‘Second Chance for Wild Wings’ with Liberty Wildlife, part of the Arizona SciTech Festival, March 12

Join us Tuesday, March 12, 7:00 pm, Gilbert Community Center, 130 North Oak Street, Gilbert for Second Chance for Wild Wings as volunteers with Liberty Wildlife demonstrate the resilience and care required of injured Arizona wildlife.

Bring kids and cameras and be ready for raptor stare-downs.

Bring kids and cameras and be ready for raptor stare-downs.

Bring kids & cameras as we visit with some of Arizona’s most charismatic birds (which may include eagles, owls or hawks).
Come early to browse our mobile book shop, visit, and discover volunteer opportunities with Desert Rivers Audubon.
FREE. Light refreshments served.

Feb2012DRAS2Part of the Arizona Scitech Festival.

Spearheaded by Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona State University, and the University of Arizona and over 350 organizations statewide, the Arizona SciTech Festival, held annually in February and March celebrates the scientific wonders, resources, and opportunities in our state and their potential global impact.

Join Desert Rivers Audubon for the Great Backyard Bird Count February 15-18, 2013

Kick-off Saturday, February 16th @ Gilbert Riparian Preserve

Join Desert Rivers Audubon at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, 2757 E. Guadalupe Road Gilbert, to kick-off the Great Backyard Bird Count, Saturday, February 16, 2013, 8am-12 noon.

The goal of The Great Backyard Bird Count is to watch birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count then enter tallies at the Count’s website. Watch live data coming in and look up your area by zip code to see the Count progress in your city. Anyone can participate; it’s free. Participants can count anywhere they wish, not just in backyards, but in neighborhoods, parks, nature centers, or anywhere they see birds.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, Bird Studies Canada and sponsored by Wild Birds Unlimited.

“This year’s count will give us a whole new perspective as sightings pour in from around the globe in real time,” said Marshall Iliff at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Millions of people encounter birds every day all over the world. Imagine what scientists will learn if each one of us shares observations from our own area!

“Once again, we’ll be able to coach East Valley residents in their bird identification skills Saturday during our free Family Birdwalk at Gilbert Riparian Preserve, Saturday, February 16, 2013, 8am-noon,” added Eileen Kane, Communications Director, Desert Rivers Audubon Society. “We hope to see those citizen scientists who helped us last year as well as new folks interested in knowing more about their neighborhood wildlife. Kids can count, too!”

During the 2012 count, participants reported 17.4 million bird observations on 104,000 checklists.

Keep watch for American Goldfinch.

“The GBBC is an ideal opportunity for young and old to connect with nature by discovering birds and to participate in a huge science project,” said Gary Langham, Audubon’s Chief Scientist. “This year, we hope people on all seven continents, oceans, and islands, will head out into their neighborhoods, rural areas, parks, and wilderness to further our understanding of birds across the hemispheres.”

Part of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

Volunteers needed for Hope Kids birdwalks in January

Anne Koch,
Volunteer Coordinator,
Desert Rivers Audubon
kidsWe have 2 important events upcoming in the New Year for which we will need extra volunteers, both in our booth and to do birdwalks, with children and families. Both will be at Gilbert Riparian.
On Sat Jan 12th, from 9:15 am, we will be taking out families from the Hope Kids organisation. These families have children with severe disabilities and /or life threatening or chronic illness. Hope Kids organizes activities for these families each weekend.
On Sat  Feb 9th, from 9:45 am, we will be taking out families from the Foundation for Blind Children, whose purpose is to create opportunities for anyone with vision loss to achieve, and provide a support system for families. We will have birdsong recordings and tactile (hands on) activities for these children. You do not need to be an expert birder to help out as the birding will be very basic and you will be given information to help you make this a rewarding experience for both you and the children.
Liberty Wildlife will be doing a presentation for both groups and we will have a craft activity afterwards for them. Several members of the board have been working hard putting all this in place.
We will need help setting up, from 8:30 am, and with the crafts after the walk. We generally have an excellent turnout for both events, usually anywhere from 10 to 20 “Hope” families, and around 20 blind children, with their helpers.
Please let me know if you think you can help out in any way, or if you have any questions. These are such rewarding activities. The first birdwalk I helped with, was with the Hope Kids, and it got me hooked!
Thank you so much!

What we accomplished this past year and our plans for the future

By Krys Hammers,
Desert Rivers Audubon

Dear Desert Rivers Audubon Members and Friends,

Krys Hammers (l), President, Desert Rivers Audubon, with Greg Clark of Wild at Heart and feather friend.

At the end of each year, we assess what we accomplished in the past year, and make plans for the future. We also make this appeal to our friends to consider giving Desert Rivers a special gift above and beyond your membership dues.

