•  Costa Rica - Join Us for Introduction to Neotropical Birding

    If you’ve always wanted to go birding in Costa Rica — or never taken a birding trip abroad at all — this program is a great introduction to the Neotropical birds of Central America. We will spend a week enjoying the sights from March 23-29th, 2018. This trip will be booked through Holbrook Travel. Holbrook’s local birding guides are experts at identification by both sight and sound, and they’ll help ensure our group spots as many species as possible. Despite its small size, more than 900 types of birds have been recorded in the country. Combine that with its accessibility and its friendly people, and Costa Rica is a perfect destination for beginners and more advanced birders alike. Plus, you’ll discover fascinating wildlife like frogs, monkeys, bats, and sloths.

    Male Green Honeycreeper Wainwright

    • Take guided hikes in primary and secondary rainforest of the Sarapiqui Valley, which provides habitat to a number of bird species, including the endangered Great Green Macaw.
    • Get a different perspective of the rainforest from atop the 100-meter suspended walkway at Tirimbina Biological Reserve for the chance to see species that spend their time within the forest canopy.
    • Watch for species like the Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Crested Guan, and Spectacled Owl at the world-renowned La Selva Biological Station.
    • Search for the highly sought-after Resplendent Quetzal in the cloud forests of San Gerardo de Dota.
     

    Cost is based on double occupancy; for a single room throughout the trip add $200 per person. A $200 per person deposit and enrollment form are required to reserve your space on the trip no later than November 23, 2017. This deposit is refundable excluding a $100 cancellation fee until December 18, 2017, at which time non-refundable final payment is due. Travel/trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended.

    For a direct link to our trip's website, visit this link. For a trip itinerary, click here.

    Got questions? Phone or email Sandy Schmidt: 800-451-7111 x379 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

     
  • This project in Nassau County was for the birds!

     

     

     Our Education Director, Brett Moyer, was the featured speaker for the Callahan branch of the public library's summer speaker series. He gave a presentation on how to attract birds by providing the essentials of food, water and shelter.

    Those in attendance also learned about two conservation programs, that of the Eastern Bluebird and the Purple Martin. After the slide presentation, the children participated in a hands-on exercise by making some Do-It-Yourself bird feeders using plastic bottles from the recycling bin, scissors, glue guns, and twine.

    Each of the kids and adults in attendance went home with a feeder and a bag of seed donated by the local hardware store.

    As we know, part of the joy of birding is passing along what we've learned to the next generation.

     
  • Call for Volunteers: Shorebird Stewards Needed NOW for local beaches!

    Do you want to help our coastal wildlife survive? Be a part of the statewide effort to help protect Florida’s beach-nesting shorebirds.

    It’s that time of year again when Florida’s vulnerable shorebirds are nesting on our beaches and Shorebird Stewards are needed. Did you know beach-nesting birds like Black Skimmers, American Oystercatchers, Least Terns, Laughing Gulls, and Royal Terns lay their eggs on top of the sand and raise their young on our local beaches?

    While they are adapted to survive this harsh environment of sun, sand, and salt with protection from their parents, chicks and eggs struggle to survive when beach-goers inadvertently flush parents from their nests. Left exposed to the harsh sun and predators, one disturbance can spell disaster for these vulnerable chicks. Weekends, especially long holiday weekends, can be disastrous for nesting shorebirds and seabirds since the level of disturbance from people, pets, and vehicles is often higher than usual. Under these circumstances, signs posted around nesting areas may not be enough to keep them protected from disturbance; this is when Bird Stewards are especially important.

    During their volunteer shifts, Shorebird Stewards keep a watchful eye on nesting areas and work to minimize disturbances by educating recreationists about these vulnerable shorebirds. While doing this important work, Shorebird Stewards can also enjoy up-close-and-personal looks at the fascinating behaviors of these nesting birds, not to mention having a fun day at the beach!

