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GCBO September E-news
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

September, 2013



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In this Issue:


XHX is Here!


Wells Fargo GCBO Dinner


Hawk Watch Happenings

Cuban Hawk Watch Starts Second Season


Oystercatcher Field Season Wrap Up

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO


Member Photo of the Month


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 ourWays to Donate page for more opportunities to support our conservation efforts. 


Photos courtesy of Tony Leukering, Mike Gray and GCBO staff.
View on GCBO website. 

September 2013

XHX is Here!

It's that time again. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are buzzing around GCBO and we are busy making sugar water and cleaning feeders. Come join us in celebrating their journey south at Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza on September 14th and/or 21st. The hummers will continue passing through our area until the end of October so if you are a hummingbird enthusiast, get those feeders out now. The success of this event depends greatly on volunteer participation so if you want to volunteer to help, contact Carol.

Wells Fargo GCBO Dinner

On August 12th Wells Fargo Advisors sponsored a dinner event for GCBO members, volunteers, and donors at the Crosswinds Cafe in Angleton, Texas. Guest speaker Jim Blackburn, environmental attorney, gave a wonderful talk about Whooping Cranes, other wildlife inhabitants, and the effects on the Texas coast. He also discussed a new initiative known as the Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area which would assemble undeveloped lands in Matagorda, Brazoria, Galveston and Chambers counties into a federal nature park effectively interconnecting various nature sanctuaries, prairies, and wetlands into one. He also read some of his poetry! We had a full turnout of 60 guests and the food was excellent. We would like to thank Wells Fargo Advisors for sponsoring this event so that we could give a hearty thanks to all our members, volunteers and donors!

 Hawk Watch Happenings

The hawk watch is going strong and we've already broken a record! An early season cold front gave us a 77 Swainson's Hawk day which is a high total for August. Tony is posting daily updates on our new blog so check it out. This year we have hawk watch t-shirts featuring artwork by TPWD's Craig Farquhar. They are available at the tower, at our office, or on ourwebsite. Only $15! All funds help support the hawk watch. In addition we are hosting a Raptor ID Workshop in late September with Tony as the instructor. Join Tony in learning how to identify those tricky little specs in the sky. This workshop is limited to 25 participants so better sign up early. Details are on our website.

Cuban Hawk Watch Begins Second Season

Our Cuban Hawk Watch initiated its second year on July 15th at Cabo San Antonio at the western end of Cuba. We started two weeks earlier than last year to document the migration and number of Swallow-tailed Kites through western Cuba.  Swallow-tailed Kites migrate much earlier than other raptors and last year many were observed in the area of the count in the weeks prior the count. This season promises to be a very productive year as more than 2,000 Swallow-tailed Kites have been observed through mid-August. This is more than double the number observed during last year’s entire count. This is very significant considering that the population of Swallow-tailed Kites for all of North America is estimated to be between 3,200 and 4,600 individuals. GCBO’s Conservation Director Felipe Chavez was lucky to be visiting on 9 August when more than 600 Swallow-tailed Kites passed the counting station, a one-day record! The hawk watch will continue daily through November and we look forward to learning the final tally for Swallow-tailed Kites this year. Support for the Cuban hawk Watch is provided by GCBO with funds from the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.


Oystercatcher Field Season Wrap Up

Volunteers Dave and Jan Hanson

We've now completed our third field season studying American Oystercatchers. This year held a few new surprises of course.On the upper coast, we monitored 53 pairs which produced 81 nests. 21 chicks fledged and the overall productivity was .43. On the central coast, Lianne Koczur, a TAMUK graduate student, monitored 44 pairs which produced 65 nests. 15 chicks fledged from these nests and the productivity was .34. These numbers are in line with those from the Atlantic coast. Two pairs fledged three chicks which is unusual. Two nests were predated by rattlesnakes and one by a domestic cat. We posted signs on 26 nesting islands and gave five educational seminars to boater's and fishermen's groups.

Volunteers donated 532.5 hours to this project this year.

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

It's September and that means hummingbirds. This month our banding coincides with our Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza event and we will focus on banding hummingbirds. Information about this event is listed above. 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

This month's photo of the month is just the cutest ever! These Black-bellied Whistling-Duck ducklings were captured by Tracie Pohlmeyer at her pond.


Our Vision is a healthy ecosystem with abundant space for birds to survive and thrive around the Gulf of Mexico. | Telephone 979-480-0999 | Contact Us


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