in activities concerning the surrounding pine-hardwood forests. In partial fulfillment of requirements for their Tree Badge, the scouts learned about dendrochronology and took a tour of the sanctuary, learning the local plants along the way.
We are so appreciative of the hard work these scouts provided for the conservation and maintenance of this beautiful sanctuary. Click the link to check out photos from the workday.
An absolutely amazing birding day was recorded on eBird for May 28, 2018, at Tadoussac in Quebec, Canada. Over 721,000 birds, mainly warblers, were recorded by very experienced birders. This didn't happen on a Houston Audubon property or by one of our groups, but the article is a fascinating read. One could wish to participate in such an event. The Tennessee Warbler in this photo was one of the species observed.
The final Fourth Saturday Family Workday of the spring season was held at the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary on May 26, 2018. It was well attended by several hard-working groups.
The beach is an environment that requires dynamic management and partnerships. Least Terns have established a nesting colony on the reshaped beach of Bolivar Flats.
A new campaign for Texas will help visitors avoid these nests. We are encouraging them to Walk in the Wet Sand. Eric and JP Pinteralli of Scout Troop 548 helped Kristen Vale of American Bird Conservancy and Daniel Elting of Houston Audubon put up symbolic fencing and these new temporary signs. Please help us get this guidance slogan into the minds of beachgoers. Our fellow feathered Texans will greatly appreciate your consideration.
Joe Smith took a series of very high quality close-ups of our Education Department raptors while Mary Anne Weber was displaying them at Camp Allen for a recent event. Several of the photos feature Winston, the Red-tailed Hawk we recently received from Wyoming.
Click the link to see the photo gallery.
Birdathon 2018 was a great success: most teams ever, exceeded fundraising goal, and ended with the best party. Many of the teams entertained the audience with tales from their birding adventure. The Edith Moore Eagles team won the contest for best story. High Island Crew won both contests for the most bird species found (162) and for the most money raised ($4,636). Thank you to our corporate sponsors: Abbott Contracting, Rebecque Demark and Nancy Scott with Heritage Texas Properties, Sword Plumbing and Wild Birds Unlimited. A full list of final results and prize winners will be published soon.
The Education Department reached over 4,000 people in the last two months via 83 programs and bus/field trips. Our two educators, whose center of operations is the Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, are very active reaching groups of people in various locations. Their status report is always good reading and full of interesting news and photos. Click the link for a quick, enjoyable read.
There is a lot of scientific observation going on at the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary in addition to our beloved birds. Here are two photos of young box turtles that were found in the Natives Nursery in the past week. One female and one male, 3.5 inches long, about 2-3 years old. We have a citizen scientist that has been making a long term study of the box turtle population in the sanctuary.
Red-vented Bulbul census participants,
Please see the announcement below about our 3rd annual Red-vented Bulbul census which will take place on Saturday, June 2, from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM in the Heights and surrounding area.
Board of Directors Election Results
Please join us in welcoming these new members to Houston Audubon's Board of Directors. They were elected as proposed at the Membership Meeting which was held on May 10, 2018. Starting July 1, Tracy Hester, Brad Moore, and Loy Sneary will be new Directors. Greg Whittaker will be a new Director and Galveston Group Representative. Skip Almoney and Nigel Curlet will be renewing their terms as Directors. We thank all our Board members for their invaluable service to Houston Audubon.
On Monday, May 7, 2018, the seniors visited Sabine Woods, Sea Rim State Park and the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur, Texas.
Read the full trip report in the linked PDF document.
Houston Audubon, Student Conservation Association, and Houston Parks and Recreation Department enjoyed the Birding and BioBlitz event on April 28, 2018 at White Oak Park. This event was held in conjunction with the City Nature Challenge, a multi-city competition to find and document the most species of birds, plants, and any other wildlife. Participants observed 44 species of birds and 113 species overall, and we had a great time being outdoors in nature in this special urban park!
Joey Guitron organized a team of 11 volunteers that participated in the workday at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary on Saturday, April 28, 2018.
Here's an update from the past TWO survey events! Things have been crazy lately but I'm really excited for what we've found in the past month! My next survey event should occur this Saturday/Sunday to overlap with the city-wide BioBlitz. Can't wait!
