Upcoming Virtual Programs
Raptors of Long Island
Stella Miller, WBU
Thursday, September 7 at 7:00pm
All birds, even those as different as a Bald Eagle and a hummingbird, share some common traits, such as feathers, wings, and egg laying. But, certain characteristics set the group of birds called raptors, or birds of prey, apart from other birds. The word raptor comes from the Latin rapere, which means to seize or plunder — the perfect way to describe birds that swoop down on their prey.
All raptors have a hooked beak, strong feet with sharp talons, remarkable eyesight, and a carnivorous diet. The family includes nocturnal hunting owls, day hunting hawks; fish-eating ospreys, go-speed racer falcons, majestic eagles and nature’s clean up crew, vultures. Some are migratory, while others are year-round residents of Long Island. Raptors are apex predators that can be seen everywhere: in your backyard, the city, or in the wilds. In this program you will learn about diurnal birds of prey, their life cycles and how to identify them.
About the speaker: Stella Miller is the Communication, Education and Outreach Manager at Wild Birds Unlimited of Syosset and the former president of Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon. Stella grew up passionate about wildlife from a very young age. Her love for birds, however, didn’t develop until much later in life. Once birds entered her life, she hit the ground running and transformed from an armchair activist into a boots on the ground conservationist. Since 2006, Stella has spearheaded conservation advocacy efforts including co-founding the Preserve Plum Island Coalition, launching a national campaign to help protect raptors at landfills, and coordinating various habitat restoration projects. She also mentored teenagers and ran a volunteer group called the Habitat Heroes, which was recognized by National Audubon as a model for other chapters.
She is a recipient of the Norman Stotz Award for Outstanding Chapter Leadership, awarded by Audubon New York, and was honored as one of the Oyster Bay Historical Society’s “Top Advocates for Historic Preservation and Education” for her dedication to preserving Long Island’s natural history. Since leaving Audubon she continues to advocate for birds and other wildlife through her position at WBU, as a public speaker, and as a founding board member of Reel Earth Films, a nonprofit documentary filmmaking organization.
In-store Bird Feeding Master Class
Christine Burke, WBU
Saturday September 23 at 9am
North America is filled with an amazing diversity of feeder birds. From tiny hummingbirds, chickadees, nuthatches and titmice to heftier cardinals, orioles and woodpeckers, we all have the chance to experience the joy of feeding birds and watching their delightful antics wherever we live. How do we attract these birds? What are the best feeders to set up? The best food to use? How can we deter other hungry critters that seem determined to eat us out of house and home?
Christine Burke, co-owner of WBU Syosset, will guide us as we learn how to create a backyard refuge for birds. You’ll learn the 12 elements of a thoughtful bird feeding station, as well as the right foods to serve to attract specific birds.
Join us for this instore master class in bird feeding!!!
Salamanders of the Desert
Doug Robinson, PhD
Thursday October 19 at 7pm
The desert is hardly the place for a lungless, skin-breathing amphibian to call home, but the Inyo Mountain Salamander (Batrachoseps campi) manages to do the impossible by eking-out an existence where so many organisms fail. To appreciate this amazing animal and its ability to survive, one must get boots to ground and explore this creature’s environmental proclivities. Join Dr. Robinson for an exploration of life at the edge of the Great Basin of North America to learn more about the life history of a truly incredible organism.
About the speaker: Dr. Robinson is an Associate Professor of Biology at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY. Dr. Robinson conducts behavioral and population biology research on birds and has spent decades following American Crows and their lives. His experiences have taken him around the world and include long-term stays on remote islands investigating seabird foraging biology, as well as supporting the well-being of Kākāpō Cocka poe in New Zealand. Dr. Robinson teaches Ecology, Anatomy and Physiology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology of New Zealand Flora and Fauna at the Mount.
How Birds See The World
Rob Fergus, PhD
Thursday November 9 at 7pm
Ever wonder what it is like to be a bird? We can never know exactly what it is like to be another species, but by paying attention to their perceptual abilities-including vision, hearing, taste, and other means of sensation-we can come up with an understanding of how they perceive and interact with their environment. This opens up a window into what it is like to be another species. In this presentation, we look literally at how birds see the world-including their field of view, color perception, ability to focus, and differentiate moments of time-and what that can tell us about what it is like for them to experience the world around them.
About the Speaker: Rob Fergus studies human-bird interactions and received his Ph.D. in geography from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Rob is the former executive director of Travis Audubon Society, founder of the Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory in Austin, Texas, and former National Audubon Senior Scientist for Urban Bird Conservation. He currently teaches geography and environmental studies at Rowan University and is vice president of the Birding Club of Delaware County. He lives in Wallingford, Delaware County, PA with his wife and cairnoodle, having previously fledged three children.