Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza will be returning this year on two separate weekends: September 14th and 21st

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory
Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza will be returning this year on two separate weekends: September 14th and 21st from 8 am to 12 noon.
 
Taking place at the peak of hummingbird migration, XHX is a once a year opportunity to see these amazing birds up close. Watch as we carefully catch and band these tiny travelers and sign up to symbolically adopt one! XHX will also include: •Guest speakers•Live animals•Kids’ activities,•Nature-themed booths•Snacks• and the chance to shop our gift shop and native plant nursery.
 
Entry to the event is just $4 for adults, kids 12 and under are free! Held at our headquarters at 299 Hwy 332 in Lake Jackson.
 
And don’t forget to enter our XHX RAFFLE!
 
You can also enter our special XHX raffle for the chance to win a beautiful hummingbird cross-stitch hand-made by our very own Kay Lookingbill. Some pretty fancy second and third prizes are also available. Tickets are $10 each or 6 for $50. You don’t need to be present to win. Take a sneak peek at the items and learn more about purchasing tickets HERE.
 
Hawk Watch is Going on Now!
 
It’s hawk watch time folks! This year we changed the dates to August 15th – November 30th to encompass the late migration we’ve noticed over the last few years. The hawk watch tower at Smith Point is being staffed (yes Bob is back!) from 8:00am – 4:00pm daily during this time period and we invite everyone to come and check out the fantastic show. The peak time for Broad-winged Hawks is always late September but there are plenty of birds to see no matter when you come. The passerine migration through Smith Point is impressive too! Despite our best efforts we have been unable to raise enough funding to support the hawk watch this year so donations are most welcome. You can call (979-480-0999) and give Tricia a donation over the phone or you can make a donation on our website. Just select Smith Point Hawk Watch from the pulldown menu. For directions or additional information on the hawk watch, check our website.
 
Education & Outreach Manager Opening
After a short but very productive time as our Education and Outreach Manager, Jennifer Horton will be heading out at the end of September to pursue opportunities closer to home. Jennifer has helped the department move forward in many ways and we thank her for all she has done. She has laid some good new ground work and vision we hope to build on. We wish her luck in all future endeavors.   
If you or anyone you know is interested in this full time GCBO position please check out THIS LINK for more information. 
 
New GCBO Water Feature
 
 
So many things were damaged during hurricane Harvey here at GCBO. Thanks to generous donations and many hours of kind volunteer help, most of that damage was repaired within a year or less of the storm. One item that suffered damage was the water feature outside the headquarters building. The strong waters that washed through the property washed out the dirt under the rock structure and it collapsed.    
Thanks to longtime volunteer Phil Huxford, that feature is now being replaced with a new pond and water feature. Phil and other dedicated volunteers have been working diligently in the heat: Plants have been dug up from around the old feature and potted to be replanted, the old feature has been dismantled, the rocks have been saved for the new structure, and the new pond has been dug.  Volunteers Sam Dufilho, Vic Wade, Tom Taroni, and Oron Atkins spent a morning hand digging the finer features of the pond, while Phil operated his tractor.  The watering system around the pond has also been re-plumed thank to board member Michael Heather. Brian Kolthammer, Jennifer Sanchez, Gary Weeks and Harold Travis have also contributed their sweat to the cause. Now Phil and crew are busy laying the new stone. A few more weeks and it will be done. Thank you to everyone who pitched in! This will be a wonderful feature, and will be visible from the rocking chairs on the new front deck just in time for XHX and cooler weather. Come enjoy!  
 
Urban Birding Course at Rice University
GCBO is once again co-sponsoring the short course “Urban Birding” at Rice University this fall. Open to the public, the course will teach participants how to identify birds and become familiar with the many birds that can be seen in our urban landscape. This course also includes a guided field trip to one or more urban birding hot spots, led by instructor Glenn Olsen. Learn more and register HERE. Course runs Sep 26, 2019 to Oct 24, 2019
 
Upcoming 2020 GCBO Birding Tours
 
Come birding with GCBO and our Executive Director, Martin Hagne! Since we started offering birding trips last year they’ve been completely booked! Everyone is having a great time birding, exploring, enjoying some extraordinary scenery, dining on local cuisine, and just having a fun time!  We always hook up with at least one local guide for the best experience. Now Martin has laid out some wonderful destinations for 2020!  
Final plans are not in place for all trips, so if there are no date or cost details listed below please keep your eyes open for more details on these upcoming trips. If you want to be placed on a list for more info as soon as it is out, send Martin an email.
 
For those trips with dates below, please go to our website to register: http://www.gcbo.org/connect/gcbo-bird-tours/
 
Duluth, MN
January 16-20, 2020
$895.00 for Single
$795.00 for Double
 
We will repeat this popular trip for boreal winter species! We will have a great time exploring the snow-covered Sax Zim Bog and northern forests of the Duluth area again this year, with possible views of Great Gray Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, Bohemian Waxwing, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, Evening Grosbeak, and all the other boreal species one expects to see!
 
Southeast Arizona in July, 2020
More Trip Info TBA soon!
 
Southeast Arizona is legendary in the birding world as one of the must visit places for some very special birds and scenery! Elegant Trogons, Montezuma Quail, Arizona Woodpecker. Red-faced Warbler, Abert’s Towhee, Bridled Titmouse, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Gilded Flicker, a dozen or more hummingbirds, not to mention the night birds! Just a very small sampling of the diverse birdlife living in the desert and mountainous canyons. Bird such famous sites as the Chiricahua Mountains, Patagonia, and Madera Canyon. 
 
