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GCBO January e-news
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

January, 2013

 

 

 

 

In this Issue:

 

AmeriCorp Team

 

Whooping Crane Trapping

 

Banded Piping Plovers

 

Sea Center Nature Day

 

February Birds and Bottomlands Blitz

 

Site Partner Network News

 

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

 

Recommended Winter Bird Festivals

 

Member Photo of the Month

 

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If you found this e-newsletter interesting, please consider taking the next step and becoming a member or volunteering for one of our many outreach activities.  If you are already a member, thank you for your support!  Check out our Ways to Donate page for more opportunities to support our conservation efforts. 

Photos courtesy of Mike Gray, David Newstead, TNC staff, and GCBO staff.
View on GCBO website.

January 2013

 

AmeriCorp Team

During the months of November and December we had the great fortune of hosting a 10-member AmeriCorp Team at our sanctuary. For two days each week the team improved our forest trails, nurtured the native plant nursery, cleared and winterized three hummingbird/butterfly gardens, cultivated plant cuttings for next spring’s gardens, and worked to eradicate two invasive plant species – ligustrum and privet. In all the energetic team invested 240 service-hours at GCBO AND accomplished so much more than would have ever been completed without them! When not working with us, they shared their time with two other local groups: True to Life Ministries and the Boys and Girls Club of Brazoria County assisting them with their youth education programming. The team has now returned to their base camp in Colorado where they will pick up their next assignments scattered across the U.S. The team is shown above in the GCBO garden sporting safari hats we gave them as ‘thank you’ presents.

Whooping Crane Trapping

GCBO Conservation Director Dr. Felipe Chavez spent three weeks on Matagorda Island in late November and early December trapping adult Whooping Cranes as part of a three-year telemetry project aimed at identifying important stopover areas during migration and mortality causes during different phases of the Whooping Crane life cycle. Nine adult Whooping Cranes were trapped, tagged with unique color codes, and fitted with GPS transmitters. These mark the last of the adults that will be banded as part of this project. Shown above, Dr. Chavez backing away from a pretty fiesty, newly marked adult crane.

Banded Piping Plovers

Ever wonder where the Piping Plovers go in winter when you can't seem to find one anywhere? So do we. Beginning in November, researchers began trapping and attaching tiny radio transmitters to Piping Plovers in Galveston. A total of 26 were captured for the study, at locations including Bolivar Flats and beach, Galveston Island State Park, and the west end of the island both sides of San Luis Pass. By studying their movements relative to seasonal and daily tides, and the natural and human-influenced threats they face, we hope to better understand the full range of habitats that the birds require so that they can be better protected.This project is part of a study funded by US Fish & Wildlife Service to learn more about the species use of the Galveston Bay and Corpus Christi bay systems. The Galveston project is coordinated by Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program in conjunction with the Environmental Institute of Houston at University of Houston Clear Lake. If you see a plover with a red flag on the leg and other color bands, please pass along the information to David Newstead at dnewstead@cbbep.org, or Kristen Vale at Vale@uhcl.edu.

Sea Center Nature Day

 

Visit our site partner Sea Center Texas for Nature Day on February 23, 2013 from 10:00 to 4:00 and come by the GCBO booth and bird exhibit. Enjoy educational programs and activities that will introduce you and your family to the wonders of nature. Walk-through exhibits, activities, and crafts will be offered by a variety of nature based organizations. Youth activities will include a nature scavenger hunt from 10:00am-12:00pm and catch and release fishing from 1:00-3:00pm. Sea Center is located at 300 Medical Drive, Lake Jackson, TX. For more information you can contact them at 979-292-0100 or check their website.

February Birds and Bottomlands Blitz

GCBO is happy to join forces with our local Cradle of Texas Master Naturalists to again offer a morning in our sanctuary to study nature and learn more about the importance of the Columbia Bottomland hardwood forest which is a critical link in many species' life cycle. February's Birds and Bottomlands Blitz will be held on the 9th. Join GCBO staff as we learn about birds and their habitat adapations (canopy, mid-story, low, ground, water/wetland) at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory.

Site Partner Network News

On Grand Isle, in Louisiana, home of Lafitte's Woods, The Nature Conservancy has instituted a partnership with the Grand Isle school and created a native plant nursery known as a BioLab. The purpose is to grow native trees, shrubs, and grasses that will be planted on the island to restore what development and natural disasters have destroyed. Since 2009, the students of Grand Isle School have planted over 3300 live oaks, hackberries, red mulberries, yaupon, wax myrtles, green ash, and honey locusts on preserve, private, and public lands. The students above are readying cone-tainers for native tree seeds. What a great program!

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

By January winter has set in and our winter residents are on territory at GCBO. It also a great time for a rare straggler to make an appearance. In November we caught the Lesser Goldfinch shown above. Join us from 8:00 until noon on Saturday, January 19th for our next monthly bird banding session and see who spending the winter with us. 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.

Recommended Winter Bird Festivals

January 16-20 - Wings Over Willcox Birding & Nature Festival, Willcox, AZ, www.wingsoverwillcox.com

January 18-21 - Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, Morro Bay, CA, www.morrobaybirdfestival.org

January 23-28 - Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival, Titusville, FL, www.spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org

February 6-9 - Laredo Birding Festival, Laredo, TX, www.laredobirdingfestival.com

February 21-24 – Whooping Crane Festival, Port Aransas, TX, www.whoopingcranefestival.org

Photo of the Month

This month's photo of the month comes from Cheryl Kiser who was quite entertained by a couple of American White Pelicans fishing near Surfside. Thanks Cheryl! Great pic.

 

Our Vision is a healthy ecosystem with abundant space for birds to survive and thrive around the Gulf of Mexico.

  www.gcbo.org | Telephone 979-480-0999 | Contact Us


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