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.

‘Arizona Raptors: Off and On the Radar’ part of the Arizona SciTech Festival, February 12

Join us Tuesday, February 12, 7:00 pm, Gilbert Community Center, 130 North Oak Street, Gilbert as Richard Glinski, editor of Raptors of Arizona, discusses Arizona Raptors: Off and On the Radar.

Glinski, Park Supervisor, Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant, Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Department, shares stories about and his passion for conserving the eagles, hawks, kites, and owls of Arizona.

With over 40 species of birds of prey calling Arizona home, there will be ample time to admire these amazing raptor in photographs and descriptions of personal encounters.

Come early to browse our mobile book shop, visit, and discover volunteer opportunities with Desert Rivers Audubon.
FREE. Light refreshments served.

Part of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

Join us as we celebrate the Great Backyard Bird Count at Gilbert Riparian Preserve with the Arizona SciTech Festival February 16: http://azscitechfest.org/events/great-backyard-bird-count-gilbert-riparian-preserve

Join us as we celebrate the Great Backyard Bird Count at Gilbert Riparian Preserve with the Arizona SciTech Festival February 16, 2013, 8 am-noon.

For those who are not familiar with the Arizona SciTech Festival, this annual five-week festivity celebrates the scientific wonders, resources, and opportunities in our state and their potential global impact. The Festival integrates its interactive messaging in all corners of the state to all ages by collaborating with Arizona’s cultural, educational, research and business communities to explore the vital roles of science, engineering and technology in our own environments, across our nation and the world.

Volunteers needed for Hope Kids birdwalks in January

Anne Koch,
Volunteer Coordinator,
Desert Rivers Audubon
atredray@gmail.com
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!

Gilbert Family Birdwalks Kick-Off the Fall Season: “Bird’N’Bikes,” Saturday, October 20

Desert Rivers Audubon Field Trips Director & Liberty Wildlife volunteer Susie Vaught with owl & friends.

Gilbert Family Birdwalks resume in cooling fall temperatures, Saturday, October 20, 2012, 8am-noon, at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve, 2757 East Guadalupe Road  Gilbert.

Our Kick-off theme is “Birds’N’Bikes.” The Gilbert Riparian Preserve lies at the crossroads of the Western and Eastern Canal Paths which feature both Multi-Use Trails & Paved sections.
Families, bike commuters and urban trail fans can join in Biking to the Birdwalk which highlights the Audubon at Home Arizona program — promoting positive change in our daily activities to make life on Earth more sustainable. The Town of Gilbert is also a Bicycle Friendly Community.
Desert Rivers Audubon volunteer guides highlight native birds and other wildlife living & migrating through the preserve during walks happening throughout the morning. Multiple Birdwalks occur between 8am to noon.
Liberty Wildlife will have rehabilitated raptors on display.
Desert Rivers Audubon’s mobile book shop will have nature guides and children’s books as well as bird watching supplies available for purchase.
Binoculars will be available for loan as well as Bird Bingo games at no charge.

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These free walks are sponsored by Desert Rivers Audubon, The Riparian Preserve of Gilbert, and Liberty Wildlife.

Desert Rivers Audubon’s mobile book shop with children’s activity books and nature guides will be at Gilbert family Birdwalks.

“Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix” App Launch Party Saturday, Sept. 22nd, 2-4pm, Wild Birds Unlimited, Mesa

Desert Rivers Audubon’s mobile birding sites app in development.

Join Desert Rivers Audubon and business member Wild Birds Unlimited, Mesa, for our App launch, Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix, Saturday, September 22, 2012, 2-4pm at the Wild Birds Unlimited store, 2110 E. Baseline Rd. Suite 1, Mesa, AZ 85204. This event is free with light refreshments served.

Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix features:

The Birds-Eye Guide to 101 Birding Sites: Phoenix is now a smartphone app, Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix.

The Guide to 101 Birding Sites – Phoenix app is the the updated version of author Mike Rupp’s book, The Birds-Eye Guide to 101 Birding Sites: Phoenix.  The valley is divided into four quadrants to help the user decide where to go, and make the most of your time when you do. Urban sites are listed, as well as more rugged and remote sites outside the valley, with exact driving directions, and an index to all sites. Some sites may be familiar to local birders, but undoubtedly there are many new ones to explore.

