Sunday, July 12, 2015

Public Outreach and Education

My job at the Intermountain Bird Observatory occasionally calls for me to participate in, and in some cases lead, public outreach and education. Most of my work days involve solo fieldwork or sitting behind the computer. However, these public outreach events provide an opportunity for me to share the results of much of that work.

Over the past couple of years, I have made a number of presentations to local birding groups. The first was a tour with the results of my thesis studying the breeding ecology of the Northern Goshawk. I presented those results to the volunteers at the Peregrine Fund, the Golden Eagle Audubon Society of Boise, the Prairie Falcon Audubon Society of Twin Falls, and the Southwestern Idaho Birders Association in Nampa. More recently, I presented an overview of the various research projects in which I participated while working in Tarifa, Spain in late 2014. I have delivered this presentation to the Golden Eagle Audubon Society and the Prairie Falcon Audubon Society.

Presenting at the Golden Eagle Audubon Society meeting in Boise, Idaho.

A good sized audience for the presentation in Boise.

The presention included an overview of the eight research projects in which I was involved – flamingos, raptor migration counts, osprey re-introduction, songbird banding, swallow banding, Black Kite banding, seabird migration, and songbird moon counts – an photos of our cultural experiences. A highlight of the presentation was the viewing of a video about the flamingo banding project that Karyn and I had the honor to participate in at Laguna de Fuente de Piedra.

Playing the Flamingo video.

The video was created by a Spanish friend of mine, Manuel, who was kind enough to allow me to use it in my presentation. He maintains a great blog at

The full flamingo video may be viewed on youtube at or here:

While I enjoyed all of the projects in Spain, the flamingos were clearly the most fascinating!

In May, I presented preliminary results from the Idaho Bird Conservation Partnership’s Short-eared Owl project to the Upper Snake chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalists. I expect to provide an updated version of this talk to other local groups this fall. In August, I will also lead a half day field trip with the New Roots organization to the Gregory fire near Idaho City to discuss the importance of fire ecology on forest dwelling birds, most notably woodpeckers. I am looking forward to engaging these students on this very important aspect of our natural world.