Calendar: Speaker Series
These free monthly programs feature scientists, photographers, authors, international travelers and others speaking on a wide range of topics related to birds and their environment.
Both members and non-members are invited to attend, but we encourage you to become a supporting member so we can continue this popular Speaker Series.
Time and Place: The programs are usually held on the third Wednesday of the month, except for December, July, and August. Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are held at
Cubberley Community Center, Room H1
4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
(see street view map or map PDF)
Refreshments at 7:30 PM, program at 8 PM
July and August 2014
There are no programs in July and August. But our Nature Shop and Headquarters (get directions) are open! Join one of our other events going on this summer. Our Speaker Series resumes in September.
Helping the Western Snowy Plover
Catherine Burns and Karine Tokatlian
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Catherine Burns, Karine Tokatlian, and Western Snowy Plover ©Michael Kern
Did you know there are only about 200 Western Snowy Plovers that still commonly breed in the Bay Area? Come hear about the status of this sensitive species, including research and habitat enhancement work that the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO) is doing to increase plover numbers in the Bay Area.
The Western Snowy Plover is a charismatic bird that is federally listed as a threatened species. For more than 10 years, SFBBO has conducted plover surveys across the region to study how plover populations are changing. SFBBO scientists and volunteers have also experimented with strategies (such as oyster shell distribution) to enhance plover nesting success. Most recently, SFBBO has begun collaborating with the Institute for Wildlife Studies to improve range-wide monitoring protocols and increase understanding of plover reproductive success and the recovery status of the species along its Pacific coast range.
Catherine Burns, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of SFBBO. Throughout her career, Cat's interests focused on applying science to achieve wildlife conservation in a rapidly changing world. This has included conservation work focused primarily on birds and mammals in several areas of the United States, South Africa, Belize and Australia.
Karine Tokatlian, is Plover Program Director at SFBBO overseeing plover-related research and monitoring activities. She spent several years monitoring protected breeding bird populations along the California coast, including the Western Snowy Plover and California Least Tern, and oversees other SFBBO programs including the Colonial Waterbird citizen science program.
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Habitats and Seasons of the Mono Lake Basin
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
California Gull, Sierra Wings: Birds of the Mono Lake Basin, and Marie Read
Nationally known bird photographer, Marie Read, invites you to join her on a journey through the habitats and seasons of the Mono Lake Basin. Providing the backstory to her newly released book Sierra Wings: Birds of the Mono Lake Basin, Marie reveals through stunning photography the fascinating lives of the birds that live and breed there, or pass through during migration.
Mono Lake, in California's Eastern Sierra, is a well-known tourist destination, a high desert sea with a majestic backdrop of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada, famous for the iconic tufa towers rising from its surface and for its highly saline and alkaline water. The lake is also a birding hotspot, attracting huge numbers of breeding and migratory birds. Teeming trillions of brine shrimp and alkali flies offer a vast food resource to as many as 65,000 nesting California Gulls and numerous other water birds, and provide essential fuel for tens of thousands of Wilson's and Red-necked phalaropes plus more than a million Eared Grebes that stage at Mono Lake on fall migration. In the surrounding basin, sagebrush scrub, pinyon-juniper, Jeffrey pine and conifer-aspen forests support many other birds. Delve into the hidden lives of birds such as Lewis's and Black-backed Woodpeckers, Sage Thrasher, Pinyon Jay, and American Dipper, enjoy Marie's stories from the field and learn how she obtained some of the behavior and action shots in the book.
Marie's images and articles have appeared in magazines such as Living Bird, Bird Watching, Nature's Best, Birds & Blooms, National Wildlife, and Women In The Outdoors, as well as in books, calendars, and websites. She has authored two previous books: Secret Lives of Common Birds: Enjoying Bird Behavior Through the Seasons (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), and Common Birds & Their Songs (coauthored with Lang Elliott, Houghton Mifflin, 1998). See more of her work on her website.
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The Echoes of their Wings: The Life and Legacy of the Passenger Pigeon
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
A Feathered River Across the Sky and Joel Greenberg
Joel Greenberg will explore the story of the Passenger Pigeon and highlight the important lessons that it presents to those of us in the 21st century. The Passenger Pigeon probably numbered in the billions, making it the most abundant bird in North America if not the world. But this huge population was neither evenly distributed across the landscape nor was it cryptic: the species often formed aggregations so vast they are difficult for us to imagine. John James Audubon described a flight that darkened the sky for three days, and a nesting in 1871 spread across 850 square miles of central Wisconsin. A single flight around 1860 probably exceeded a billion birds and maybe as many as three billion. Exploitation for food and recreation destroyed the species in the wild by the first few years of the 20th century. On September 1, 1914, Martha, the last of the species, died in the Cincinnati Zoo.
Joel has over 25-years experience working on natural resource related issues in the Midwest and currently works at the Chicago Academy of Sciences. He has authored four books including Of Prairie, Woods, and Waters: Two Centuries of Chicago Nature Writing (2008, University of Chicago Press.), A Natural History of the Chicago Region (2002, University of Chicago Press) and the forth just published in January 2014, A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction. For the past four years he has been a leader in Project Passenger Pigeon which aims to mark the anniversary of the species' extinction. He co-produced with director David Mrazek the documentary, From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction that will be aired on a variety of PBS affiliates this fall.
This special program is co-sponsored by Sequoia Audubon.
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