February 2016 Audubon Rockies Newsletter
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February 2016 Newsletter

Working to protect birds and their habitat in Wyoming and Colorado.

What's In This Issue?


Great Backyard Bird CountGreat citizen science opportunity for all skill levels!  The 2016 count takes place February 12-15. 
Western Rivers Action Network Check out our upcoming Yampa River Trip and Monthly webinar series.
Community Naturalists 
Our educators have been busy this month reaching out to teachers and land managers.
Habitat HeroGardening season is right around the corner!  See our upcoming workshops and presentations.
Sagebrush EcosystemGolden Eagles in the spotlight!
Upcoming EventsFind community events coming near you!
Bird Bits - Going WYld's Rabbits, How do birds survive a snowstorm,? Why do owls bob their heads?, and DIY Bird Feeders!
How to Make a Legacy GiftHave you considered making a bequest to support the causes that you have cared about throughout your lifetime?  
Chapter Happenings - Local Chapters provide excellent birding, education, and conservation opportunities for the public.  
National NewsNational Audubon Society Annual Photography awards and their January newsletter and policy advisory.

 Great Backyard Bird Count

The 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will be held February 12-15, 2016. The GBBC is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages and all skill levels in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are across the U.S. and Canada.
Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great
Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.  In 2015, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in more than 100 countries turned in more than 92,000 checklists online (counting 5,090 species of birds) - creating the continent's largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded!
Help make the most successful count ever by participating this year!  Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 12-15, 2016. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world.

In advance of this year’s GBBC, Audubon Rockies has partnered with local businesses in four communities (Gillette, Casper, Fort Collins and Pagosa Springs) to give away free blocks of suet to attract birds to your home, office, or school.  Simply stop in to one of the locations across Wyoming and Colorado listed below, February 7-15 during store hours, to receive your gift while supplies last.  Click Here for More Info

In addition to registering and entering your results, web site is a great resource:

  • Explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during the count.
  • Tips to help identify birds and special materials for educators.
  • Enter the GBBC photo contest by uploading images taken during the count. Many images will be featured in the GBBC website’s photo gallery.

All participants are entered in a drawing for prizes that include bird feeders, binoculars, books, CDs, and many other great birding products.

Check out our
website or give us a call at the regional office at 970.416.6931 for more information

Happy Birding!!

 Bird Bits


GOIN' WYld - Rabbits!
Zach has begun a fun weekly TV news segment on Casper's K2, called "Going WYld". This week Zach looks at rabbits and their camouflage - check it out!  Each segment airs on Thursday at 6:30 am!  
Watch Full Video HERE



How do birds survive a snowstorm?
Learn about

Birds are incredibly resourceful and hardy in the face of severe weather.  They require location, preparation and adaption.




Why do owls bob their heads?
Learn about

Here's the secret behind their head-bobbing phenomenon.




DIY Bird feeders on Pinterest

Learn about

23 DIY Bird feeders that will fill your garden with birds!

Support Audubon Rockies
 What will your Legacy Be?


Have you considered making a bequest to support the causes that you have cared about throughout your lifetime? If you share Audubon's values and feel a personal responsibility for stewardship of our natural world, please consider extending your support beyond your lifetime by including Audubon Rockies in your plans. If you wish, you may designate your gift for Audubon programs specific to the Rockies.

If you would like to make a legacy gift, you may do so by:

  • Making a gift through your IRA by designating Audubon Rockies as a beneficiary. To ensure that your gift is dedicated to Audubon Rockies, simply specify in your estate plans that your gift is intended for Audubon Rockies, a regional office of the National Audubon Society.

  • Setting up an annuity agreement to provide lifetime income for yourself or members of your family.

  • Naming Audubon Rockies or one of its programs in your will or as a beneficiary of your insurance policy.

