Time: Refreshments at 7:30PM, program at 8:00 PM


Cost: Free


Speaker: Barry Boulton


Topic: Insights into Avian Lifestyles & Behaviors



Barry Boulton, Western Grebes


Description: The common ancestor of birds and humans, some kind of cold-blooded reptile, goes back over 300M years. As birds navigate their lives in an always-precarious world, their behaviors are varied and fascinating, having evolved and adapted with many different patterns. Some behaviors are obvious while others are more subtle - as with sibling aggression and adult sexual selection among egrets at the Google campus rookery compared to the multi-generational cooperation of Western Bluebirds. We will observe and discuss these egret and bluebird behaviors along with those of several other species to see how they respond to their specific challenges. Interestingly, when we watch birds carefully, we see much in common with us that can even provide insight into human behaviors and motivations despite that long history of evolutionary divergence.


Using video sequences we will view and analyze many behaviors such as courtship displays, foraging, caring for young, sibling competition, and weaning off etc.  In addition to discussing what they are doing in the moment, we will also talk about speciation, adaptation, natural selection, sexual selection and so on. In doing so, we will touch on the commonality of avian and human behaviors.


Barry Boulton is President of Central Sierra Audubon Society (Calaveras & Tuolumne counties) as well as Newsletter Editor. Soon after becoming an active Audubon member, he had the opportunity to write a weekly article on birds for a county newspaper, the Union Democrat, which pulled him into bird behavior and activity for those three years. This inspired his interest in, and fascination with, avian behaviors and as a videographer it became an obvious path to use video as the dynamic medium to show, describe and analyze those behaviors. In retirement, his passion is in video-shooting, analyzing, researching and presenting bird behaviors.