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Gulf Coast Bird Observatory E-Newsletter

December, 2010





In this Issue:


Holiday Sale and Open House


Year End Appeal


The Grape Taste


Adopt-a-Hummer For Christmas


Smith Point Hawk Watch Ends 14th Season


Farewell to John


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 Mike Gray and GCBO staff.
View on GCBO website.

December 2010

Holiday Sale

Friday December 3
Shop from 10:00AM to 6:00PM
103 Hwy 332 West, Lake Jackson

Enjoy holiday shopping at a leisurely pace this year at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory's HOLIDAY SALE. GCBO's Nature Store will offer our local friends and members a place to find a "natural" gift for everyone on their wish list while supporting bird conservation efforts and our local sanctuary. Can't get by GCBO? Check out our offerings on-line at or call the office for that special book order or to Adopt-A-Hummer certificate.

On this one day, all guests will receive a 10% discount on all store items PLUS this is our final Tax Free event of the year. Your total savings will equal 18.25%.  For more information call 979-480-0999 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              979-480-0999      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Year End Appeal

Steep declines in 42 common species over the past 40 years have resulted in the loss of 800 million birds from nearly all terrestrial habitats. Conservation of migratory birds requires coordinated actions throughout their life cycle. For our part, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory (GCBO) works to monitor, access, and prevent avian losses during their migration cycle. Because we have long-term partnerships located in the U.S., Mexico, and South America we are protecting our terrestrial and avian resources. But we need the support of everyone who appreciates the value of birds for their role in supporting the sustainability of our planet. Your year-end gift of any amount will enable us to continue to work with our partners throughout the Western Hemisphere to save habitat and our shared birds of the Americas. Read more or make your donation now.

The Grape Taste

On Thursday, December 9th, join us at The Grape Taste from 6:00 until 8:00pm, for a wine tasting to benefit GCBO. Deborah Wassberg, owner of The Grape Taste Wine Bistro, has selected a very special wine and cheese pairing for this exclusive event. Adding to the holiday fun will be a silent auction and door prizes. Tickets are $40 per person. Due to the limited capacity of the restaurant, reservations will be restricted to the first 60 people; Adults only please. Please contact Reba (979-480-0999 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              979-480-0999      end_of_the_skype_highlighting) to make your reservation and to purchase tickets.

Adopt-a-Hummer 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!

Smith Point Hawk Ends 14th Season

The Smith Point Hawk Watch ended it's 14th season on November 15 and we bid good-bye to our two fantastic hawk watchers, Jennifer Ottinger and Leah Vader. Our total raptor count at Smith Point was one of the lowest during our 14 year history, mostly due to the extremely low Broad-winged Hawk tally this fall. Year in and year out Broad-winged Hawks make up about the same number as all other species combined at Smith Point. We are not overly concerned by the low total.  No inferences about population status can be made from a single season’s hawk watch (and our last year’s count of Broad-wings was a record high). Wind patterns may shift the flight path a few miles inland and prevent many flocks from being funneled down to The Point. Late in the season Jen and Leah spotted not one, but a record-tying two beautiful Golden Eagles. We would like to thank Bill Saulman for his continued support and Cliff Peterson for many hours of volunteer hawk counting. Joseph Kennedy photographically documented some of our more outstanding raptors, including both Golden Eagles and some record late Mississippi Kites. Joe and Annette Whitehead provided many kindnesses to our hawk watchers and continued their long role of supporting the SPHW locally. We would also like to thank our sponsors: Houston Endowment, U.S. Fish & Wildlife - Coastal Program, The Trull Foundation, Ornithology Group of Houston Outdoor Club, and Bill Saulman. If you would like to volunteer to count raptors or otherwise support the Smith Point Hawk Watch next year, please contact Susan Heath.

Farewell to John

There really aren't any words adequate for this news item. John Arvin, our intrepid Research Coordinator, has decided to retire on December 31st of this year. John has spent the last 6 years directing several major research projects at GCBO including the Texas Ivory-billed Woodpecker Study, the Smith Point Hawk Watch, our year long sand plover study, and most recently a status assessment for the Rasberry Crazy Ant in Brazoria County. Over the years John has shared his knowledge and love of tropical birds with many of us who he led into the wilds of South America on tours to Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Cuba. While we will miss him very much, all of us at GCBO wish him well on his next life adventure. Be sure to keep an eye open for him while you're out in the field birding as he will have much more time for that come January!  Don't forget to call or come by the office to bid your adieu.

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

Join us from 8:00 until noon on Saturday, December 18th for our monthly bird banding session.  Learn from GCBO Research Associates Robert & Kay Lookingbill as they band the birds and explain how to determine the species, age, and sex of birds in the hand.  Our winter residents should be back and you never know what might turn up in the nets! 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 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              979-480-0999      end_of_the_skype_highlighting | Contact Us


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