June 2020
Least Tern nests are shallow scrapes on open sand, soil, or pebbles, occasionally lined with pebbles or grasses. Unlike some bird species, the downy chicks hatch with their eyes open.
Photo: Jim Verhagen
June in the Field
Scheduling Update
As we welcome June, most area parks and beaches have reopened with social distancing protocols in place. It is advisable to make yourself aware of the particular guidelines recommended in your municipality or intended destination. Although most of our migrant visitors have now flown north, you can still expect to see year-round residents, including wading birds, such as Wood Stork, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill and all the herons and egrets, plus songbirds such as Blue Jay, Northern Mockingbird and Northern Cardinal. Summer breeders that may take a little extra effort or luck to spot include White-crowned Pigeon, Mangrove Cuckoo and Swallow-tailed Kite. Our Doc Thomas House headquarters remains closed to the public. Please stay tuned for our timely updates and stay safe.
Nesting Stewards needed NOW
for Broward Least Tern Colony
Volunteers are urgently needed to help protect a nesting colony of Least Terns kicked just south of Deerfield Beach Pier. These Least Terns represent the only beach nesting colony of their species in Southeast Florida. Sign up for a rewarding opportunity to learn and teach about how to "Share the Shore." Contact Ann Wiley (954) 805-3355 for more details about volunteering. 
Bird the Ruins of Mexico's Yucatán
January 21-31, 2021
Spaces Available
The Collared Aracari is one of the many colorful species you may spot on this trip.
Pack your binoculars and embark on an intense, 11-day, 10-night birding adventure to the environmentally diverse Yucatán Peninsula. Led by TAS Field Trip Coordinator Brian Rapoza and a local guide, you'll witness native birds soar above the breathtaking Hochob, Becán, Chacchoben and Uxmal ruins, as well as other archaeological sites of interest on this extraordinary journey through the Mayan world. 
Eyes will be skyward daily as a rainbow array of birds, including hummingbirds, parrots, tanagers, flamingos, raptors and many more, put on a display. From trail hikes to boat rides, birding enthusiasts will have an opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor activities while learning about the history of the Maya and the birds that call the Yucatán Peninsula home. 
Fee: $2,745 per person double occupancy, $345 single supplement. Price includes transportation, lodging, guides and park fees. Not included is round-trip airfare to the Yucatán (arrival in Cozumel, departure from Merida), tips, laundry costs or other incidental expenses.   A $200 deposit is due at time of booking, balance of payment due by October 18, 2020.

To register or to view a detailed itinerary, click here .  Email  Brian Rapoza , TAS Field Trip Coordinator for additional information.

Share the Shore — and the Bay!
Attention, SoFla beachgoers:  While we’ve all been sheltering at home, shorebird nesting areas were not subject to human disturbance. So, as Miami-Dade and Broward beaches begin to reopen, we encourage beachgoers to help keep our beaches safe for shorebirds by avoiding their nesting areas.

Shorebirds are the original beachgoers! As we’re having fun in the sun, it’s also easy to respectfully share the sand with the shorebirds who nest in our area in the summer — specifically, the Wilson’s Plover, Least Tern and Black Skimmer. Helping these beach denizens safely hatch and raise their chicks is deeply meaningful, and a captivating teaching opportunity for kids.

Four tips to help shorebirds survive and thrive:
• Give nesting birds distance if the space allows. (Signs or volunteers usually alert us to these areas, but many posting and fencing efforts were delayed this season due to spring outdoor gathering restrictions.)  
• Where pets are permitted on beaches, keep them leashed, well away from birds and off dunes.
• Remove trash and food scraps, which attract animals who may eat shorebird eggs and/or chicks.  
• Stay on marked pathways, and do not traverse beach dunes or other nesting areas.

Audubon for Kids
Kindle a lifetime affinity for coastal stewardship in the children you nurture and love. Whether you are prepping kids to practice social distancing — from shorebirds and people — or are looking for off-screen kids activities, we've got you covered.
The  Audubon para niños  version is also now available!

Did You Know?
Signs made by kids can help spread the word on how to protect nesting shorebirds.
Chirping About
"Backyard Birding at Virus Time"
The Northern Cardinal inhabits South Florida yards; the male's crimson hue brightens our subtropical landscape year-round.
In the months since the pandemic has forced much of the public to shelter at home for long periods of time, there has been a flurry of articles about discovering, or rediscovering, the wonders of nature — especially birds — right outside our windows and doors. In the May edition of Coral Gables Magazine , Tropical Audubon Society President José F. Barros shares his thoughts about how observing our familiar neighborhood bird species can offer a welcome diversion.
Click HERE to read the article.
Plants for Birds Feature
Diversify your Green Space for the Birds!
The American Black Elderberry provides a bounty of fruit for the Brown Thrasher, among other species that dine on it.
Photo: Will Stuart
Your green space is your outdoor sanctuary, and with thoughtful native plant choices it can also be a haven for resident and migrating birds, as well as for other pollinators crucial to our planet’s survival. 

Because of our subtropical climate, a South Florida yard, garden or patio can provide an array of food choices for birds and other pollinators year-round. Enhancing your green space with many types of native plants can supply varied nutrient resources for wildlife in every season. 

