May 2020
The Blackpoll Warbler is arguably one of the most impressive migrants among small birds. In the Fall, it makes a nearly nonstop journey from Northern forests over Atlantic waters to reach its wintering grounds in South America; in the Spring, it makes a more leisurely return journey via the West Indies and Florida, pausing locally to forage and sing in our subtropical canopy.
Photo: Owen Deutsch
May in the Field
Scheduling update: As we welcome the new month of May, most Miami-Dade and Broward parks have reopened for limited activities, but organized birding is not yet permitted. Area state and national parks remain closed, as does our TAS campus. For these reasons, previously scheduled May birding trips and on-campus May events are cancelled or postponed. We encourage you to catch the tail-end of Spring Migration solo or with a family member (see below). When the "formal gathering" green light is issued by Miami-Dade County, we will schedule accordingly, and you will be the first to know. Until then, please stay tuned to our weekly missives! 
Global Big Day
Help Make Birding History!
Saturday, May 9
Global Big Day is on the near horizon! Scheduled on the second Saturday in May, a date also celebrated as World Migratory Bird Day, Global Big Day is a 24-hour challenge for birders the world over to submit their bird sightings to Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology .
Now in its sixth year,  Global Big Day  was conceived by the renowned Lab and introduced to the birding community in 2015 to inspire a greater number of participants to add new bird sightings to its global bird database. (Cornell's comprehensive birding resources also include  eBird , Merlin , the  Macaulay Library  and most recently  Birds of the World ).
In its first year, 12,536 Global Big Day checklists cumulatively totaled 5,827 species, more than half of the world’s total number of bird species! In 2019, more than 35,000 participants from 174 countries submitted more than 92,000 checklists totaling 6,967 species — a new world record for the number of birds documented by humanity on a single day!
Together we can make 2020 the year that birding history is made again! Join the global birding community on Saturday, May 9 to help push the Global Big Day species tally over 7,000 and/or the single-day checklists over 100,000. 
It’s easy to participate! 
You can stick close to home, or now that some county parks have reopened you can venture further afield. Songbirds are usually most active in the morning, but water birds are often conspicuous at any time of day. Although Spring Migration is winding down, it's still surprising how many species you can spot by being observant.  (At the time of this writing, park visitors — limited to individuals or families of 9 or less — are asked to wear masks and walk paths in single file). Whether you visit an open space, bird along neighborhood swales or in your backyard, just be sure to be thoughtful and maintain social distancing protocols.  Click here for   MDC park visitation guidelines
Multiple checklists may be submitted during the day via the eBird website or the eBird Mobile app. Birding time must be at least 10 minutes for each checklist submitted.  
To add to the fun, members of Tropical Audubon, Audubon Everglades, Florida Keys Audubon, and South Florida Audubon Society are inviting all South Florida birders to post/share bird photos taken on Global Big Day to the Tropical Audubon Facebook Bird Board and discover what other birders post as well! Make sure to include the hashtag #GlobalBigDay with your post.  

For more information about Global Big Day 2020,  click  here
To share on Facebook, click here .

See you on the Bird Board,
Brian Rapoza
TAS Field Trip Coordinator
Reserve Your Spot Now
 Southeast Arizona Birding Trip
(during Monsoon Season)
August 2-11, 2020
Spaces Available
The Lucifer Hummingbird is among the jewels you may spot on this trip.
Stefan Schlick and TAS Field Trip Coordinator Brian Rapoza will lead this 10-day birding tour to Southeast Arizona, arguably the best place anywhere in the U.S. for early-August birding. When the mid-July monsoon rains arrive, the desert turns green and birds love it! Additionally, monsoon season is a great time for rarities to show up.

Desert birding will, for the most part, be restricted to the cooler early-morning or late afternoon hours, with much of each day spent exploring higher elevations in the Chiricahua, Huachuca and Santa Rita mountains, scouting specialties such as Elegant Trogon, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Mexican Chickadee and Red-faced Warbler. The number of hummingbirds and other fascinating birds that can potentially be seen in this region is staggering, so even if you've birded Southeast Arizona before, you’ll still feel like a kid in a candy store! 

Fee: $1,900 per/person double occupancy, $400 single supplement, which includes transportation, lodging, guides and park fees. Not included is round-trip airfare to Tucson, meals, tips, laundry or other incidental expenses. A $500 deposit is due at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due by May 2, 2020.   If COVID-19 travel moratoriums result in a trip cancellation, all monies will be fully refunded.

