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Building the birding community in New York's Hudson-Mohawk Region

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Upcoming Programs

    • 5 Dec 2022
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • Five Rivers EEC, Delmar

    Program: The Birds of Vischer Ferry Preserve

    Speaker: John Hershey 

    John will talk about some of his experiences birding at the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve for the last 20 years. He will provide a “tour” of some of the main birding spots and trails in the Preserve. Most importantly, he will share some of his favorite bird photos taken there which illustrate the bird species characteristic of the Preserve and its habitat. These would include ducks, woodpeckers, swallows, warblers, blackbirds, shorebirds, herons, rails, and bitterns.  He will be sure to talk about the “mega-rarity” Violet-green Swallow which was discovered there last year, and perhaps a few other lesser rarities as well.  

    John is a former Secretary and Director for HMBC.  He has been leading HMBC field trips to Vischer Ferry Preserve, Peebles Island, and Fox Hill Road for many years.  Birding has led him to travel throughout North America and more recently to Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, and India.  He has presented a number of HMBC programs on some of his favorite birding trips.  He is semi-retired and works part time as a psychologist in private practice.  

    Feel free to bring a dessert or snack to share. Alcohol not permitted. 

    • 6 Feb 2023
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    • In-person at Five Rivers EEC, also via Zoom

    Monday, February 6, 2023 HMBC Program

    Location: Hybrid in-person at Five Rivers and via Zoom

    Title: What’s hatching in NY?

    Speaker: Julie Hart

    The New York Breeding Bird Atlas is conducted every 20 years and aims to document the distribution of all breeding birds statewide. This is the third time an Atlas has been undertaken in NY, which will help document changes over the past 40 years. This monumental effort is achieved with the help of a massive team of community scientists. Over 3000 birders have already contributed to the current Atlas by submitting observation of breeding birds to the project! We’ve completed three years of the five year survey. Come find out what’s been recorded so far, what remains to be done, and how you can help. Every observation helps conserve the birds of New York State.

    Julie started birding while working as a bird conservation intern in Ithaca. She traveled for several years doing field work around the globe, then spent several years chasing high elevation birds around the Northeast and Hispaniola as the coordinator for Mountain Birdwatch, before she went on to earn her Master’s degree studying the impacts of climate change on Cassia Crossbill in southern Idaho. After spending several years abroad, she is now the Project Coordinator for the third Breeding Bird Atlas in NY. Atlasing is her favorite type of birding.


    • 3 Apr 2023
    • 6:00 PM - 9:30 PM
    • Century House, Latham

    Program: Audubon's Migratory Bird Initiative

    Speaker: Chad Witko, Senior Coordinator, Avian Biology, National Audubon Society

    The mission of the Migratory Bird Initiative is to secure the future of migratory birds in the Western Hemisphere by reducing direct threats and protecting key places across the Americas in coordination with science, conservation and policy partners.

    The Initiative brings together the latest spatial information on species distributions and movements across their annual cycles to identify priority areas for 458 species of migratory birds that regularly occur in the United States and Canada. We will use this information to define where and how to focus Audubon’s conservation investments in order to protect, restore and manage key habitat and also mitigate threats along full migratory pathways for these species.

    Audubon expects to achieve these goals by 1) consolidating and elevating the best-available migration science, filling research gaps and identifying real-time threats throughout annual cycle; 2) strengthening connections and cooperation among key stakeholders such as government agencies, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and the Audubon network, and 3) informing policy advocacy at the local, state and federal level to drive science-based conservation.

    Migratory birds face threats during all stages of the annual cycle, and these threats are accelerating. Fortunately, scientific data, particularly during migration, are accumulating; however, we need to act swiftly and collectively to protect birds and the places they need before the opportunities to do so disappear. Partnerships will be central to the success of the Migratory Bird Initiative, and Audubon looks forward to building and strengthening relationships with other key research and conservation organizations.

    As Senior Coordinator, Chad Witko communicates about the Migratory Bird Initiative and other science programs within Audubon, working with data and knowledge holders across the Western Hemisphere to build relationships and acquire migratory bird datasets. Through this work, he is a principal contributor to the development of the Bird Migration Explorer.

    As an expert birder and ornithologist, Chad provides a lifetime of birding knowledge and nearly twenty years of field experience to the National Science Division at Audubon.

    Before joining Audubon in 2019, Chad worked on various bird research, conservation, and education projects across the United States. These include developing avian conservation strategies linked to forestry efforts in New Hampshire, serving as an eBird state reviewer, mist-netting and banding migratory passerines in California, and educating visitors to Eastern Egg Rock about seabird restoration efforts for Project Puffin.

    Chad holds a BS in Environmental and Forest Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and an MS in Conservation Biology and a Certificate in Applied Spatial Analysis for GIS from Antioch University New England. He currently resides in Vermont with his partner and daughter.





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