Two species of buntings have been seen at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary this spring. A group of four Indigo Buntings were are the bird feeders last week. Then we saw this beautiful Painted Bunting a few days ago.
The Birdathon is currently featured on the VisitHouston.com website.
Mary Anne Weber, Education Director, was interviewed on Great Day Houston with Deborah Duncan on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 9:00am on KHOU-TV Channel 11. She was accompanied by Dawn Monachino, Education Specialist, and two of our education raptors, the Great Horned Owl and Mississippi Kite. The 5-minute video has close-ups of the raptors and other shots of the High Island sanctuaries.
Click the link to view the video.
Mary Anne Weber, Education Director, gave a presentation to the Boulevard Oaks community that was reported in the Village News, April 17, 2018. The presentation was coordinated by Doris Heard, Board Member. Mary Anne was accompanied by Simon, the Great Horned Owl.
The Broadacres subdivision within Boulevard Oaks has a stand of 80-year old live oak trees which contains a rookery with 120 nests for Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Black-crowned Night Herons. The purpose of Mary Anne's talk was to teach the residents more about the birds that are nesting there.
Click the link to read the article in Village News.
Earth Day 2018 is the perfect opportunity to get involved with your community and take care of our Earth. Let’s talk about some ways to go green for Earth Day 2018.
Twenty-three hard-working volunteers from BP Energy spent the afternoon of Friday, April 13, 2018, at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. Kim, a leader in the Natural Gas Liquids group, explained this was part team-building plus giving back to the community. BP allocates 2 days/year for employees to devote to community service.
David Harris shot a high-definition video of nesting birds at the Smith Oaks Rookery on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. He interviewed Winnie Burkett, former Executive Director and Sanctuaries Manager, Houston Audubon, to get an in-depth story of how the birds use the Rookery island and co-exist with alligators in the surrounding water. The video was taken from the Rookery rental platform and is 15-minutes long, showing the birds close-up. Winnie's narrative is packed with information.
David Harris runs the Coastal Outdoors Group and also the Bolivar Peninsula Texas website.
The video is on the Bolivar Peninsula, Texas Facebook page and requires you to use your Facebook account to see it.
The Senior Bus Trip on April 9, 2018, went to the Houston Audubon sanctuaries on High Island and other stops on Bolivar Peninsula.
Mega101 Mi Comunidad entrevista a Houston Audubon Domingo, 25 de marzo de 2018. Diego Ramos, presentador de Mega101 Mi Comunidad, un programa de radio en español, entrevista al miembro de la Junta de Houston Audubon, Andy Lopez. (10 minutos)
Mega101 My Community interview with Houston Audubon, Sunday, March 25, 2018. Diego Ramos, host of Mega101 My Community, a Spanish radio program, interviewed a member of Houston Audubon's Board of Directors, Andy Lopez. (10 minutes)
Please join us in welcoming Zineera Seth to the Houston Audubon team as our new Development Events Manager. Zineera is responsible for leading and implementing mission-based events that generate revenue. She will oversee all aspects of fundraising events to ensure that the organization’s mission and work is elevated.
Those wonderful Tropical Birding guides have returned for what will be their last spring leading free bird walks in Houston Audubon sanctuaries. This is their 11th year of introducing High Island visitors to the great experience of taking guided bird walks, and we have been lucky to have them. They are spreading out to other spring birding hot spots to introduce more birders to guided bird walks.
Here is a link to the April 2018 edition of our monthly E-News in case you missed it. You can subscribe by filling in the form at the bottom of this page.
Eight hard workers showed up on Friday, March 30, 2018, for the North Jetty cleanup. We picked up 39 bags of trash which included all we could get on the jetty and the beaches adjacent to the jetty. There was a lot more trash there last year when we picked up over 80 bags and didn’t even finish the jetty.
Houston Audubon and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT) are hosting Jonathan Meyrav. Jonathan is from Israel and will be discussing the amazing diversity of birds there.
Houston Audubon strongly recommends buildings more than two stories high turn LIGHTS OUT tonight and tomorrow night (Wednesday and Thursday, March 28 and March 29). We recommend buildings more than two stories high turn off unnecessary lighting during the entire migration period, March 15 to May 15.
The Nominating Committee of the Houston Audubon Board of Directors recommends the following slate for election to the Board of Directors. Elections will be conducted at the membership meeting on May 10, 2018. Also, according to the By-Laws, nominations will be accepted from the floor.
