GCBO February e-news
Tropical Forest Forever Fund Soars
The Tropical Forest Forever Fund (TFFF) is a permanent endowment whose proceeds are used to support the purchase and permanent protection of tropical rainforests and cloud forests in Latin America - the winter home of hundreds of our nation's songbird species. Since TFFF began in 1998, we have awarded grants totaling $512,476 and worked with partners in 10 different countries to protect 17,045 acres. Our latest grant, made this past December, was our third grant to save the dwindling Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil. Partnering with the American Bird Conservancy and Fundacao Biodiversitas this acquisition of 958 acres is now part of the Stresemann's Bristlefront Reserve on the border between the Brazil states of Bahia and Mina Gerais. After being identified as an Alliance for Zero Extinction site the Stresemann's Bristlefront Reserve was created in 2007 by the Brazilian conservation group Fundacao Biodiversitas. GCBO is proud to be a partner in protecting these amazing lands and their rich avifauna. For more information on this acquisition check our TFFF website page.
There's still time to compete in the Raptor Rodeo! This year we are expanding the timeframe and categories for our Raptor Rodeo event. Now you can compete within your region in Texas from January 15th through February 28th. Pick any day during that time period and go out and see how many raptors you can find. You can compete in one of five areas within the state including Far West Texas, Panhandle Plains, Prairies and Pineywoods, Heart of Texas, and Gulf Coast. The areas are delineated on the TPWD website. This citizen science project will help us get a handle on the number of wintering raptors and their general location and will support the Smith Point Hawk Watch. For a $50 donation you and up to three friends can spend a fun day counting raptors and knowing that you are doing your part to help GCBO keep the Smith Point Hawk Watch active! For more information check our website.
Spring Fling is Right Around the Corner
It's February and GCBO's Quintana Spring Fling is right around the corner. As in years past, Spring Fling will be held daily the entire month of April at Quintana Neotropic Bird Sanctuary. We will have knowledgeable volunteers and staff on hand to answer your bird questions, keep a daily list, and sell water, snacks, and field guides. Stop by and visit! We need your help to make this event a success, so contact us if you would like to offer your unique skills to help out. On Friday, March 20 at 3:00pm we will hold a training session at the Bird House in Quintana for everyone willing to be a volunteer host during the month. Please call GCBO to sign up. Additionally, GCBO hosts an online auction during the month. We are requesting donations for the auction at this time. Don't forget to go online April 1 and start bidding!
In December, we were very disappointed to learn that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation chose to discontinue funding for our ongoing American Oystercatcher research project. We have applied for funding from several other sources but none would be received in time to cover expenses for the 2015 season. Although we will not be able to provide funding for a graduate student to do work in 2015 or conduct full-blown monitoring as we have for the last four years, we have worked out a minimal nest monitoring schedule with support from Audubon Texas and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Several private donors have stepped forward to help with salary money so that we can keep this important project going, but we need your help too.Our Adopt-an-Oystercatcher program allows you to adopt an oystercatcher, a pair of oystercatchers, or a newly banded chick and your $50 donation (or $100 for a pair) will help support this research project. We will notify you monthly of your bird's progress during the nesting season or when your chick fledges. Check here for more information. Sue will also be doing regular updates on our blog so follow along the entries for The 2015 Oystercatcher Diaries!
Third Annual Birdies for the Birds Golf Tournament
Plans and preparations are well underway for our March 23 Birdies for the Birds Golf Tournament. We want to recognize and thank these groups for their early support:
Freeport LNG - Title Sponsor
SI Group - Eagle Sponsor
Phillips 66 - Eagle Sponsor
PR King - Eagle Sponsor
There is still plenty of time to be a part of the tournament. We are seeking sponsors at all levels, as well as teams and players. If you want to participate, please contact us at GCBO and we can provide you with all the details. Click here to go to the flier and sponsorship form.
Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO
Don't miss our February bird banding session! We had a great turnout of both people and birds in January. We caught a female Black-chinned Hummingbird that was banded here in 2012. We haven't seen her since but she's probably been here each winter and managed to avoid getting caught. Although we didn't catch them we have both Calliope and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds on site too. Come see what we turn up this month! The Gulf Coast Young Ornithologists will meet at 9:00am too so bring your kids. The Gulf Coast Wildlife Rescue group will also be holding a Wildlife Rescue Basics Workshops from 8:00 til noon and they will have live raptors for display with them. Bird banding this month will be on Saturday, February 21 from 8:00 until noon. Remember, the birds get up early so the earlier you are here the more you will see. Seeing birds in the hand is a great way to get kids excited about wildlife, but all ages are welcome. See the map on our webpage for directions or find a map by going to Mapquest or GoogleMaps. Note that some other navigators will not take you to the correct location.
Photo of the Month
photo of a second year male Broad-tailed Hummingbird was snapped by volunteer Mike Gray at one of GCBO's hummingbird feeders. Since we discovered his presence, we have seen him almost daily and he has been most obliging to all the visitor's that wanted to see him.