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!

Volunteers Needed for Backyard Habitat Garden Tour

Tour de Bird is Desert Rivers Audubon’s wildlife habitat garden tour. It highlights both private backyard ecosystems designed to benefit birds and other wildlife, as well as public gardens demonstrating support of our bird habitat recognition program and migration corridors.

It takes place Saturday, October 27, 2012, 9am-2pm. The tour features gardens in Chandler, Gilbert and Scottsdale. This event is made possible by a grant from Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Heritage Education Fund.

Volunteer guided tours, plant lists, amd onsite ticket purchases available.

Tickets: $ 10, children 16 and under free. Will Call & map provided. Ticket purchases available online.  Backpack with children’s wildlife education materials and bird guides included with each ticket purchase. Additional backpacks available for a fee.

We need volunteer garden guides and ticket-takers, half or whole day shifts. Volunteers receive exclusive Tour preview. Contact Desert Rivers Audubon’s Volunteer Coordinator Anne Koch, Training provided. This is your opportunity to learn about or enhance your knowledge of bird and pollinator-attracting landscaping as well as fall blooming plants.
This event made possible by a grant from the Arizona Game & Fish Department’s Heritage fund.

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,

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, Wish us luck!

Gilbert Riparian Birdwalk Tomorrow (& Every Third Saturday)

Black-crowned Night Heron

Spotted last week in the Gilbert Riparian Preserve:

Wilson’s Snipe
Northern Pintail
Dowitcher Killdeer
Black-crowned Night Heron (juvenile)
White-crowned Sparrows
Cinnamon Teals
Orange-crowned Warbler

Please join us Saturday, February 19, 2011, to see these birds (and more!).


Gilbert Riparian Preserve

2757 East Guadalupe Road
Gilbert, AZ

The Gilbert Family Birdwalks are held every third Saturday of the month, October through March at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve, on the southeast corner of Greenfield and Guadalupe Rds in Gilbert (East of the library on the corner).

There have been over 200 bird species seen at this water recharge facilty, making this site one of the best birding spots in the east valley. These free walks are sponsored by Desert Rivers Audubon, The Riparian Preserve of Gilbert, and Liberty Wildlife.

We provide loaner binoculars, Bird Bingo Cards for kids, and expert leaders to take you around the ponds at both locations.

We also have field guide books and other nature items for sale at our display tent.

Walks leave every 15 minutes or so and last about 45 minutes.