Calendar: Speaker Series
These free monthly programs feature scientists, photographers, authors, international travelers and others speaking on a wide range of topics related to birds and their environment.
Both members and non-members are invited to attend, but we encourage you to become a supporting member so we can continue this popular Speaker Series.
Time and Place: The programs are usually held on the third Wednesday of the month, except for December, July, and August. Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are held at
Cubberley Community Center, Room H1
4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
(see street view map or map PDF)
Refreshments at 7:30 PM, program at 8 PM
There is no program in December. Please stop by our Nature Shop and Headquarters (get directions) to do your holiday shopping in our wonderful Nature Shop. Come to our holiday open house in December featuring crafts made by local artisans, photography, refreshments, and more!
Living with Mountain Lions
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Mountain Lions and Zara McDonald
Wild cat conservationist and naturalist Zara McDonald will present an engaging and inspiring program about Mountain Lions and the current efforts to study and protect them. These keystone predators (also called Pumas and Cougars) play a critical role in maintaining the health and biodiversity of our ecosystems. However, expansion of human populations is causing increasing encounters and conflicts between humans and Mountain Lions, and growing tensions in our local communities. Zara will discuss their ecology, history, and the challenges of sharing habitats with them. She will offer essential tips for living and recreating without fear in Mountain Lion habitat.
Executive Director of Felidae Conservation Fund, Zara McDonald, lives nearby in San Francisco. Felidae Conservation Fund is a non-profit that aims to advance the conservation of wild cats and their habitats planetwide through a combination of groundbreaking research, compelling education and cutting-edge technology. Felidae works in both North and South America on different Mountain Lion research and conservation projects. The flagship project is the Bay Area Puma Project.
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Mysterious Marbled Murrelets
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Discover the elusive, endangered Marbled Murrelet, which lives most of its life at sea, but nests only in old-growth. The story begins with how this mysterious bird was "re-discovered" following a winter storm at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the early 1970s. Learn about marbled murrelet habitat, life cycle and the efforts underway to prevent its extinction in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Portia Halbert is an Environmental Scientist with the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks. For 13 years she has been part of a resource management team who works to manage parkland and restore habitat in the 70,000 acres of Parks in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. Her experience is based in field work: restoration using heavy equipment for earthmoving, planting and maintaining large areas with native plants, refining the work on invasive exotic plants and incorporating early detection and rapid response, and working with sensitive species such as the California red-legged frog and San Francisco garter snake. As a last and personal favorite, she is also a member of the statewide burn crew, helping to reintroduce fire to the landscape.
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To be Announced
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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Neotropical Raptor Projects in Belize
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
King Vulture, Ornate Hawk-eagle, and Ryan Phillips (left) tagging a Stygian Owl
Located on the Caribbean coast and bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is home to a large number of rare and endangered species including the Jaguar, Baird's Tapir, and Harpy Eagle. With approximately 70% of its native forest still intact, this small Central American country is an ideal location for research and conservation efforts. During this talk you will learn about Belize Raptor Research Institute's (BRRI) cutting edge research projects currently underway in Belize, such as the Solitary Eagle Project, Stygian Owl Project, Hook-billed Kite Project and the first Raptor Watch Program in Belize, as well as their conservation efforts in the Central American gem of Belize.
After spending three years in Belize working on The Peregrine Fund's Harpy Eagle Restoration Project, Ryan Phillips, Belize Raptor Research Institute Founding Director and Raptor Biologist, realized that nearly all the raptor species in the Neotropics were virtually unknown and faced many threats. That is why in 2009 Ryan formed BRRI dedicated to raptor research and conservation. The founding of BRRI represented the culmination of one of Ryan's lifelong goals of creating a conservation organization as he has spent extensive time in Central America and has worked in Belize for nine years. Ryan currently teaches in the Environmental Studies Department at De Anza College where he can use one of the most powerful conservation tools, education, to spread his passion about biodiversity to get younger generations excited and engaged in conservation biology.
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Birds, Birding and Birders of the Southern Cone
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Alvaro Jaramillo, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Flightless Steamer Duck, Torres del Paine National Park - all in Chile
The Southern Cone? Is that an Ice Cream place in Georgia? Nope, it is the triangle-shaped southern section of South America. The cone includes Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and the southern bits of Bolivia and Brazil. What makes it special is that there are so many habitats and neat areas here, the Pampas, Patagonia, the Matorral, the Humboldt Current, Iguazu Falls, the Yungas, the Chaco - so many spots that are truly and uniquely South American. It is the land of Rheas, penguins, horneros, seriemas, as well as Southern Right Whales, Marine Otters, Viscachas and Vicunas. A part of the world blessed with some enigmatic, unusual, beautiful and often rather unique creatures. But what absolutely is the icing on the cake is that the southern cone includes some of the most memorable and scenic parts of the Americas. This includes snow-capped volcanoes, huge granitic spikes, the big sky country of the Pampas and Patagonia and coastlines that are perhaps only rivaled by California for their beauty. Come enjoy an evening exploring a gorgeous part of the world and its equally fantastic bird and wildlife through the eyes of a birder-biologist who has an unbridled passion for this part of the world.
Alvaro Jaramillo was trained in ecology and evolution and has a particular interest in bird behavior. Research forays and backpacking trips introduced Alvaro to the riches of the Neotropics, where he traveled extensively. He is the author of two books, including the Birds of Chile, an authoritative yet portable field guide to Chile's birds. Alvaro writes the Identify Yourself column in Bird Watcher's Digest. He recently finished part of the sparrow chapter for the Handbook of Birds of the World, and is writing a photo guide to the birds and wildlife of Patagonia, as well as a field guide to the warblers. He runs a birding and nature tour company Alvaro's Adventures, where the focus is to have fun, learn a thing or two and just enjoy birds and nature.
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