Public Programs

Redwood Region Audubon Society advocates for the protection of birds and wildlife by supporting local conservation efforts to protect wildlife and their habitat.

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Wednesday, May 17

"Bar-tailed Godwits: A personal history of excessive flying”.

by Dr. Jesse Conklin

In this talk, Jesse will discuss how his own career in ornithology, including 18 years of research on Alaska-breeding Bar-tailed Godwits, has been irreparably entwined with the quest to understand just how far a bird can fly. Each year, these birds make a round trip of more than 30,000 kilometers between Alaska and their non-breeding areas in New Zealand and Australia. Jesse will discuss how our understanding of the godwits’ incredible trans-Pacific migration has evolved over time with advancements in tracking technology, and how much we still don’t know.


Jesse grew up in southern California and received a BSc in Graphic Design from San Jose State University in 1990. After learning that you could theoretically get paid to look at birds, he threw away that career and came to Humboldt State University, where he received an MSc in Wildlife in 2005, studying Dunlin in Humboldt Bay. Continuing to study migratory shorebirds, he has worked extensively in Alaska, received a Ph.D. in Ecology from Massey University in New Zealand in 2012, and did 10 years of post-doctoral research while based in The Netherlands. He has been Editor-in-Chief of the ornithological journal Wader Study since 2015. Now an independent researcher focusing on migration behavior and population genetics of shorebirds, Jesse recently moved back to Humboldt County, because it is just nicer than Europe.

This program was recorded. There were technical difficulties early in the program, so you may want to fast forward for 20 or 30 minutes.

The link below will take you to the recording. You will need the following passcode:


Watch the recording here.

Jesse Conklin with a male Bar-tailed Godwit captured in Nome, Alaska on 25 June 2009.

Photo by Murray Potter.

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Wednesday, April 19, 7:30 pm

“Wallacea or Just Kicking Around in Indonesia"

With Gary Friedrichsen

Gary will first discuss Alfred Russel Wallace, “The Father of Biogeography” including his early thoughts on evolution, and his travels in the Malaysian archipelago.

The talk will also feature Gary’s recent trip to the islands of Sulawesi, Halmahera, and West Papua including photos of the avifauna and other aspects of Indonesian life.

Gary has lived in Humboldt County since attending  Humboldt State College in 1964. From 1970 - 2000 he resided in the famous duck hunting shack at the mouth of Jacoby Creek and served as the duck clubs’ caretaker.

He graduated from HSU in 1974 and began working for the National Marine Fisheries Service out of La Jolla, California, first as a biologist aboard tuna seiners working in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, and then as a researcher on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessels surveying dolphins in the same area. He also commercial fished for salmon and crab in the off-season.

He has been a member of the Redwood Region Audubon Society for 40 years and has served on the Board for seven years.

The live program will be held at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road, Arcata. It will be simultaneously zoomed. Hot drinks and goodies will be served at 7:00 p.m. so bring a mug to enjoy shade-grown coffee. Please come fragrance-free.

You may also watch the program on Zoom here.

Wednesday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m.

“Earbirding in Humboldt County: Recording, Editing, and Learning Birdsongs”

by Robert Childs.

Robert will talk about his motivations and procedures for creating the website, and share tips for identifying birds using their songs and calls. This will include descriptions of how to use your phone to record and learn bird songs, along with steps for using easy-to-use sound editing software to turn your recordings into phone alarm sounds or for submissions to Cornell Labs.

Robert believes that many people who spend time outdoors are interested in birds but are stymied by the difficulty of spotting them in the foliage. Learning a few birdsongs for each of our habitats adds a whole new dimension to being in nature! Robert will be playing recordings of some unusual local bird sounds that casual birders might not be familiar with, some sounds made by mammals that are commonly mistaken as bird sounds, and some of his favorite bird recordings from Guatemala and Australia.

Robert received a BS in Wildlife Management from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1975, and then taught high school sciences in the state for nine years, including short courses in Ornithology and Entomology. After working summers in Sequoia National Park and starting a company that took people rappelling into vertical caves in Mexico, he and his wife moved to Humboldt County in 1989, where he taught for 21 years at Eureka High School. There he developed environmental field science classes and organized 10 student “adventure education trips” to Belize and Guatemala. He’s birded in more than 20 countries, participated in the exploration of caves in Borneo that led to the formation of a national park, and enjoys sharing his love of insects and art on the Backcountry Press poster “Common Butterflies of Coastal Humboldt County.”  

