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For the Birds

Listen online to our radio program as heard on WJFF. Each short segment is focused around a specific topic (related to birds, of course!) and packed with interesting tidbits. More »

 

AUDUBON ANNOUNCES 117th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT – A DAY OF NATURE AND ADVENTURE

Winter Cardinal

Northeast PA Audubon Society is asking for volunteers to join the 117th Annual International Christmas Bird Count on Saturday December 17, 2016. Volunteer birders will travel the area beginning at dawn and ending when the last volunteer is finished! This is a wonderful way to take note of the many birds that are here at this time of year. You might get a chance to see late migrating birds if the weather permits. The count was established in 1900, as an alternative to the year end “side hunt”, when hunters would take to the fields to shoot as many birds as possible before sitting down to Christmas Dinner!

Today’s Audubon Christmas Bird Count mobilizes over 70,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,300 locations across the Western Hemisphere. The CBC utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that professional scientists could never accomplish alone. Because birds are an early indicator of environmental threats to habitats, tracking and recording changes in their location are valuable to the understanding of weather patterns and consequently, the changing climate and its affect on our world.

White Mills is the center of the count circle which was established over 25 years ago. During that time volunteers have counted as many as 45 species including waterfowl and wintering hawks. We have seen an increase in Bald Eagles in the area and the occasional Common Loon. Counters travel by car and on foot within designated areas of the 15 mile wide circle.

If you are interested, call Barbara at (570) 253-2364. You don’t have to be an expert birder because we will partner you with those more experienced volunteers. You can also count from your window feeder. If you love nature, birds and adventure this day is made for you!

Coffee for Conservation: From Honduras to Honesdale

From Honduras to Honesdale

Left: Honduran coffee farmer Emilio Garcia brings microlot samples to Black and Brass Coffee in Honesdale.
Right: Emilio’s shade-grown coffee farm in Honduras.

Try a cup of Honduran coffee for free at Black & Brass Coffee Roasting Co., 520 Main St. in Honesdale on Sat., Nov. 26 from 11am-4pm. The event, sponsored by the Northeast PA Audubon Society, showcases “shade-grown” coffee grown by a collective of Honduran farmers. That evening, starting at 7pm at the Chamber of Commerce on Commercial St. in Honesdale, we will host a fascinating program on how such shade-grown coffee helps provide habitat for threatened birds that summer in our area. Featuring lots of great photos, you’ll learn all about where this special organic, shade-grown coffee comes from in Honduras and how it is grown.

The “Honduran” coffee available at Black & Brass in Honesdale is cultivated at over 4,000 ft. above sea level in the mountainous region of Marcala in southwestern Honduras — an area renowned for producing some of Central America’s highest quality coffee. It’s also an area where Golden-winged Warblers and other migratory songbirds spend the winter.

“Many of ‘our’ birds actually spend more time elsewhere than they do with us,” says Chris Fischer, Conservation Co-chair of the Northeast PA Audubon Society. “Migratory bird species depend on a variety of sites throughout their annual migration cycle: their breeding grounds, wintering grounds and stopover points while in transit. Threats encountered at any point during the migration cycle can have dire consequences.”

One of the most threatened songbirds in North America, the Golden-winged Warbler has one of the smallest populations of any songbird not on the Endangered Species List. Once found throughout Wayne County, sightings here are now considered rare.

One of the main reasons for its sharp decline is habitat loss, both here in the U.S. where the Golden-winged Warbler breeds and in Central and South America where it spends the winter.

You can make a difference — helping save the Golden-winged Warbler and over 40 more of our other migratory songbirds — by choosing organic, shade-grown coffee.

The vast majority of coffee today is full-sun grown as it provides increased yields. Clear-cutting forests for full-sun coffee plantations increases soil erosion and contributes to deadly mudslides. Full-sun grown coffee requires large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, producing toxic run-off and acidifying the soil. In contrast, shade-grown coffee is grown beneath the forest canopy rather than in the full sun, preserving biodiversity and providing important habitat that benefits many bird species and other wildlife.

Sun-grown coffee comes not only at the expense of the environment, but of the coffee’s flavor. “Shade-grown coffee is a win-win for coffee drinkers,” says local coffee connoisseur John Harvey. “On top of being good for the land and wildlife, it has a superior taste because of the natural way it is grown. You get more taste from the soil just like with wine.”

The “Honduran” coffee available at Black & Brass in Honesdale comes directly from a small collective of independent organic shade-grown coffee farmers who are committed to their communities, biodiversity, and operating with complete transparency. Descendants of an indigenous Lenca tribe, they donate 5% of their profits to helping the children of Honduras.

These farmers were connected with Black & Brass via the Northeast PA Audubon Society in cooperation with Partners in Neotropical Bird Conservation (PINBC). Following an exploratory trip to Honduras this past February, PINBC was formed with the mission to promote bird conservation and education with an emphasis on Neotropical migrants using the Golden-winged Warbler as a flagship species. They are working with the coffee farmers to make their farms even more bird friendly in addition to helping them sell their coffee in the U.S.

Saw-whet Owl Banding, Oct. 14

firstowl1

Join us at the Monroe Educational Center in Stroudsburg on Friday, October 14th at 8pm to see this tiny owl! We’ll join Darryl and Jackie Speicher of Pocono Avian Research Center as they capture, measure, and examine saw-whet owls. We have caught saw-whets every year except for one, so your chances of seeing one are excellent.

We have been joining Darryl and Jackie to observe this owl banding for several years and we had our best year in 2009 when they captured 9 Saw-Whets that night. Nine adults and children had the opportunity to hold and release these little owls. Though there is no guarantee that we will catch these owls on any night, we have caught at least one every year that Audubon has brought people to the banding.

They capture them in mist nets which are fine nets that are stretched across an area. They place a recorder on one side of the nets that broadcasts saw-whet owl calls. Hopefully the little owls will be attracted by the calls they hear broadcast and fly into the net where Darryl will carefully remove them, put them in a cloth bag to calm them down and bring them to where some of us are waiting. When he goes to the nets you will have the choice of staying where they examine owls or join Darryl at the nets.

We schedule this on a Friday night so children can attend, as they don’t have school the next day. We hope you will bring your children as we believe this kind of event will expand their interest in nature. Our children are the future stewards of this planet so we hope we can get them interested in nature and the environment.

This is an exciting event for both children and adults, so come join us and enjoy the night.

For further information and reservations please call Bob at 570-676-9969 or email him at jeanbob@ptd.net

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