GCBO June E-news
Support the ACSC With A Paver
The completion of the Cecilia Riley Avian Conservation Science Center was a momentous step forward for Gulf Coast Bird Observatory and for Gulf-wide bird conservation. We moved in during late August 2014 and have already reaped many benefits from our new facility. In addition to the staff working in a much improved environment, we have been able to host meetings of international science groups, regional bird planning committees and local organizations. We are very happy to be able to support these meetings! You too can be a part of this exciting new venue by recognizingyourself, your family, or a loved one with an engraved paver (samples shown above for small & large) for the front walk - they are economically priced at $150, $300, or $500 depending on size. Paver forms can be printed and mailed and are available here. We are currently working on the design of the front walk where the pavers will be placed and hope to have them in place by the end of the summer.
Photography Workshop at Smith Point with Alan Murphy
GCBO is pleased to host a Photography Workshop at the Smith Point Hawk Watch with famed photographer Alan Murphy. Alan is an award winning photographer with numerous publications, a Nikon Professional Service member, a Wimberly Professional Service member, and the author of a CD book entitled "The Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography". He leads numerous photography workshops throughout North America which are normally sold out almost immediately. We are offering a morning with Alan at the Smith Point Hawk Watch to refine your raptor photography skills for only $200. This is a real bargain! Check out Alan's Photography at his website. You can find out more information on the Smith Point Photography Workshop here along with how to register. This workshop is limited to 12 people so don't delay!
It's Time For Bird Camp
A great schedule with many fun games and learning activities has been developed for another weeklong Summer Bird Camp. This year camp will be held June 8-12 from 9:00am to 1:00pm each day at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory sanctuary in Lake Jackson. Enrollment is limited to allow each camper a special experience with lots of hands-on involvement and discovery. Registration $150 with some scholarships available. Reduced fees apply for families with multiple campers. Please e-mail Carol with questions or to have the registration forms sent to you.
Dow Black Skimmer Day
This year Dow Texas Operations will hold their annual Skimmer Day on Saturday, June 27th from 9:00am to noon. This free public event provides a rare opportunity to view one of the largest nesting colonies of Black Skimmers on the Texas Gulf Coast. Black Skimmers are considered colonial waterbirds because they nest in large colonies, usually on bay islands. These unique birds have a lower mandible longer than the upper which enables them to employ a unique feeding style. They feed by flying low over the water, opening their bills and skimming the water with their lower mandible to catch small fish. According to colonial waterbird data, Black Skimmers have declined on the Texas coast by 70% in the last 40 years so this colony at Dow is of increasing importance. Meet at the Dow A-41 gate located on FM 523 which is 1 mile south of the Hwy 332 and FM 523 intersection for shuttles to the site. If you would like to volunteer to help with this event, contact Janice Waldron or Gabriella Cone.
GCBO Mid-Year Appeal
Would it surprise you to learn that North America is home to 914 species of colorful birds distributed across just about every habitat you have ever visited? Here’s another jaw-dropping factoid: more than one-third of those species depend on habitats in more than one country (Canada, U.S., Mexico, and beyond). This abundant birdlife enriches our human cultures, provides immeasurable ecosystem services that benefit our economies, and serves as a sensitive indicator of environmental health. Sadly, we now face unprecedented loss of bird populations and the imminent threat of extinction of many species but your GCBO is here to help. Click here to find a short summary of our priority projects designed to ensure the health of Gulf habitats and birds. We truly need your help funding them. Please select your favorite project and send a donation of $50, $100, or more today!
GCBO Needs An RV Host!
Have an RV and want to live on a beautiful 34-acre forested sanctuary 5 minutes from town? GCBO has just the opportunity for you! To assist GCBO with our year-round maintenance needs and being open on weekends, the Facilities Use Committee has made the decision to set up a full hookup site for an RV host couple. The RV host will open the gate and building on weekends, greet visitors and depending on their interest and abilities, assist with some programs. Mowing and general maintenance will also be part of their responsibilities. We are anxiously looking forward to our first RV hosts! If interested, you can find our ad on workampingjobs.com and read the full description. Search for ads in Texas and then scroll down to find GCBO.
Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO
photo by Brooks Short
Don't miss our June bird banding session! In May we caught several nice visitors including a Magnolia Warbler (shown above), a Painted Bunting, and a Cave Swallow (a first for our banding station!). Our summer residents will be nesting and you never know when you'll catch a youngster just out of the nest. Bird banding will be the third weekend of the month on Saturday June 20. The Gulf Coast Young Ornithologists will also meet the same day at GCBO. Bird banding starts at 8:00 and ends at noon. Remember, the birds get up early so the earlier you are here the more you will see. Seeing birds in the hand is a great way to get kids excited about wildlife, but all ages are welcome. See the map on our webpage for directions or find a map by going to Mapquest or GoogleMaps. Note that some other navigators will not take you to the correct location.
Photo of the Month
This month's photo of the month of a Blue Jay family comes from Marybeth & Greg Dimijan's backyard in Farmers Branch, Texas. The nest was constructed high in a tree next to their second story bedroom window so they were able to monitor and record the entire process from nest building to fledging the chicks pictured here. Can you find all four chicks in the photo?
Bird Tip of the Month:
In the hot summer months birds are in particular need of fresh water. You can rig up a homemade water drip by using a gallon jug with a small hole punched in the bottom. Fill it up, hang it from a tree, and put a small pan underneath to collect the water. The dripping noise will attract the birds and give them a place for a bath and a nice cool drink.
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