Gulf Coast Bird Observatory | 299 Hwy 332 West, Lake Jackson, Texas 77566
Art Auction Ends This Weekend!
Sunday, May 6th at 8 pm, marks the end of our Spring Fling Art Auction. This is your last chance to bid on unique pieces of bird and nature themed art so hurry over while it is still open! We have beautiful pieces by a variety of (mostly) local talent including originals, prints, and fabric pieces. Check out the auction HERE and support our conservation research with your bids!
Volunteer at Bird Camp!
It's crazy to think about, but next month is our summer Bird Camp! Campers 8-11 years old will join us here at GCBO for the week of June 4-8th from 9:00-1:00. They will learn all about birds and nature through activities, hikes, and hands-on science demonstrations.

If you know a young naturalist who might be interested in attending, please call GCBO to reserve your spot. It is first come, first served, 20 kids max and we are already half full!

If you are interested in volunteering at Bird Camp, please let Emma Shelly know at eshelly@gcbo.org. If you've run an activity in previous years, we would love to have you re-run them again! If you haven't, we can still use your help managing campers and assisting with the lessons!

Thank you volunteers!
Bird With Us!
Oaxaca, Mexico in September 2018
Veracruz, Mexico in October 2018
Duluth, Minnesota in January 2019
 
We will be in pursuit of so many incredible birds as we partner with expert tour leaders to ensure the best experience possible.
 
Come chase exotic raptors in Veracruz with Bill Clark, one of the leading authorities on raptors, and Martin Hagne, GCBO’s Executive Director. 
 
Find exquisite endemics and tropical species in Oaxaca with expert guide Eric Martinez,
and Martin Hagne, GCBO’s Executive Director. 
 
Experience the hard to find boreal bird species in Duluth with long time guide Kim Eckert,
and Martin Hagne, GCBO’s Executive Director.
 
This is first-come first-served registration and proceeds go to supporting GCBO’s research programs! What a great way to support GCBO!
 
You can now see the full itineraries for the Oaxaca and Veracruz trips on our website
Contact Martin Hagne at mhagne@gcbo.org with questions and to book your spot.

Raptor aficionados, do we have the trip for you! Join Bill Clark and Martin Hagne in Veracruz for your chance to see a variety of resident and migrating raptors including Great Black-Hawks (above), Bat Falcons, Snail Kites and more. And stay on longer with our special trip extension for your chance to see eagles. Focus will be on Ornate Hawk-Eagles (right), Black Hawk-Eagles, Black-and-white Eagles, and Solitary Eagles.
A Home for the Martins
Kay and Robert Lookingbill, and Tom Taroni recently donated and installed a new Purple Martin house here on the GCBO grounds!  A team of GCBO PUMA Landlords will be formed to care for it and the martins. Thank you so very much Kay, Robert, and Tom!
Growing the Growery
We've mentioned the Growery a few times before but we really want to spotlight our native plant nursery. Not only is it looking beautiful thanks to the attention of Chris Kneupper and other volunteers, but it's starting to get organized and more "shopper-friendly" as well, with new signs and plants assorted by type.
There's still a TON to do however and we are still looking for anyone who can volunteer some time Saturday mornings to help. Stop on by from 9-noon every Saturday and spend a morning working in our shady, green nursery helping us to sort and re-plant!
Project Soar Thank You Cards
Last week we received a whole bunch of thank you cards from the students of O'hara Lanier Middle School in Freeport. The students wrote about their favorite parts of Project Soar which visited them earlier this year and decorated the front of the cards with some awesome artwork. The first one is one of my favorites because the student illustrated two hooded grebes tangoing. I show this video at the start of the presentation to get kids interested in bird behavior, including dances.

Here are a few of my favorites:
GCBO Presents: Kevin Karlson's "Birds of Prey" and Photography Workshops
Join us Friday, October 5th 2018 from 7:30 - 8:30 pm as Kevin Karlson presents this visually stunning program reflecting the mood and content of Birds of Prey by Pete Dunne and Kevin Karlson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). The show begins with a video introduction by Pete Dunne where he explains the concept of the book as images of raptors are shown. Kevin will then present all the raptor groups with images from the book and share some of his birds of prey stories. A special musical ending will highlight some of the most spectacular raptor images ever assembled by 19 top North American photographers.

A $5 donation is suggested for admittance. Kevin will be available to sign copies of his book after and we will have his book for purchase at GCBO.
Photography Workshops with Kevin
Kevin will be running two photography sessions the Saturday and Sunday after his talk (October 6th and 7th). See below for details:

Saturday, October 6, 2018: Wildlife Photography

Cost: $80 for Saturday only or $140 for Saturday and Sunday combined
Join wildlife photographer Kevin Karlson at GCBO’s headquarters in Lake Jackson, TX as he shares basic and advanced techniques for photographing wildlife in action, and the crucial awareness of lighting principles to maximize your success.
 