 
Cuba Birding Expedition — Just 3 spots left!!
October 15-26, 2020
$5340.00 for Double
$5705.00 for Single
 
The GCBO has been working with partners in Cuba since 2005 on various avian research projects such as a hawk watch and a migratory bird banding station. With these relationships, travel with GCBO staff and our Cuban ornithological partners to visits research sites, and bird the fabulous Cuban avian diversity. Experience the rich avian culture, with a chance for 26 endemic species! 
 
Oaxaca, Mexico TBA
 
We hope to offer this fabulous birding and cultural trip again in 2021. Look for dates and more info coming up!
 
Bill Clark Raptor Weekend
 
We’ve increased the sign up limit for our raptor ID Workshop with expert Bill Clark, but it’s filling up fast. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to sharpen your identification skills!
 
 
Keynote Talk – Open to the public
Friday, October 11, 2019 at 7:30pm
 
On Friday, October 11, 2019 at 7:30pm, join us to hear Bill Clark speak on the raptors of the Rio Grande Valley. Many species of Neotropical raptor just reach the U.S. in south Texas. Additionally there are passages in the Rio Grande Valley of large number of migrating raptors, both in spring and fall, many of which also winter there. In this illustrated talk, Bill will discuss these raptors, with extensive coverage of Aplomado Flacon, Gray Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Harris’s Hawk, and Hook-billed Kite. He will show photos of many raptors in hand and will discuss their vocalizations and aspects of their biology. He will also include a discussion of four Mexican raptors that have occurred as vagrants. We will have Bill’s books on hand so you can purchase a copy and get them signed. A $5 donation is suggested for attending the event.
 
Raptor ID Workshop
Saturday, October 12th,
Sunday, October 13th
 
On Saturday, October 12th, Bill Clark will present a Raptor Identification Workshop at GCBO! He will present a series of lectures on how to identify raptors in flight. On Sunday, October 13th, participants will spend the day at the Smith Point Hawk Watch putting everything they have learned to use in the field. In addition, Robert and Kay Lookingbill will catch live raptors to show participants at Smith Point. What a great deal! The cost is $150/participant. Learn more at our website and call Tricia today to sign up at 979-480-0999.
 
Thank you Lauren!
We recently hosted Workforce Solutions job trainee Lauren Perry. A recent Baytown high school graduate, Lauren worked closely with Tricia in the office and also helped out with some nursery activity. We all enjoyed her friendliness and appreciate getting to know her. She’s now attending Brazosport College. Good luck in the future Lauren!
 
Regular Bird Banding will return in October – This month join us banding hummers at XHX!
 
Bird banding will return on October 19th at noon. Come see birds in the hand and learn about the science of bird banding. The earlier you arrive the more birds you’ll see.
 
And while you’re here, why not check out our native plant nursery and wander our trails too? We even have picnic tables set up for an outdoor lunch — It’s the perfect nature outing for the family!
 
Have you updated your email preferences yet?
 
We’re working on fine tuning our email list so that you only get emails that matter to you. At the very bottom of each email there is an “update profile” or “unsubscribe” link you can click that will take you to a page where you can make your selections. We now have specific lists for things like volunteer news, special announcements, events, bird of the month, and more. Please take a moment to update your preferences if you haven’t already. Thank you!
 
How Can You Help?
 
You can help support GCBO’s mission in several important ways!
Save a Tree and some $!
We are trying to go as paperless as we can to save some trees and quite a bit on printing and mailing costs. We would love if you would let us email you instead of snail mailing a hard copy of any correspondence, including your future copies of the Gulf Crossings. Please email or call Tricia to say: “Hey, GCBO, please start emailing me things! Here is my email…”   Thanks!   
 
DONATE NOW on our website to support our conservation programs.
 
BECOME A MEMBER and receive our twice a year newsletter and a 10% discount in our nature store.
 
Make an in-kind donation to support our sanctuary needs.
 
Vaccuum
Our office vaccuum died and we’re in desperate need of a new one. Help us keep our headquarters clean!
 
Tents
We are in need of several 12’ x 12’ pop up tents/canopies. If you have one or more in good contention, we will put them to good use for kid’s camp, XHX, and Brew on the Bayou!
 
Black Oil Sunflower Seed and Chicken Scratch
We feed year-round here at GCBO, and during migration at Quintana. We stock our GCBO feeders to help augment natural foods, and this also helps our monthly banding research project. 
 
One Gallon Plastic Pots
We can use your used 1 gallon nursery plant pots for the Growery. We go through a lot of 1 gallon pots when potting up new plants. Let’s recycle them here. We’ll take one or a hundred! 
 
Now when you shop at Kroger, you can support GCBO!
GCBO is a registered charity through Kroger’s Community Rewards Program. This means that you can register your Kroger Plus Card online and select GCBO as the organization of your choice. Every time you use your Kroger Plus Card, Kroger will donate a portion back to GCBO! This is an easy way to support GCBO while you shop – your donations help us continue to protect birds and birding habitat around the Gulf Coast and beyond. To register your Plus Card, click here. Our charity number is #DN782.
 
 
Support GCBO When You Shop on Amazon!
 
Do you shop on Amazon? Did you know you can do that same shopping on Amazon Smile and support GCBO with every purchase? Just go to the Amazon Smile website and select GCBO as your charity of choice and then shop, shop, shop! GCBO will receive a donation for every purchase you make.
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