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Calendar: Speaker Series

| January | February | March | April | May | June | July/August |

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

December 2014

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!

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January 2015

Saving the Burrowing Owl
Joshua McCluskey
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Burrowing Owl by Tom Grey Burrowing Owl by Tom Grey Joshua McCluskey of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
Burrowing Owls (photos by Tom Grey) and Joshua McCluskey

One of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society's most important projects is to monitor and restore Western Burrowing Owl populations in the South Bay. This past summer, we had tremendous breeding success at a 180-acre site that we are managing for Burrowing Owls in San Jose. Come; learn about this pint-sized owl in peril! Joshua will discuss the many methods used by SCAVS, San Jose State University Environmental Studies Department, and the City of San Jose to prevent local extirpation of this wonderful species. He will also discuss future constraints and challenges that face these owls. You will be entertained by engaging video footage of owl chicks and a short informational video.

Joshua McCluskey is SCVAS's Burrowing Owl Conservation Project Manager. He has a B.Sc. in Environmental Studies with a focus on restoration and resource management with a minor in Urban Studies from San Jose State University, in addition to Associates degrees in Environmental Stewardship and Biodiversity Specialist from De Anza College. He works tirelessly to protect Coyote Valley and to contribute to wildlife connectivity research in the South Bay Area.

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February 2015

Condors and People: How We Live (or Die) Together
Nicole Sault
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Burrowing Owl by Tom Grey
Nicole Sault

While condors are once again flying over the California countryside, they are still endangered in both North and South America. Throughout the Americas they are threatened by habitat loss, lead, micro-trash, hunting and poisoning. Although condors are revered by many, even admiration can become a threat, as seen in the growing feather trade for tourists and the capture of condors for ceremonies in an area of highland Peru. Her presentation will provide an anthropological perspective on how a wide variety of people in the Andes view condors, including biologists and hunters, conservationists and ranchers, archeologists and herders, historians and village leaders. She will also address issues that California condors face. The goal is to understand what is happening and learn how to protect condors for future generations throughout the Americas.

Nicole Sault became a member of Santa Clara Valley Audubon decades ago, but as her research takes her abroad many of us have not had a chance to meet her. Her focus is on Andean condors, based on research in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, but she also looks at the history of California condors. Nicole works with various organizations on both continents, including Friends of California Condors Wild and Free. During years of research among indigenous peoples in the Americas she has learned about the symbolic meaning of birds and what they can teach us through birdsong and behavior. Studying the cultural context for relationships between birds and people or ethno-ornithology, has lead her to examine the roles of various birds besides condors, such as hummingbirds, vultures and macaws. As a cultural anthropologist, she began doing research in Mexico among the Zapotec.. More recently her research among the Bribri of Costa Rica can be found in: Ethno-ornithology: Birds, Indigenous Peoples, Culture and Society. Edited by Sonia Tidemann and Andrew Gosler. Earthscan. London. 2010.

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March 2015

Program will be announced

April 2015

Attu: Extreme birding in the Aleutian Islands
Julio Mulero
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whiskered Aucklet Gray-crowned Rosy Finch Julio Mulero
Whiskered Aucklet, Gray-crowned Rosy Finch, and Julio Mulero

Attu, a legendary place that needs little introduction to birders, has been the site of many first North American records due to its proximity to Asia. Historically, the island was the site of the only World War II land battle fought on U.S. territory and its battlefield area is a National Historic Landmark. This presentation starts out birding in Adak and chronicles the 3-day pelagic trip to and from Attu with several stopping points along the way. The logistics of traveling to and within Attu, the westernmost point of the United States, as well as the current state of the island's infrastructure will be described. Please join us on a photographic tour of the birds and landscapes of this remote and very unique corner of our nation.

Julio is a member of Bay Area Bird Photographers (BABP) where he first presented this program - it was so well-received that he agreed to present it to us also. He holds a PhD in Molecular Biology and his research focuses on forensic human identification through DNA analysis. Julio and his wife, Renee, support the U.S. economy through their frequent domestic birdwatching trips and are longtime active members and volunteers for SCVAS.

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May 2015

A Photo Tour of Bird Behavior
Steve Zamek
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Steve Zamek Motmots Grebes
Steve Zamek, Motmots, and Grebes

Can a snake strangle a heron? Why would a nuthatch feed bluebird chicks? Do hawks play with their prey? What do flycatchers feed their young? How are verdins like hummingbirds? Answers to these questions, and more, can be found in the photos presented this evening by local bird photographer Steve Zamek.

Steve has spent much of the past several years lugging around camera gear in an effort to capture the beauty and behavior of birds in their natural habitat. The images shared will include a wide variety of bird behavior, including courtship, mating, tending young, hunting, territorial defense, and nest building.

Come enjoy the fascinating world of bird behavior, from the mundane to exciting, endearing to violent, commonplace to unexpected.

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June 2015

Annual Meeting with potluck picnic and volunteer recognition
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
6 PM
McClellan Ranch, Cupertino (get directions)

Join your fellow SCVAS members for the Annual Meeting on the lovely grounds of McClellan Ranch Preserve, where our headquarters is located. We will enjoy a dinner-potluck with old and new friends so please bring a main dish, casserole, salad, or hors d'ouevres to share. Beverages and desserts will be supplied by SCVAS. Bring your own plates and utensils so we can do our part to reduce waste. Meet the SCVAS Staff, Board Members and Officers, and vote in the annual Board Officer elections. Browse our fantastic Nature Shop! We will also present awards to our many deserving volunteers during the short program. Come, join us!

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July and August 2015

There are no programs in July and August. But our Nature Shop and Headquarters (get directions) are open! Join one of our other events going on this summer. Our Speaker Series resumes in September.

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Tel: (408) 252-3747 / Fax: (408) 252-2850