How to say it: I bequeath (dollar amount or % of estate) to the National Audubon Society, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, with its principal offices located at 225 Varick Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10014. This gift should support Audubon programs in Colorado or Wyoming (or, name a specific Audubon Rockies program). Tax ID # 13-1624102.
Contact us for additional information or for assistance in determining which type of gift may be right for you.
Shari Kolding, Gift Planning – (512) 236-9076 or
John Kloster-Prew, Audubon Rockies – (970) 416-6931 or


The Roost - Chapter News

Chapter Websites & Newsletters

Colorado Chapters:
Wyoming Chapters:
Each Chapter is an independent organization of Audubon members that is chartered and annually re-certified by National Audubon Society. 

They provide excellent birding, education, and conservation opportunities for members at the local level. They also often advocate on behalf of conservation at the local, state, and national level.

National News





You’re crazy about birds and photography. Now combine your twin passions by entering your best bird photos in the 2016 Audubon Photography Awards. You could win a cash prize or, if you’re our Youth winner, a special trip that will help you become an even better bird photographer! For more details and prizes, visit HERE

Happy birding from all of us!


Alison Holloran, Executive Director
John Kloster-Prew, Deputy Director
Daly Edmunds, Regional Policy & Marketing Coordinator
Dusty Downey, Sr. Regional Community Naturalist
Jacelyn Downey, Sr. Regional Community Naturalist
Becky Gillette, Senior Educator
Abby Burk, Western Rivers Outreach Specialist 
Jamie Weiss, Habitat Hero Coordinator
Zach Hutchinson, Community Naturalist
Sandy McIntyre, Office Assistant

Support Audubon Rockies

Western Rivers Action Network

Echo Park, Near the Confluence of the Yampa and Green Rivers, by Ken Neubecker

Yampa River Trip with Audubon and O.A.R.S! June 27-July 1

Join Us!  February Webinars 12:00-1:00PM 

February 17th: The Confluence of Environmental and Recreational Flows
Find out how healthy flowing rivers support vibrant and diverse paddle based recreation opportunities and riparian habitats. Join Abby Burk, Western Rivers Outreach Specialist for Audubon Rockies, and Nathan Fey, Director Colorado River Stewardship Program for American Whitewater, to learn some of the complimentary qualities of both environmental and recreational river flows. Register here: 

2016 State Legislative Session Has Kicked Off - We Will Need Your Engagement!

As the 2016 legislative session gets into full swing, stay tuned for action alerts and updates to help protect our rivers and the habitats we all depend on.  

Join WRAN Now

Community Naturalist Program

Mild Winter Weather is a Great Traveling Companion


Our educators have been busy this month reaching out to two of our most important community members: teachers and land managers – and what great weather for getting out and about! Participants of the Sundance, WY Early Childhood Workshop enjoyed temperatures reaching nearly 40 degrees, which was balmy, when you consider that last year’s workshop took place with an outside temperature of nearly 15 below zero!  This annual workshop is funded by Powder River Energy Corporation in partnership with Wyoming Project Learning Tree and Wyoming Project WILD. Participants ranged in age and background with pre-school teachers, librarians, NRCS educators, conservation district educators, and non-formal educators in attendance. These educators are now armed with great curriculums, ideas, and confidence to get youth outdoors and introduce a love of science and nature at an early age.
We’ve also had a chance to get our Conservation Ranching program off to a great start. This program will enable ranchers to indicate to consumers that their ranching practices are sustainable and support the health of grassland birds and their habitat. Our team was able to present the program and garner interest in participating to 27 people from the Thunder Basin National Grasslands area. This program spans not only our Rocky Mountain states but across the central flyway including international partners in Canada and Mexico to really make a difference for birds.

Habitat Hero Program

Photo by 2015 Habitat Hero Awardee




Gardening season is right around the corner and our Habitat Hero program is here to help!  This program provides resources, including workshops to help in planning gardens that support birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators.  


