Learning Deep Bird Language with Dan Gardoqui – Tuesday, June 21st – (Preceded by brief Annual Meeting)

Birding can be whole lot more than feeding, watching, photographing, keeping life lists, or chasing rarities.  It can also involve knowing what birds are saying. Deep Bird Language requires slowing down and truly listening to the birds.  Dan says “It’s more about quality than quantity.” For the vast majority of human existence, this was a skill we could not afford to ignore.  Once critical to our survival it is now, nearly gone.  Local tracker, naturalist, and birder Dan Gardoqui will give us a peek into the world of Deep Bird Language including tips on how to “re-awaken” this hardwired skill set of awareness.

Dan is co-founder and Executive Director of White Pine Programs.  He lives in the Agamenticus region, and has been studying naturalist skills, wildlife tracking, bird language & mentoring since 1990. Dan has a M.S. in Natural Resources, is a Certified Wilderness First Responder, Certified Wildlife Tracker, Registered Maine Guide, & served as Science Faculty at Granite State College for over a decade. Through wildlife tracking, Dan has contributed to wildlife studies and served as science editor for the bird language book “What the Robin Knows.”   FMI:  http://www.whitepineprograms.org/

York County Audubon programs are held at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve.  There’s no charge and all are welcome!  No reservations required.

Dan-Gardoqui   What the Robin Knows

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Annual Election of Officers and Directors

The Nominating Committee has presented a slate of Officers and Directors to the YCA Board, and that slate has been approved by the Directors.  At the Annual Meeting on June 21st, the following slate of Officers shall be voted upon by the Membership:  Bill Grabin, President, Joyce Toth, Vice President, Kathy Donahue, Treasurer, and Monica Grabin, Secretary, as well as the following slate of Directors: Mary Bateman, David Doubleday, Doug Hitchcox, Ken Janes, Lena Moser, Pat Moynihan, Eileen Willard, Marian Zimmerman

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Bird Photography: Insights and Inspiration – with Michael Milicia – Tuesday, May 17th

Michael Milicia - Atlantic PuffinMichael Milicia is a gifted photographer and teacher.  He will present a selection of bird images along with understandable commentary intended to inform, entertain and inspire. This program will be of interest to both general audiences and photographers of all abilities.  Using example photos, Mike will demonstrate the importance of things like head angle, catch lights, in-camera composition, knowing your subject, and being proactive in the field.  

There will also be a review of a few key camera settings that enable Mike to be more productive and get better results in the field along with a brief discussion of his in-field workflow and his general approach to setting exposure in various situations.  The goal is to provide some insight into the many different components that must come together to create a compelling bird photograph. FMI: www.michaelmiliciaphotography.com

York County Audubon programs are held at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve.  There’s no charge and all are welcome!  No reservations required.

Michael Milicia -Gentoo Penguin Michael Milicia - Piping Plover Chick Michael Milicia - Wood Duck

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Global Big Day – Saturday, May 14th

York County Audubon joins the Global Big Day – And so can you!

For years, YCA has held an annual Birding Challenge in mid-May. It’s been a fund-raiser for our wildlife protection efforts and a day for birders to join together and have fun.  This year, we’re changing things up a bit, by joining with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in a citizen-science project called “The Global Big Day 2016.”  The idea is simple: people all over the world will go birding on May 14, 2016, and record what they see.  Then they’ll enter that data into eBird, where it will give a global image of bird populations and locations. There’s no requirement as to when, where, or how long during that day that one looks for birds.

Eagle and Terns MJ     oystercatcher KJ        Eagle with Common Terns by Marie Jordan                     American Oystercatcher by Ken Janes

YCA is always hoping to increase awareness of the fantastic birding opportunities in York County, so we’re adding an additional focus to our Big Day.  Following suggestions by Louis Bevier and Nathan Hall, we’re going to limit our efforts to York County, and are challenging birders in Cumberland County to discover which county can log the most species that day. On last year’s first Global Big Day, York County recorded 145 species, slightly ahead of Cumberland County’s 139. One more special feature of the YCA count is the participation of the Hard Core Birders, a group of Middle School of the Kennebunks students, organized by Nathan Hall.  We especially hope that many young people will join us on our Big Day.

You are invited to join a team, or to go out on your own; to start before dawn and go all day, or simply spend an hour or two in your backyard.  Whatever suits you suits the Global Big Day.  The count day runs for 24 hours starting at 12:00 a.m. on the 14th.  Birders from all over the world will join in the effort, and you can follow the progress of the Big Day on the Cornell Lab’s Global Big Day 2016 website: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/globalbigday/.   The Cornell Lab website also has great information on how to get started with eBird, how to use it in the field, and how to record your sightings. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with it before the Big Day.