When pondering what natives to plant, keep in mind that diversity is key to ecological landscaping. A mixture of diverse lawn, short-statured flowering plants, vines, shrubs and trees will attract the widest variety of wildlife. 
Consider these examples of different types of native plants that can usually be purchased locally:
Fire Flag , also known as Alligator Flag and Swamp Lily, is a wetlands plant with large, lance-like leaves that typically grows 3 to 6 feet tall, but can reach up to 10 feet. It likes shallow water or wet, poorly drained soil, and spreads to form large patches. It produces purplish blooms atop long stalks in the summer and fall, and is the larval host plant for the Brazilian skipper. Fire Flag can be grown from seed.
Shiny-leaf Wild Coffee   is a perennial, evergreen shrub that grows 4 to 6 feet tall, bearing wavy, dark-green leaves, small, white flowers and red fruit. It grows best in partial shade or full shade and well-drained soil. This shrub may attract mockingbirds, thrashers, waxwings, crows and jays.  
Florida Privet ,  also known as Florida Swamp Privet, Southern Privet and Wild Olive, is a perennial, semi-deciduous and multi-stemmed shrub that typically grows 8 to 15 feet tall and wide, bearing small, yellow-green, insect-pollinated flowers and dark purple or black fruit in fall and winter on female plants. Both male and female plants are needed. It prefers full to partial sun and moist soil. This shrub attracts warblers, vireos and other insect-eaters, as well as jays, catbirds, mockingbirds, cardinals and other fruit-eaters.
Tropical Sage ,  also known as Blood Sage, Scarlet Sage and Indian Fire, is an annual plant that grows 2 to 4 feet tall and easily reseeds itself. It can grow in full sun to shade in dry to moist soils, and produces spikes of showy, red flowers from February through October, typically attracting hummingbirds, but vireos, sparrows and wood warblers can also be drawn to it.
Bird-friendly Demonstration Garden @TAS
At our Steinberg Nature Center campus, we are in the midst of installing an expansive, new Bird-Friendly Demonstration Garden designed to inspire and empower Miami-Dade County residents to create vital habitat for birds and other wildlife across the region.
Should you wish to learn from our master gardeners and naturalists in  situ , stay tuned for renewed volunteer opportunities on our 2.2-acre campus.
For now, we encourage you to call your local nursery to inquire about what native plants they may carry or can order for you.

Need more resources?
Peruse The Institute for Regional Conservation's Natives for Your Neighborhood database.
For expert local advice, you can purchase  Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens coauthored by James A. Kushlan and TAS board member, Nature Photographer and Writer Kirsten Hines.
Featured Event
Take-out or Dine-in @Whisk Gourmet
Tuesday, June 9, 6-9pm
Make a dinner date at  Whisk Gourmet  and, in turn,  Whisk  will feather the proverbial TAS nest with 10 percent of its dinner revenues. Whisk is presently offering Take-out, Curbside-delivery or Dine-in options (dining room seating is limited due to social distancing guidelines, so reservations are required).

No matter how you choose to order, enjoy Chef Carlos Montenegro’s bright, boldly flavored seasonal cuisine, and  delectable  house favorites such as Roasted Cauliflower with Walnut Pesto, Filet Mignon Salad and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. 
Whisk  helps TAS protect all the places South Floridians cherish : Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay  and  The Everglades.  The Birds profusely thank Whisk's ownership team for so generously and gamely continuing this annual Summer dining series under our “new normal” scenario.
Save the Dates:  July 14 and August 11 for two more opportunities to Take-out or Dine-in for the Birds!

onsite free parking & valet service available @whiskgourmet

Bird-Friendly Garden Photo Contest New!
The native South Florida Firebush is a nectar source for the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Photo: Gary Robinette
Tropical Audubon Society invites you to submit photos you’ve taken of birds, butterflies and/or other pollinators in your Florida garden or yard. With rainy season upon us, it’s also the perfect time of year to enhance your bird-friendly habitat by planting more natives in your yard, or in pots on your patio or balcony. The nectar, fruit and seeds they provide will attract birds year-round. We can't wait to see your photos!

Contest Rules
  1. Open to amateur photographers of all levels.
  2. Entries accepted June 1-30.
  3. Limit 3 entries per participant.
  4. Photos must be taken in your Florida garden or yard; preference will be given to native flora or fauna.
  5. Photos should be no larger than 5MB without watermarks and free of photo-shopped elements.
  6. 300 dpi jpegs are preferable; smart phone settings should be at the highest possible resolution.

How to Enter 
E-mail up to 3 photos depicting birds and/or other pollinators in your bird-friendly habitat to outreach@tropicalaudubon.org

Include the following information in your email submission:
• First & last name
• Name of the plant, bird or other pollinator in each photo if known.
• County/Municipality
• Social media handles (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) to tag when the winner is announced

Timeline & Deadline
Submissions open Monday, June 1 through midnight, Tuesday June 30. Winners will be announced on Monday, July 20 at 12:30 p.m. across our social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). 

Photos will be judged on technical quality, composition, originality and how well the image showcases bird-friendly native plants and wildlife — birds, bees, butterflies, beetles or any other pollinators foraging in your green space. Judges will include TAS communications staff, professional photographers and photo editors.

1st Place : 1-year individual TAS membership, a $25 Gift Certificate to Galloway Farm Nursery toward the purchase of native plants and a copy of Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens by James A. Kushlan and Kirsten Hines. The winning photo will also be published in our TAS e-newsletter and social media pages. 

2nd Place: 1-year individual TAS membership and a $25 Gift Certificate to Galloway Farm Nursery toward the purchase of native plants. The 2 nd Place photo will also be published in our TAS e-newsletter and social media pages. 

3rd Place: $25 Gift Certificate to Galloway Farm Nursery toward the purchase of native plants. The 3 rd Place photo will also be published in our TAS e-newsletter and social media pages. 

Copyright Release : Your participation grants TAS full permission to freely use your photos (with credit to the photographer) for conservation messaging on various TAS platforms.  

Always remember to practice ethical bird photography!
Click HERE to learn more about how to be an ethical birder.
The Birds Thank