Small Acreage & Habitat Hero Workshop

Feb 20, Glenwood Springs, CO | 9:00-1:30
Jeff Pieper (CSU Extension) will discuss the importance of sustainable ranching priciples, like rotating grazing herds, and Jamie Weiss (Audubon Rockies) will talk about the importance of habitat and how landowners have a real opportunity to pitch in, followed by hands-on building of bird houses and nesting bee boxes!
Registration - $10.00/person


Habitat Hero Gardening for Beauty, Birds and Bees - 2nd Annual Workshop

April 9, Cheyenne, WY | 9:00-4:30
This workshop is for both novice and veteran gardeners who are interested in attracting wildlife and pollinators to an urban environment, eliminating chemicals in the landscape and minimizing water consumption. Explore design possibilities for making your garden beautiful and functional. 
Registration - $20.00/person


Horticultural Art Society – Founder’s Day Lecture

April 23, Colorado Springs, CO | 9:00-1:00
(Habitat Hero Presentation) Learn the importance of restoring our communities, one garden patch at a time.  From a birds-eye view, learn how to create wildlife-friendly gardens that help combat the loss of open spaces and create green corridors that link your wildscape to larger natural areas by providing habitat for wildlife.  More Details Coming Soon!

For more information, please contact Jamie Weiss, Habitat Hero Coordinator at or (970) 416-6931


Together, we are making gardening easy and fun for everyone, while creating important habitat for wildlife!


Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative



Golden Eagles in the Spotlight


About Golden Eagles
This powerful eagle is North America's largest bird of prey, and one of the fastest and nimblest.  They can be found when hiking or traveling through open sagebrush landscapes. They dive from great heights and have been clocked between 150-200 miles per hour.  They are a k-selected species, meaning that they have slow rates of reproduction and growth – they don’t breed until they are 5-7 years old, they don’t breed every year (having only 1-3 chicks per attempt), and they can live upwards of 30 years.  As such, the loss of an adult is a big hit on a given population. Despite being protected by the federal U.S. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which outlaws harming these birds, their eggs, and their nests, an estimated 70+ percent of deaths are attributable to human impact, either intentional or inadvertent. 

Golden Eagle Populations – Stable?
Their populations are considered stable or declining, with researchers and managers calling for more information.  Golden Eagles are believed to be able to biologically sustain a loss of up to 10 percent, however current take exceeds that amount.  According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), they are being over-harvested to the amount of over 1,000 individuals per year. Their primary threats are electrocution, shooting, lead poisoning, DDT, leg-hold traps, wind turbines, and changes in prey populations and habitat fragmentation.  

Audubon and Golden Eagles
You’ll be hearing more from us about Golden Eagles as part of our Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative

In November 2015, Daly Edmunds attended the Raptor Research Foundation annual conference where researchers from across the world gathered to talk about the latest research. Because of the growing interest, an entire day of the three-day conference was dedicated to Golden Eagles (see photo with Wyoming researchers!).  In December, Edmunds was an invited participant in an Eagle Detection and Deterrent Technologies Workshop hosted by the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, whose goal was to identify research gaps and solutions. 

It is an interesting time for Golden Eagles, on the policy and science front.  Stay tuned for more as the USFWS was ordered in January to redo a 2013 regulation that allowed eagle “take” permits to last up to 30 years.  The federal judge concluded that that the agency violated NEPA requirements.  Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Western Golden Eagle Team (WGET) continues to take a science-based approach of proactively addressing energy-related conservation needs of Golden Eagles by working with stakeholders to develop landscape-scale conservation strategies.  We’ll be sharing some of the important management tools being developed by WGET and other Golden Eagle happenings in the coming months.

Upcoming Events

Photo by David Littschwager



Film Screening - The Messenger 

March 30, Lakewood, CO - UA Colorado Mills Stadium 16           

The Messenger is a visually thrilling ode to the beauty and importance of the imperiled songbird, and what it means to all of us on both a global human level if we lose them.


For more details, cost and registration - click HERE                    


This month we would like to acknowledge valued sponsors and partners



Through science, education, advocacy, and on-the-ground conservation, we protect birds and their habitat in Wyoming and Colorado. Where birds thrive, people prosper.

Copyright © 2016 Audubon Rockies, All rights reserved.

Main Phone: (970) 416-6931

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