Although we encourage everyone to give eBird a try, if you are unable to submit your list for any reason, YCA members will be happy to submit it for you. However, please note where and when you were birding, so that your list can be logged correctly.  More information on this will be available on our website, yorkcountyaudubon.org, and on our Facebook page.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology began the Global Big Day in 2015, when people from over 100 countries participated, logging over 6,000 species of birds! The hope is that this year will be even bigger. Your participation is a real contribution, and birding in York County in mid-May is a pleasure not to be missed. If you’d like to join a team of birders, or for more information, contact us through our website or Facebook page, or call Monica Grabin at 985-3342. All levels of experience and all ages are welcome.

There is no donation requirement to participate, although they are always very welcome.  All donations help us fulfill our mission to educate the public and preserve our irreplaceable natural world.

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Warbler Workshop with Doug Hitchcox – Saturday, May 7th


Just in time for their spring arrival, Maine Audubon’s Staff Naturalist Doug Hitchcox will hold a workshop to teach you various techniques for identifying the gems of our forest: warblers. We will look at the diversity of the family, keys for identifying each species, and even spend time learning the songs and auditory cues to take your birding tothe next level.  The workshop will be held at the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust on Saturday, May 7th.  We’ll meet at KCT at 6:30 am for an early morning bird walk, followed by the workshop itself.  A second walk will follow after lunch (please bring your lunch).

Hooded Warbler DH crop

An enthusiastic birder, Doug set the Big Year record for Maine birds with 314 species in 2011. In his spare time, he also runs the Maine-birds listserv, serves on the Maine Bird Records Committee and is one of Maine’s eBird reviewers.

Space is limited and advance registration (via this website) is required.  Please register by clicking on the event link in the Calendar column to the right, and then scrolling down to the fields for making a reservation.  Fee of $10 is payable by cash or check at the workshop.

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The Harlequin – Spring 2016

Please click on the link below to view the Spring 2016 issue of our Harlequin newsletter (with photos in full color!)


Harlequin Spring 2016




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Why do We Need Carnivores Anyway? Tuesday, April 26th

Geri Vistein is a conservation biologist whose work focuses on Maine carnivores and our relationship with them.  She is a terrific speaker whose informative program will better educate us on the role carnivores play in our ecosystem and help us become more knowledgeable about their ecology.  You will discover connections that will leave you in awe.  We should take away with a better understanding of the value of carnivores in the Maine landscape and gain in our ability to practice coexistence skills.  FMI:  http://www.coyotelivesinmaine.com/coyote/meet-the-scientist/

York County Audubon programs are held at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve.  There’s no charge and all are welcome!  No reservations required.  [Please note: our program meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of the month, but this one is on the fourth Tuesday!]

Coyotes - Pierre Giard


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New film on Song Birds: “The Messenger” – Friday, March 18th

York County Audubon is pleased to co-sponsor with the Sierra Club a showing of this important new film.   Su Rynard’s documentary THE MESSENGER explores our deep-seated connection to birds and warns that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own. Moving from the northern reaches of the Boreal Forest to the base of Mount Ararat in Turkey to the streets of New York, THE MESSENGER brings us face-to-face with a remarkable variety of human-made perils that have devastated thrushes, warblers, orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks and many other airborne music-makers.  You can view the trailer here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjQtRr4CKcc

The event is part of the Sierra Club’s monthly film series at the Unitarian Church in Kennebunk.  Refreshments and social time start at 6:30, with the film starting promptly at 7.  Brief comments and discussion time will follow. Kennebunk’s First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church is located at 114 Main St next to the library.  There’s no charge and all are welcome!  No reservations required.

The Messenger

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Life Lessons from the Life of John James Audubon – Tuesday, March 15th

Share an evening with Mark Jones, Sr. V.P. and Director Retail Lending at Saco & Biddeford Savings and lifelong outdoorsman/photographer as he shares his photography of our stunning natural surroundings and offers thoughts on four often overlooked steps to making a bigger impact on what is most important to you.

York County Audubon programs are held at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve.  There’s no charge and all are welcome!  No reservations required.

john j audubon

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Saturday morning Summer Bird Walks

Join us at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm every other Saturday this summer starting June 11th, 2016 for a guided bird walk around the Reserve property.  Beginners are welcome.  Please bring binoculars if you have them; if not, you can borrow some. These walks are free and open to the public.  We meet in the parking lot, and reservations not required.  The additional dates are 6/25, 7/9 and 7/23, 8/6 and 8/20.  Meet at the parking lot at 7:30 a.m.  Walks typically last about 2 hours. The photo below shows a male Eastern Towhee, a bird regularly seen and heard at the Wells Reserve.


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