For details or to book your trip, click here .  Email  Brian Rapoza , TAS Field Trip Coordinator for additional information.
Plants for Birds Feature
Diversify your Green Space for the Birds!
A Gray Catbird perches in a native American beautyberry bush, whose fruit provide nourishment for birds.
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 three different types of native plants that can usually be purchased locally:
Corkystem passionflower is a low-climbing herbaceous vine with extremely variable leaves and stems up to 2 feet or more in length. It sometimes spreads horizontally and forms large open or dense patches. Its delicate white flowers attract pollinators year-round, including hummingbirds in winter. It produces purple-black globose berries that birds love. As the larval host plant for the Gulf Fritillary, Julia and Zebra Longwing butterflies, it also supplies caterpillars – a favored food for many birds, particularly migratory species.
American beautyberry is a showy, shrub that grows to an approximate height and width of 5 to 10 feet, with long branches that bear yellow-green foliage and small, pink flowers. Beautyberry's most distinctive feature is its round clusters of bright, glossy purple fruit at leaf axils that produce year-round, peaking from late summer through winter. This aptly named plant prefers sun to partial shade and moist, rich soils. It serves as an important food source for wildlife, providing nectar for butterflies and fruit for birds, including vireos, mockingbirds, orioles, crows and jays.
Buttonwood is a versatile small tree (or trimmed shrub) that can be used as an accent or a specimen tree in residential and commercial landscapes, as a trimmed or informal hedge and in buffer plantings; it also does well in pots. Buttonwood provides significant food and cover for many species of birds and other wildlife. Its flowers, leaves and rough bark attract various insects, which, in turn, become protein for insect-eating birds. Considered one of South Florida's best bird trees, the buttonwood is known to host flycatchers, warblers, vireos, woodpeckers, grackles, jays, and hummingbirds, among others.  
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. 
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 , once the group gathering restrictions are lifted by Miami-Dade County, there will be renewed volunteer opportunities on our 2.2-acre campus.
For now, we encourage you to call your local nursery (among the businesses considered essential!) 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 authored by TAS board member, Nature Photographer and Writer Kirsten Hines.
Conservation News
Exploring the Nature-Health Relationship
The illegal trapping and subsequent sale of songbirds in South Florida and elsewhere is rampant. Two targeted species are the Indigo Bunting and Painted Bunting (pictured above in an illegal trap).

In late April, a TAS member was involved in bringing a trapper of buntings and other wild birds to the attention of the proper authorities. The arresting officer observed that illegal trafficking of wild birds and other wildlife is being perpetuated daily in our country from coast to coast. The Everglades Foundation's latest ecological brief — " The N ature of Health, or the Health of Nature? " by Dr. Ruscena Wiederholt — explores the connection between the disruption of natural ecosystems, habitat destruction, wildlife trade and the current COVID-19 pandemic. It reminds us that our Mission to conserve ecosystems and wildlife is more important now than ever. Although we may see the root causes of the pandemic as far removed, it is a stark reminder that habitat destruction here in South Florida also has a health cost.
Green Things to Do
WANTED: Social Butterflies & Shutterbugs
Share your Garden Images with TAS!
Schaus' Swallowtail Butterfly, one of Florida's rarest butterflies.
Are you a social butterfly or iPhone shutterbug? Capture a compelling image of your bird-friendly garden or a close-up of your favorite native plant, with or without birds or other wildlife in the photo, and post it to our Facebook Bird Board, using the hashtag #TASDemoGarden or #TASPlantsforBirds!
“Pollinators” Art Exhibit @TAS
Online Sale TBA
Presented by Tropical Botanic Artists 
Lignum vitae and honeybee
Artist: Kristi Bettendorf
This exhibition of original art showcases the variety of creatures who pollinate South Florida’s abundant plant life. Focusing on these complex natural relationships, members of the Tropical Botanic Artists collective illustrated birds, butterflies, moths, bees, wasps – even aquatic zooplankton — with the plants they pollinate. An informative label accompanies each work.
The crucial role of pollinators is familiar to commercial farmers and home gardeners alike. In South Florida’s remaining uncultivated places – pine rocklands, hardwood hammocks, wetlands and coastal mangroves – the connection between plants and their pollinators is symbiotic. These co-dependent relationships, though not always obvious, can be extremely strong. Without one, the other will not survive.

ABOUT the Artists:  The Tropical Botanic Artists collective was established in Miami, Florida, in 2006 to highlight the beauty of tropical plants through art. Its members come from all walks of life and each brings a unique viewpoint to his or her work. They share a love of the natural world and that fascination is reflected in their art. Artists with works in the Pollinators exhibit are Margie Bauer, Beverly Borland, Kristi Bettendorf, Silvia Bota, Marie Chaney, Susan Cumins, Jeanie Duck, Pauline A. Goldsmith, Leo Hernandez, Carol Ann Lane, Elsa Nadal, Laurie Richardson, Donna Torres and Jedda Wong. All are South Florida residents. For more information, visit
The Birds Thank