For the past two years, Parker Flickinger has served as our Community Engagement and Marketing Coordinator VISTA. Parker has been an amazing addition to our team, developing our Birding by Bus program, welcoming new field trip volunteers, hosting auditory bird walks with Nevada Federation for the Blind, and spreading his passion for birds to everyone he meets. Parker has also been the voice behind our social media accounts and created our YouTube channel where we share our presentations and educational programs. His enthusiasm and energy will be missed and we wish Parker the best as he pursues a graduate degree. Thanks for everything, Parker!!!
We have new officers on our Board of Trustees. Huge thank you to our outgoing president, David Jickling, and outgoing secretary, Suzie Reynolds. Though neither of them will be going far! Suzie was elected as the new president of our organization and David was elected to fill the Vice President seat that has been vacant for the past year. Mike Goddard was elected to serve as secretary and Bill Fletcher has agreed to stay on as our treasurer. The rest of our board is filled out by Brendan Bucy, Rose Strickland, Bri Usdrowski, and our newest board members, Sally Bates, and Lauren Whitenack. Please join us in thanking this dedicated group of volunteers for their service. We do have some committee chair roles that we are looking to fill. If you are interested in leading any of our committees please fill out a volunteer interest form.
Earlier this year we shared that a particularly virulent strain of avian influenza is circulating in the US. Recently a case was confirmed in a backyard chicken flock in Carson City. The risk to humans is low, however, there has been one reported case of this strain making the jump to a human in Colorado. For the time being we are not accepting donations of dead birds for our taxidermy collection and we ask if you find a dead bird do not handle it. If would like to report it, contact Nevada Department of Wildlife for further instructions.
If there is an outbreak is detected in your area, please remove bird feeders and baths until the outbreak has subsided. Additionally, it is good practice to regularly sterilize your bird feeders and baths to avoid outbreaks of any communicable disease in your backyard flock. Check out our article on Salmonella and Responsible Bird Feeding for details on maintaining feeders.
By Jennie Jones Scherbinski
Lahontan Audubon Society is truly a special organization full of amazing volunteers and dedicated members and I am so proud of all the work that we have accomplished over the past two years. Unfortunately, I have made the decision to step away from my leadership role and I have asked the board to begin recruiting for the next Executive Director. Some of you may know that my husband and I welcomed our first son last year and I have been doing double duty as a full-time mom and part time executive director. As LAS continues to grow, I feel that I will no longer be able to provide the level of attention that it deserves. This was an incredibly difficult decision for me, but ultimately I think it is in the best interest of the organization and I am confident that we can find someone to take LAS to the next level. I will remain involved with LAS and work to ensure all the momentum we have built continues forward. Our programs have started to garner attention nationally and I am so excited to see where the next chapter leads us. Thank you all for your support over the last few years. It has been an honor to serve you.
Our chapter was honored to be a guest at the Mark Wellman Adventure Day event last Sunday. Mark Wellman adventure day is an event at Sparks Marina where disabled people have the opportunity to try outdoor activities such as kayaking and rock climbing. Our staff brought along a number of resources for participants to learn and interact with, including binoculars and museum skins. We had a wonderful time speaking with and entertaining guests who stopped by. We also kept a small bird list of the species we observed flying by as we spoke with guests. Sparks Marina is a wonderful birding hotspot and without intentionally seeking, we observed 22 different species. A full list is included as part of the trip report below.
Our staff sends a huge thank you to all the partner organizations involved including:
A particularly virulent strain of avian flu has been spreading in the US. Much like the flu in humans, avian flu is cyclical and new strains may cause higher infection and mortality rates. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Center for Disease control are both carefully monitoring the situation. As of 5/9/22, there have been no cases of this strain reported in Nevada. You can check the USDA’s full list of documented cases here. The risk to humans is low, however, there has been one reported case of this strain making the jump to a human in Colorado. If you find a dead bird and would like to report it, do not handle the bird and contact Nevada Department of Wildlife for further instructions.
We will be monitoring the situation in our area and providing updates when necessary. If there is an outbreak in your area, please remove bird feeders and baths until the outbreak has subsided. Additionally, it is good practice to regularly sterilize your bird feeders and baths to avoid outbreaks of any communicable disease in your backyard flock. Check out our article on Salmonella and Responsible Bird Feeding for details on maintaining feeders.
The Nevada Arts Council has just awarded the Lahontan Audubon Society an Arts Learning Grant. Thank you, Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment of the Arts, for your support. With this grant, Lahontan Audubon will offer a series of free, online bird drawing classes with science illustrator, Christine Elder, and nature journal educator, John Muir Laws, this spring. Christine was the featured artist for the recent Winter Wings Festival in Klamath, Oregon. John Muir Laws (aka Jack) is the champion of the nature journaling movement and author/illustrator of the Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada. These amazing artists will teach us some of the tips and tricks for drawing birds in the field. Lahontan Audubon Society is excited to be able to present this new series of art classes! Please stay tuned for details. We will be posting more information on these classes on our website soon.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent program survey. We appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us and we will be working hard make our programs align with the responses we received. See the full results below.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our first Field Trip Guide Workshop! We had 14 participants join in the fun, including a mix of veteran leaders and new leaders. It was such a great opportunity to exchange ideas and go birding with a great group of people. Along the way we saw Common Goldeneyes, Red-shouldered Hawks, Cedar Waxwings, American Robins, Northern Flickers, and more. If you weren’t able to join us this time, and are interested in leading or co-leading a field trip don’t worry, we will have additional opportunities to get involved. The only prerequisite to be a guide is having a passion for birding, birders of all levels are welcome. Send us an email if you are interested in learning more about leading a field trip.
Just some of the many backyard birds you can find around Reno, courtesy of our photo contest.
The pandemic has been challenging for everyone and it has been particularly difficult for the Deaf community as wearing masks limits the Deaf ability to read lips which can be a vital communication tool. In an effort to reach out to this community, our Development Coordinator, Diane Wong-Kone, wrote a grant to support birding walks with American Sign Language interpreters. National Audubon selected our grant to receive funding and we will be planning these walks for the spring and summer and identifying ways that we can make all our trips more accessible to the Deaf community. Thanks to National Audubon for their support and congrats to Diane on receiving funds for this exciting project!
LAS staff and volunteers were excited to join in several outreach events in the past few weeks. Education volunteers led by Alan Gubanich attended the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience and shared our taxidermy mounts with hundreds of students. Students learned about local bird species and how to use binoculars to help them identify their avian friends. Thank you to all the volunteers who participated in the event and brought birding to our local students.
LAS staff also helped with the Rosewood Nature Study Area’s Martin Luther King Day of Service. This event invited participants to help clean up the wetlands while participating in a BioBlitz. LAS hosted a birding hotspot where we taught participants about some of the species that can be seen at Rosewood and recorded a full list of bird species that were seen that day. We counted 37 different species! Thanks to everyone who helped support our local wetlands.
If you are interested in helping out with future events please fill out our volunteer interest form.