Imperiled Least Terns at the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary just got a helping hand from the Boy Scouts. On March 17, a team of Scouts led by Eagle Scout candidate J.P. Pinteralli, headed to the sanctuary with some 750 lbs. of tools and fencing equipment in tow. Working alongside field staff from Houston Audubon and American Bird Conservancy (ABC), they installed electric fencing at a key nesting area to keep predators away from the terns and their chicks.
Here are the updates from the past 2 herpetology surveys. Herps are coming out more frequently and we are finding more individuals. The past surveys have still seen cold nights, but I'm hopeful for the warmer weather in the coming weeks. A couple of new species for the survey, Banded Water Snake - N. fasciata (a very large one that got away) and Narrow Mouth Toad - G. carolinensis, were found on the 24th.
A great turnout enjoyed wonderful spring weather for the Birdathon Workshop on the outdoor deck of the cabin at Edith L. Moore Nature Santuary on Sunday, March 11, 2018. That shows good enthusiasm for our annual birding competition.
Lots of new things under development at High Island. Two new rookery islands, one at Claybottom Pond and one at Smith Pond, new boardwalks - roughly connecting Winnie Street entrance trails to Smith Pond and to Claybottom Pond. And Smith Oaks is full of great egrets with spoonbills looking for places to build nests.
Old Mexico Road entrance is still closed due to construction. It ought to open in a week or two. Use Winnie Street entrance if you go out now.
Click the link to see the photo gallery. One telephoto shows a great egret on the nest with a big blue egg. That nest is at the north end of Claybottom Pond and can be seen from the last platform.
Smith Pond Island tree planting crew and view from the south. One is showing the new island at Claybottom Pond. That picture was taken from the first observation deck. Second picture taken from the last deck. Some nests have blue eggs already. I counted about 15-20 visitors while I was there from around 10:30 am to 2:30 pm on March 9.
Mary Anne Weber, Education Director, appeared on Fox 26 News hosted by Jose Grinan on March 7, 2018. She was accompanied by Skeeter, a Mississippi Kite, one of our education raptors. The topic was "Why Do Birds Matter?" which was a recent article in National Geographic magazine.
This link goes to a really cool web camera that is positioned in a Peregrine Falcon nest at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. There are a lot of interesting facts about Peregrine Falcons on the web page. The live camera is focused right into the nest, so you have to be patient and lucky to visit the page when the falcon is in the nest. The video is very sharp, so it is worth re-visiting to catch the bird live.
Anna Vallery is our new Conservation Specialist at Houston Audubon. She will be working as the sanctuary manager for the two northern sanctuaries, Winters Bayou and Damuth. She will also be working in the Natives Nursery at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary and closely with the Bird Friendly Communities program.
Birdathon is a team-birding fundraising event that started back in 1981 and continues to grow each year. Teams are typically made of (4) participants. Teams compete to count as many bird species as possible in a 24-hour period and raise money much like a marathon. Birdathon includes a spring kick-off party and concludes with an awards celebration.
We are really looking to grow Birdathon this year and hoping to get new teams involved. We would love for you to get together with 3 or more of your friends and join Birdathon as a team and go birding together. It is so much fun, and I know you will love it!
All that is required is to go to the Birdathon website and sign up as a team, pick a day to all go birding together, and report how many different bird species you identified in your consecutive 24 hours of birding.
Helen Drummond, Executive Director, was interviewed by Michael Bybee of the Houston Newsmakers Team for the Comcast Newsmakers video cast on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. The video was just made available. This short 4.5 minute video is action-packed with statistics about the numbers of birds that transit the Houston area during the two yearly migration seasons and the importance of our sanctuaries to the migration process.
Click the link to view the video.
The Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2017. It was designated by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) as a site of international importance in 1992, and it has been owned and managed by Houston Audubon since then.
The link takes you to a very well-written history and description of the sanctuary. There are timely quotes from Richard Gibbons, Conservation Director, and Pete Deichmann, Sanctuaries Manager. This article is definitely worth reading.
Photo by Meredith G Morehouse
A job description has been posted for Development Event Manager. This position fills the job held by Nichol Chambers who is leaving to join the staff at Rice University.
Here are the results from the latest Herp Survey at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary.
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