COMING Nov 29, 2016: James Watson to speak on GOLDEN EAGLES!

ABC WELCOMES James Watson, raptor expert with the Department of Fish & Wildlife.  $10 honorarium.  James Watson will tell us the latest on Golden Eagles in Washington on November 29, 2016, 6:45 PM.  VENUE: Pierce County Library Administration Bldg, 3005 112th Street East, Tacoma, WA 98446-2215, near Hwy 512 & Waller Rd.

Golden Eagles of Washington: Population Status, Ecology, and Threats

Ironically, recent interest in North America’s other eagle, the Golden Eagle, stems from impacts on this species from green energy development. Yet throughout history the species has continued to survive human interaction from their prized value and use in Native American cultures, large scale aerial gunning and poisoning in the mid-20th century, and ongoing impacts from electrocution and lead poisoning.  Join us as we explore what current research reveals about natural history of Golden Eagles in Washington including population dynamics, aspects of breeding and wintering ecology, and major threats potentially limiting the future population. Bring your questions, whether related to field identification or weight-lifting capacity of an eagle, and we’ll attempt to “de-myth” their secretive lifestyle.

James Watson is a raptor expert with the Dept of Fish&Wildlife

James Watson is a raptor expert with the Dept of Fish&Wildlife

Jim Watson is a Wildlife Research Scientist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the lead researcher for statewide raptor studies.  He has spent the past 40+ years studying raptors in the western United States and abroad.  Jim’s research focus includes raptor population dynamics, migration ecology, and management of raptors in human landscapes. His recent work evaluates impacts of wind energy and lead contaminants on golden eagles and ferruginous hawks.

Photo/Hillary Schwirtlich

Banding a young Golden Eagle


September 21 – Eider program!

Join the ABC Club on September 21, 2015, at the University Place Library at 6:45 PM.

Researcher, Tasha Di Marzio, who will present her talk, “Steller’s Eiders: The Road to Recovery.” She will discuss the Steller’s Eiders’ natural history and the coordinated teamwork of researchers from government agencies and the Alaska SeaLife Center over the last 13 years. She oversees the Eider Husbandry Program and manages an Alcid collection that is on public display. For the past eight summers her passion has been spending time collecting nesting and habitat data on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. She has traveled to many remote Alaskan field sites from Barrow to Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands to study Steller’s Eiders. She will discuss past and present research and future efforts of the Eider Recovery Team to bring this threatened species back to stable numbers in the wild.

Tasha DiMarzio is currently the Avian Curator for the Alaska SeaLife Center based in Seward, Alaska. She is also employed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Tasha DiMarzio grew up in Lake Tapps, WA, and went to college at Minot State University in North Dakota where she got her degree in Fish and Wildlife Management. She has worked with many different species of birds from Eastern Bluebirds to Bald Eagles. She is an avid birder and is hoping to reach her goal of 600 U.S. birds with only 12 to go.

Click below to enlarge.

REPORT on Paulson event Aug 6, 2015

BIRDS OF THE WIND – ABC welcomed Dennis Paulson, one of the world’s experts on the fascinating and confusing shorebirds, who gave us a great overview as well as little known factoids in his illustrated presentation. Thanks to the University of Puget Sound for hosting this event and to Peter Wimberger, the director of the Slater Museum at UPS. Dennis is the past director of the museum.

We went with Dennis in photos to Cambridge Bay where he spent a season literally on the ground with nesting shorebirds, many of which went through Washington on their way north to nest. We looked at the nests, the eggs, the food, the predators, the camouflage of nest and bird, as well as the incubating parents, often the father, in a dozen different species in the up-close-and-personal photographs he took. This area at that time was blessed with a dearth of Arctic Foxes, so most eggs hatched, although of course there were a number of predators on the precocial chicks who did their own foraging as soon as they hatched, returning to their parent only for warmth and protection for a short time.

Dennis gave a number of time-lines on our Washington coastal birds, showing when the adults and then the young birds come through here, dramatically illustrating the long migration season in the fall as opposed to the short season in the spring. Maps were shown illustrating migratory routes of adults versus immatures, highlighting how different they can be. Dennis said it takes a year for the programming to kick in. No one knows how THAT works, but since they leave after their parents, it’s obviously not taught.

Many more factoids amazed some of us. Vera Cragin said on the way home that she had never seen or heard of the fact that shorebirds regurgitate pellets. Many of us were amazed at the photo of the Dowitcher, I think, with its upper mandible bent upwards when needed by the bird. Most amazing was Dennis’ uncanny vocal imitations of several really weird “songs” of shorebirds, rarely heard on these wintering grounds.

The group had many questions, many centering around changes in population, human-caused habitat loss and even humans’ contribution to the currently growing El Nino. However, Dennis says there is no evidence that these birds have changed their timetables in response to any of this, being extremely hard-wired in that regard.

Click on photo to enlarge.

Part of the appreciative crowd, some wearing UPS Slater Museum t-shirts! Center: Kay Pullen, MC for the ABC Club; Dennis Paulson; Ken Brown, founder of ABC; and Peter Wimberger, host and director of the Slater Museum at UPS. Bottom: Dennis with groupies, some of the Willettes wearing shorebird shorts: Carol Smith, Diane Y-Q, and Laurel Parshall.

Larkwire Talk by Phil Mitchell

Tonight at the UP Library meeting Phil Mitchell, founder of Larkwire, an interactive web based learning tool for birders to learn bird songs, presented telling us about the app.  It is a web based app, now also available as an iPhone and iPad app.  The two are separate tools.  The web based program will work from any internet connection, and after purchase of the program for an amazingly inexpensive price (less than purchasing the east or west Stokes or Peterson CDs) you’ll be able to log on from any location, home, laptop at work, iPhone, iPad, etc.  The specific iPhone or iPad app is a stand alone app that works only on the device you purchase it from.  (not sure if you can use on more than one device using iTunes synch if you have both a iPhone and iPad)

I bought the web based app on the drive home from Kay’s iPad.  (they accept credit cards and paypal)  I’m very excited, but using 3G on the iPad it is frustratingly slow, so I can see why the iPad app would be popular if you plan to use it a lot in the field.  For me I think the usual web-based app will be preferable, but I suspect Kay will buy the iPad app.

You should all rush to the Larkwire site now to get this great new tool to make learning birding by ear a less daunting task.  I tried going to the TAS site and couldn’t find an affiliate code there, but entered the TAHAUD code and it seemed to be accepted, so I suspect that is the code for TAS to get an affiliate sales commission.  Also when you buy say you heard about Larkwire at the ABC meeting so Phil will know his talk to use was a good use of his time.

Prior to the program we heard an appeal from TAS for donations to cover an operating shortfall.  Also brief trip reports from the Morse Preserve bird banding field trip.

No meeting in August.  See you all at the Sept meeting or on a field trip sooner.

Good Birding.


Live Well by Doing Good before the Next ABC Class

The next ABC meeting is scheduled for 6:45 on Thursday, April 26, at the University Place Library.  That is also Dining Out for Life day, which benefits the Pierce County AIDS Foundation.  If members eat at one of the many designated restaurants before attending the meeting, 25% of the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages will be donated to the AIDS Foundation.  To find a participating restaurant, check this website:

Thanks to Art Wang for this post.

Live well by doing good.  I try to live by that mantra when I can.  See you in April or at the next Gull trip on March 31.