Topics covered will include: handheld versus tripod techniques; proper exposure/camera settings for different field conditions; subject acquisition; subject tracking/synchronous panning; advantages of manual exposure for quick light compensation; balancing white and dark subjects using exposure basics; artistic exposures and creative lighting. Each of these topics will be simply explained, with a variety of photos providing visual examples of each, often with camera setting information. This workshop is somewhat technical in nature, with knowledge of basic camera operation required.
 
Bring a photo for a critique session! Each participant can bring a photo (first 20 registrants can bring two) on a thumb drive to submit for critiquing and feedback by Kevin and the group as a whole. Participants will discuss alternative composition options and balance for photos providing a fun learning experience for everyone!
Saturday workshop limited to 40 participants.

Below: Merlin by Kevin Karlson
Sunday, October 7, 2018: Raptor Photography

Cost: $80 for Sunday only or $140 for Saturday and Sunday combined
Join Kevin at the Smith Point Hawk Watch at Candy Abshier WMA in Smith Point, TX for an in-field session photographing raptors in flight, butterflies, wildflowers and whatever else we can find! This comprehensive interactive workshop will build on Saturday’s workshop by putting to use the instructions and tips in field situations. Kevin will explain the principles of flight and action photography and how these techniques are best applied in field situations. Topics covered will include the basics of flight and action photography, including handheld technique; proper exposure; subject acquisition; subject tracking; advantages of manual exposure; and importance of practice with a variety of subjects. Each participant will get individual attention on how to best capture flight and action wildlife images. If you want to take your action photography to the next level, this is a good workshop for you. Remind - there are no services at Smith Point. Bring your lunch, sunscreen, hat, binoculars, camera, spotting scope, and plenty to drink.
Sunday workshop limited to 20 participants
 
 
Cost:  $80 for Saturday
$80 for Sunday
$140 for Saturday/Sunday combination
 
Please call GCBO at 979-480-0999 to reserve your spot and make payment, All proceeds benefit the Smith Point Hawk Watch
 
Location & Time:
Saturday, October 6, 2018 : 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory,          
                                                  299 Hwy 332 West, Lake Jackson, TX 77566
Sunday, October 7, 2018 :   9:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Smith Point Hawk Watch
Above: Crested Caracara by Kevin Karlson
Adopt an Oystercatcher Pair!
Just a continuing reminder that you can still adopt an Oystercatcher pair to support our research! Sue will update you monthly on your pair's progress and you will receive a certificate with a photo of your bird and their banding information.

There's a selection of pairs available on our  website .

You can also follow along with our field season on our blog, The Oystercatcher Diaries, which can be found at the bottom of our home page.
Bird Banding Highlights
We had an incredible banding session last month and would like to share some of the highlights. We caught:

Worm-eating Warbler (1st ever banded at GCBO)
Gray-cheeked Thrush (1st ever banded at GCBO)
Louisiana Waterthrush (only 3 banded at GCBO previously- all in 2013)
Yellow Warbler (only 2 banded previously - 2 in 2009 ans 1 in 2012)
Painted Bunting adult male (1st adult male banded at GCBO)

(These birds shown in order left to right in the photos below. Photo credit, Brooks Short)

With the Worm-eating Warbler and Gray-cheeked Thrush, our grand total is now at 86 species banded at GCBO since banding began!

Join us Saturday May 19th from 8:00 - noon for our next session!
Wish List
Your in-kind contributions help us tremendously by freeing up much needed funds for our research and projects. Thank you!!
 
Black Oil Sunflower Seed
We feed year-round here at GCBO, and during migration at Quintana. We stock our GCBO feeders to help augment natural foods, and this also helps our monthly banding research project. 
 
1 Gallon Plastic Pots
We can use your used 1 gallon nursery plant pots for the Growery. We go through a lot of 1 gallon pots when potting up new plants. Let’s recycle them here. We’ll take one or a hundred! 
 
Sugar
Our hummers are thirsty! We keep hummer feeders up all year and those guys suck up that sugar water! We always need regular sugar. We mix 4 parts water and 1 part sugar, and no food coloring!! 
 
Now when you shop at Kroger, you can support GCBO!
GCBO is a registered charity through Kroger's Community Rewards Program. This means that you can register your Kroger Plus Card online and select GCBO as the organization of your choice. Every time you use your Kroger Plus Card, Kroger will donate a portion back to GCBO! This is an easy way to support GCBO while you shop - your donations help us continue to protect birds and birding habitat around the Gulf Coast and beyond. To register your Plus Card, click here . Our charity number is #80345.

Donate to GCBO!
Telephone:  979-480-0999  |  Email Us
All photographs are courtesy of GCBO staff unless otherwise noted.