Identifying shorebirds in the field is one of the more challenging activities for birders. Interest in meeting that challenge must be keen, however, because a recent ASNV class in shorebird identification, held at Fairfax High School August 16, sold out all seats.
Owls are our nocturnal neighbors, leading secretive lives in woods and fields around us. Rarely seen during the day, they can be hard to spot at night. Here are 12 things to know about these elusive birds.
ASNV members have the opportunity to participate in the third and final planting day at Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. September 19. Meet at Dyke Marsh next to the Haul Road trail. The National Park Service will provide tools, gloves, and water.
The Trump administration is seeking to change the Endangered Species Act in ways that will diminish 45 years of protections for jeopardized species and remove habitat protections that keep roads, pipelines, oil wells, and other development out of diminishing wildlife habitat. The administration says it is streamlining the law, but in fact it is threatening to turn the nation into a corporate-driven endangered-species factory.
Even if you have not visited the Prince William County landfill, you may have heard that it is a magnet for Bald Eagles, among other birds, including clouds of gulls. You can stand at a random spot and count more than 20 adult eagles at a time. Bit of a shame, really, that we have pulled Bald Eagles back from the brink of extinction, thanks largely to federal protective laws, only to have then turn into connoisseurs of rubbish.
ASNV on July 13th submitted comments to the National Park Service regarding plans for repair and reconstruction of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. This construction could have negative effects on bald eagles nesting near the parkway.
There’s one important item missing from this month’s President’s Message—when Carl Kikuchi thanked our retiring board members for their service he forgot to mention that he also is leaving us. That oversight is no surprise for a guy who never sings his own praises and who, sadly for us, is migrating permanently to join his flock in Arizona.
Plastics are an increasing threat to our environment. Birds are jeopardized too: an estimated 1 million sea birds die each year from ingesting plastic. In our throw-away culture, millions of plastic bottles and bags are simply tossed away yearly, without any thought to their environmental impacts.
Funded in part by contributions from the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV), 35 volunteers assembled at the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve on May 9 and June 9 to plant some 2,000 native trees and plants on a 0.65-acre site previously overwhelmed by non-native or invasive plants such as English ivy, mile-a-minute and stiltgrass.
At about 3 p.m. Friday we arrived at Cape Henlopen State Park, where we walked the beach along the bay. Officials had roped off part of the beach, excluding people for the protection of endangered Least Terns and Piping Plovers nesting there along with threatened Oyster Catchers. Using scopes, we saw Piping Plovers, Oyster Catchers, many Laughing Gulls, and various shorebird species.
Have you heard the one about Franklin opposing the Bald Eagle as national symbol? Well, it may not be true. The Bald Eagle has ranged widely across U.S. coins, paper currency, and government stationary for more than 200 years.
Do you have word processing skills? Would you like to (really) help ASNV? Our long-time devoted Webmaster has told us that he and his wife are moving to Arizona.
Many thanks to Northwest Federal Credit Union for its very generous gift of 100 Backyard Birds of the Mid-Atlantic folding guides. In addition to use in support of ASNV’s Youth Education Programs, the guides will be used in conjunction with Celebrating Birds, a summer-long, family-focused program investigating the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics of birds.
ASNV recognized Bob Shipman for his eleven years as compiler of the Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count, from 2007 through 2017. Over the eleven years, 1,071 observers participated, spending 1,811 hours looking for birds in their assigned areas, 32 hours owling, and 15 hours at feeder watches. They counted 241,735 individual birds.
The Northern Virginia Bird Survey is held annually in June. Carolyn Williams leads the effort. Many thanks to all who participated in the 2017 survey! 42 volunteers, including 6 new to the NVBS, covered 523 survey points and counted 7,394 birds representing 95 species. Survey results are available here.
An escape to warm, sunny Cuba with ASNV from December 6-15, 2017 was just the thing for eight intrepid birders. Led by Cuban ornithologist Alejandro Llanes Sosa and a Cuban government guide, we covered 1,315 miles in a comfortable Chinese Yutong bus, thanks to careful driver Joel. We observed 136 species, including 21 Cuban endemics and 15 regional endemics.
The 36th Annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count on December 17, 2017 was very successful. The day turned progressively warmer as 116 people scoured woods, lakes, fields and ponds counting 88 species (second highest species count ever) and 33,465 birds (highest number ever).
Application deadline March 15, 2018
Award announcement: By May 1, 2018
ASNV is pleased to announce two new grant programs designed to address habitat concerns and youth education.
We are still accumulating the figures for our 36th Annual Manassas-Bull Run Christmas Bird Count on December 17, 2017. The day turned progressively better as more than 100 people scoured woods, lakes, fields and ponds counting approximately 80 species and 20,000 birds.
Congratulations to Jim Waggener and his group of citizen scientists for another important milestone to preserve and share the tens of thousands of data that has been collected in the Occoquan region count circle.