    Shorebird Stewarding opportunities are available at several beach locations in Northeast Florida:

    Amelia Island State Park

    Little Talbot Island State Park

    Huguenot Memorial Park

    Anastasia State Park

    Fort Matanzas National Monument

    Fort Clinch State Park

    If you would like to become a Shorebird Steward and help ensure the survival of these wonderful shorebirds,

     
  • Purple Martin Pre-migratory Roost in Jacksonville

    Jacksonville is very fortunate to currently have a Purple Martin pre-migratory roost near the Jacksonville Landing on Hogan Street. Purple Martins migrate, but before they do, they gather in large numbers to feed and rest. Flocks are leaving their nesting colonies from various areas to form a large roost that can even be detected on Doppler radar. This is a quite a sight to see! Around 8:30 p.m. you will see them swirling in the sky over the St. Johns River. At dusk, they will begin to roost in the trees along Hogan Street. At sunrise, they will leave, spending the day foraging for food, catching insects in the air.

    As board member, Brett Moyer, reported “the birds congregate high in the sky in increasing numbers as sunset approaches. Then, between sunset and last light (about 8:30 to 9:00 PM) they start descending, swooping in large groups, and swerving low and in unison over the heads of pedestrians on the Northbank riverwalk at Hogan Street South. It is a remarkable spectacle.”

    The roosting should continue for several weeks until the birds migrate. If you haven’t experienced this phenomenon yet, go to the Jacksonville Riverwalk on Hogan Street at sunset. Take the kids!

    Here are a couple of video clips:

    Video June 18th 

    Video June 24th

     

     
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    Our programs and organized field trips will resume in September! Have a good summer.

     
  • Help our nesting coastal waterbirds by keeping your distance!

    This time of year beachgoers, fishermen and boaters are enjoying our coastal areas in northeast Florida. It’s also the time of year when our shorebirds are nesting. Some shallow beach nests and eggs are well-camouflaged. Even small chicks can be easily overlooked and stepped on. We have a decreasing population of several species so awareness can be critical to their reproduction success. Keep your distance. Do not allow your children to run and cause the birds to take flight. Eggs and chicks become vulnerable to our hot sun and predators when a parent is forced to leave their nest from disturbance.

    Northeast Florida has several new critical wildlife areas that may not be marked off yet. Please be aware to not disturb the birds if vising these areas. There are four CWAs posted for waterbird nesting: Fort George in Duval County, Matanzas Inlet in St. Johns County, Nassau Sound Islands in Nassau and Duval counties, and Amelia Island in Nassau County.

    wainwright leteFor photos and more tips of making this a great nesting season, go to https://flic.kr/s/aHsjyK5nad

     
  • Busy Beavers at Crosby Sanctuary in Orange Park

    You may be surprised to learn that there are beavers in northeast Florida! North American beavers have taken up residence at Duval Audubon Society’s Crosby Sanctuary in Orange Park, and this time of year they are actively building dams. 

    The southernmost portion of the Crosby property is a swamp that ultimately drains into the Ortega River. Access to the sanctuary is provided by an earthen dike access road that bisects the swamp, and some years ago, two large trenches were dug through the access road to permit drainage between the two sides of the swamp. The beavers are damming up those trenches, creating a major backup of water flow from the west side of the swamp. The photo on the right shows a large pool created by beaver dams all along the line of trees with just a tiny trickle of water flow on the right.

    Volunteer work crews busted all of those dams back in February and within days the beavers had built up the dams again. The real risk is the potential of flooding in the neighborhoods that adjoin the property, especially if there is a major rainfall event, so sanctuary manager Pete Johnson did some research and came up with a way that we hope will leave the dams largely intact but still permit water flow between the two sides. At the March 25th Crosby Sanctuary work day, the crew installed pipes underneath the dams and rebuilt the dams over them. We are optimistic that the water flowing through the pipes under the dam will provide enough drainage through the swamp to prevent flooding, but if this doesn’t work, it’s back to the drawing board, because our goal is to find a way to peacefully coexist with these fascinating creatures.

     

     

     

    Access to Crosby Sanctuary is currently by appointment only, but our ultimate goal is to open this beautiful place to the public.

    If you would like a tour of Crosby Sanctuary please contact Crosby Sanctuary manager Pete Johnson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or vice-president Carolyn Antman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..