Desert Rivers Audubon mobile birding app includes site descriptions highlighting birds likely to be seen.

The app will cost $9.99. It will be available for both iPhone and Android smartphones through the respective app marketplaces.

Feral Cat Problem at Gilbert Riparian Preserve Continues

In 1997, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) launched the Cats Indoors!Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats to educate cat owners, policy makers, and the general public that cats, wildlife, and people all benefit when cats are kept indoors, confined to an enclosure when outdoors, or trained to go outside on a harness and leash.

By Mike Evans
Conservation Director
Desert Rivers Audubon

As most of you know, we have had a feral cat problem at GWR. Since November 2010 we have trapped and removed over 125 cats from the Preserve. If you saw a recent Arizona Republic article, there was a different number given. Our number is correct.

Last summer we had the population of feral cats down to only a handful or less. This spring we observed increased numbers, more like ten to twelve feral cats. Jennie Rambo, the Park Naturalist, began trapping again. This summer she called and asked for some help and my son Aaron and I have assisted for the last several weeks. What we have observed, and discovered, is troubling.

The feral cat advocates have begun surreptitiously feeding the cats again. We have found several locations where they are distributing both dry and wet food. We have found camouflaged five gallon water containers, as well as one other container that looks like it was used to transport feral cats into the preserve. We have met with town staff and they have pledged to aggressively enforce the new ordinances that are in place that outlaw feeding the cats.

We have also learned that feral cats are being fed at the Lutheran church and school adjacent to the Preserve on the south side. Feral cats are also being fed at the medical office complex to the north of the Preserve across Guadalupe Road. Town officials are attempting to get these feeding locations shut down.

So, what can we do? Well, we must stay committed to our policy of no feral cats in the Preserve. We will continue to trap and remove cats as long as they are observed at GWR. If you see a cat during your visits there, report it by email to Riparian Preserve staff members on the Riparian Institute website. If you have some extra time and want to help with the trapping, Jennie would like some volunteers during the day to help trap. Those traps have to be watched so they aren’t stolen by feral cat advocates. If twilight or darkness is more your style, let me know if you would like to join us for evening trapping.

Finally, if letter writing is more your thing, send a letter to the Mayor and Town Council telling them that GWR is no place for feral cats. Together we can continue to maintain the Riparian Preserve at Gilbert Water Ranch as one of the premier urban birding locations in our state.

Join Desert Rivers Audubon for the Great Backyard Bird Count February 17-20, 2012

Kick-off Saturday, February 18th @ 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 18, 2012, 8am-12 noon.

Watch birds for at least 15 minutes…

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. Anyone can participate, it’s free, and no registration is required. Participants can count anywhere they wish, not just in backyards, but in neighborhoods, parks, nature centers, or anywhere they see birds.

Wild peach-faced lovebirds

Submit your list…

“This count is so fun because anyone can take part — we all learn and watch birds together — whether you are an expert, novice, or feeder watcher,” said Gary Langham, Audubon’s Chief Scientist. “I like to invite new birders to join me and share the experience. Get involved, invite your friends, and see how your favorite spot stacks up.”

Get some local coaching…

Black-crowned Night Heron

“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 18, 2012, 8am-noon,” added Eileen Kane, Communications Director, Desert Rivers Audubon Society.

More than 92,000 checklists were submitted during the last GBBC, with more than 11 million individual bird observations. The data help scientists get the big picture about how bird populations may be changing across the continent over time.

…become a Citizen Scientist!

“This is a very detailed snapshot of continental bird-distribution,” said John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Imagine scientists 250 years from now being able to compare these data with their own.  Already, with more than a decade of data in hand, the GBBC has documented changes in late-winter bird distributions.”

Earn prizes, too!

The count also includes a photo contest and a prize drawing for participants who enter at least one bird checklist online. The GBBC is hosted each year by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

Bring your Great Backyard Bird Count count sheets into Wild Birds Unlimited of Mesa, AZ & receive 2 lbs. of birdseed!