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Friday, January 19, 2018

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Merry Christmas News from Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

December, 2009




In this Issue:


GCBO Annual  Holiday Sale


Smith Point Hawk Watch Ends 13th Season


Dauphin Island Land Acquisition


Adopt-a-Hummingbird For Christmas


2010 Birding Classic Art


Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO


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If you found this e-newsletter interesting, please consider taking the next step and becoming a member or volunteering for one of our many outreach activities.  If you are already a member, thank you for your support!  Check out our Ways to Donate page for more opportunities to support our conservation efforts. 

Photos courtesy of John Porter and GCBO staff.
View on GCBO website.

December 2009

Smith Point Hawk Watch Ends 13th Season

The Smith Point Hawk Watch ended it's 13th season on November 15 and we bid good-bye to our two fantastic hawk watchers, Jennifer Ottinger and Melissa Schlothan

. Despite a very slow start, Jennifer and Melissa pulled off the second highest total raptor count ever at Smith Point, mostly due to the 85,210 Broad-winged Hawks that graced us with their presence this fall.  They also spotted a beautiful Golden Eagle late in the count and tallied the latest ever Mississippi Kite on November 1.  On the flip side, they counted the lowest totals ever of Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon.  We can only hope that those species simply chose a different route this year as no inferences about population status can be made from a single hawk watch.  We would like to thank Bill Saulman and Kelly Sampeck for their continued dedication as a volunteer.  If you would like to volunteer to count next year, please contact John Arvin.

Dauphin Island Land Acquisition

Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries (DIBS) located on Dauphin Island, Alabama has been a member of GCBO's Site Partner Network since 1993.  Long recognized as a migrant trap attracting large numbers of neotropical migrants each spring and fall, it is often counted as one of the top ten sites visited by birders in the U.S. during spring migration.  John Porter, DIBS Executive Director, has been working tirelessly for many years to acquire property lot by lot to provide habitat for migratory birds in need.  In November, with funds supplied by a GCBO grant through the Neotropical Bird Conservation Act, John was able to add two new lots to the sanctuary.  As shown in the photo above, the habitat is superb and we know the birds will appreciate it. 

Adopt-a-Hummingbird For Christmas

Know someone who loves birds? Consider our Adopt-a-Hummingbird program for Christmas.  We banded over 200 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds during the fall migration this year and many of them remain un-adopted.  You can help support GCBO's efforts on behalf of the birds by adopting one of these gems for your favorite bird lover as a Christmas present.  Adoptions are $20 and you will receive a certificate like the one pictured above with the information for your particular hummingbird. If the bird is recaptured, we will let you know when and where.  Contact us today to be part of this exciting project and help support the birds for Christmas!

2010 Birding Classic Art

Here it is – the original art for the 2010 Great Texas Birding Classic. Orioles of the Valley by John P. O’Neill. The 2010 Classic will conclude on the Lower Texas Coast so when John asked about ideas we discussed colorful groups of birds that are specialties of the area and away he went. When the picture arrived, we were again very pleased. In January the on-line auction will open to raise funds for the Conservation Grant fund and this beautiful water color will be part of it. For more information on the 2010 Great Texas Birding Classic go to

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

Join us from 8:00 until noon on Saturday, December 19th for our monthly bird banding session.  Watch as Robert & Kay Lookingbill band the birds and explain how to determine the species, age, and sex of birds in the hand.  We've already caught several winter returnees from previous years and are hoping for more this month.  Come out and see what surprises are in store for us. This is a great way to get kids excited about wildlife, but all ages are welcome.  See the map on our webpage for directions.  Note that mapquest and googlemaps will not guide you to the right place using our address.


Happy Holidays from all of us at GCBO! | Telephone 979-480-0999 | Contact Us


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