Since membership dues do not begin to cover operation costs, we depend upon corporate gifts, book sales, recycling of aluminum cans, raffle income, and our year-end appeal to help keep Desert Rivers financially healthy and moving forward. In these tough economic times, charitable giving for conservation is on the decrease, and yet the needs remain.

Desert Rivers has continued to actively work to fulfill our mission: to educate and inspire our community on birds, wildlife and their habitats.

Last year, Desert Rivers engaged the public and its members with the following programs, all of which are free.

We received a Together Green grant to partner with Wild at Heart to build 100 burrows for Burrowing Owls at Zanjero Park. The burrows were built in Oct, 2011 and 10 owls were released in April. Again this spring we will build a tent to temporarily house another 10 owls. After 30 days they will be released to the area.

We’ve recently hosted our first annual Tour de Bird, a tour of urban bird habitats that demonstrate how everyone can help birds in their own backyard.

The Field Trips program had over 400 attendees to locations around town and the state. These trips are an important way we introduce new friends to birding and the conservation message.

Thanks to volunteers, who donated almost 600 hours, we’ve continued our monthly public birdwalk programs at Chandler’s Veterans Oasis Park and the Gilbert Riparian Preserve. These birdwalks help engage our community with an appreciation for Arizona birds and conservation message. Every child leaves with a gift to help them continue to appreciate the birds around them.

Joy Dingley hosts her Early Birds Club for children 7 – 13. These enthusiastic children have not only watched birds, they have drawn birds, listened to them, and studied their habitat and diets.

With our preserve partners, we hosted field trips for a group of blind children who learned to appreciate nature by hearing, touch and smell. We also provided a special morning program for the Hope Kids, a charity for families with children dealing with life-threatening conditions.

Our regular monthly programs at the Gilbert Community Center have attracted and inspired members and guests on a variety of topics of concern and interest.

Our top-notch newsletter highlights the happenings at our chapter, as well as provides in-depth information about conservation and wildlife topics.

This season, from September 2012 through May 2013, we will continue with these programs. We will also offer additional educational materials, and enhance our Audubon at Home Award Program, which recognizes people who have created healthy bird habitats. At this time we are specifically in need of a utility trailer where we can store and transport all of our equipment to events.

We truly appreciate your support to ensure Desert Rivers continues to offer these programs.  All of your gift will be used locally by Desert Rivers and is tax-deductible. Thank you.

Early Birds: April Picnic, Bird Watch & Centennial Challenge

By Joy Dingley
Early Birds Club
Desert Rivers Audubon

We seem to make a habit of choosing a date for our picnic that gives us extreme weather. One year it was torrential rain at Boyce Thompson Arboretum and this year it was extremely hot on our trip to some of the Salt River birding spots.

We made a good start by seeing a Harris Hawk at our meeting place of the junction of Power Road and McKellips and we continued to get some of our target birds, including Western Tanager, Lucy’s Warbler, Vermillion Flycatcher and, of course, Bald Eagle.

Birding the Salt River with Desert Rivers Audubon’s Early Birds children’s club.

We had time for a picnic at Coon Bluff but even by 10.30 am it was getting very, very hot and that’s as far as we got before we decided to call it a day. We have, however, added a lot of birds to our list which now stands at 77 species. That only leaves us 23 to get before the end of January 2013 and since we will be meeting mostly at Gilbert that’s a very challenging number.

The children now have a Summer Challenge to work on until we meet again in October.

We’re always happy to have new members join, aged between 7 and 14. So if you know of any families who might be interested you’ll find Jamie’s contact information on our website. We also enjoy having experienced birders go out with the older children at Gilbert on the third Saturday of the month so If you have some time and would like to help us get those last few birds please contact me, Joy Dingley,  joy.dingley@cox.net.

A Hundred Birds for a Hundred Years

By Joy Dingley
Early Birds Club
Desert Rivers Audubon

The Early Birds have set themselves a target in this Centennial Year for Arizona. They are going to try to find 100 bird species. They began in February and submitted their list to the Great BackYard Bird Count which is run by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.

We are hoping lots of people will want to sponsor us at a few cents per bird. At one cent for each species the sponsor would pay one dollar if we manage to see 100 different species. What we would like to do with the money is buy a set of good field guides so we can all use them when we go out together.

These are the “rules” for adding species. We can only add a bird if it has been seen when we are out together as a group at our normal monthly meetings. So no birds seen while any of the children are on vacation. The counting stops after our meeting in January 2013 – that will be a year after we started.

So one hundred birds will not be easy to find. We have seen 55 different species since we began and we are keeping our record on E-bird. But we’ve only got Oct, November, December and January at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve and one other meeting when we have our annual picnic at a location that has yet to be decided. So it’s not going to be so easy!

If you would like to help us by sponsoring us,  email me, joy.dingley@cox.net. Wish us luck!