This program was recorded. You may enjoy it on Zoom! using passcode uG!$W5=g

This Is Standard Text

Marsh Wren singing in Arcata Marsh

Photo by Ken Burton


Photo of Bear Creek Greenway by Frank Lospalluto

Wednesday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m.

The Incredible Birds of India

with "Bird Man," Mr. Sai

Mr. Sai guided our RRAS president, Gail Kenny, and her family on an amazing bird excursion during a trip to Southern India this past August.

Also known as ‘‘Bird Man,’’ Mr. Sai is a wildlife researcher, photographer, guide, and conservationist in Tirupati, India where he works as a wildlife consultant to Tirupati Wildlife Management Division and a wildlife biologist at Sri Venkateswara National Park. Mr. Sai has been passionate about wildlife photography since childhood. As a Tirupati native, he always had a dream to photograph birds and animals in Seshachalam forest where there are 215 species of birds. Mr. Sai has photographed 179 of them and 574 bird species in India. He has a MA in Wildlife Sciences and a diploma in Ornithology. 

This will be a hybrid meeting with Kartik Sai joining us from India via zoom with in-person audience and a zoom option to join.

The program starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road, Arcata. Hot drinks and goodies will be served at 7 p.m. so bring a mug to enjoy shade-grown coffee. Please come fragrance-free.
Watch the Recording Here

To watch the recording you will need this passcode:  


Wednesday, November 16

“Chasing birds in the Amazon and the Alpine:
Stories from a Field Biologist.”
Dr. Ben Vernasco shared stories from his research in two contrasting habitats, the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Wallowa Mountains of Northeastern Oregon. 
This program was recorded. You can listen to it here: Chasing birds with Ben Vernasco.

You will need this password: p8!SwuWj

We were having sound issues at the hall for about 15-20 minutes at the beginning. We eventually figured out the problem and the talk resumed going normally.
This was a great presentation, we recommend fast forwarding the recording to where the slide changes for the best viewing experience. 
We apologize for this, but now we have the tech figured out for the next time our speaker zooms into the meeting.


Wallowa rosy finch  Photo by Ben Vernasco


He will show examples of his work with Neotropical manakins, Wire-tailed Manakins, and Wallowa Rosy-finches, a subspecies of the Gray-crowned Rosy-finch that exclusively breeds in the Wallowa Mountains.

The program starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road, Arcata. Hot drinks and goodies will be served at 7 p.m. so bring a mug to enjoy shade-grown coffee. Please come fragrance-free.

Wednesday, October 19

Program at 7:00, social hour 6:30

“The Path to Sea Otter Reintroduction in Oregon”

by Frank Burris of the Elakha Alliance.

As a keystone species, sea otters profoundly affect the mix of species around them, including locally breeding seabirds. Burris will discuss Elakha Alliance’s mission to restore a healthy population of sea otters to the Oregon Coast and the research and plans for reintroduction. The program starts at 7 p.m. at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road, Arcata.

Hot drinks and goodies will be served at 6:30 p.m. so bring a mug to enjoy shade-grown coffee. Please come fragrance-free.

This program was recorded. You can watch the recording here.  You will need to use this passcode: 


Wednesday, September 21

“The Natural History of the Seabirds of Trinidad and Humboldt”

Our presenter, Dr. Dan Barton, has observed a variety of change events – including extreme heat, eagle predation, raven harassment, and rising local sea levels – at colonies of seabirds around Humboldt Bay and Trinidad. Barton will share some of his observations, including aerial photo and video documentation of some of these events, largely through the lens of descriptive natural history.

Click here to watch the recording on ZOOM. 

A passcode is required:  7A^RLz6b

Pigeon guillemot with flat fish

Photo by Dan Barton

Friday, May 13
“Why Birdsong is Music - the Theory and Application”
With Dr. Doug Carroll
at the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship,  
24 Fellowship Way in Bayside

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

There will be a reception with light refreshments from 6:30 to 7:00. The program will begin at 7:00.

Doug Carroll will discuss his theory of defining music to include birdsong and not just human artistic creation. The talk will focus on the songs and sounds of birds but also will feature those of insects and mammals, and additionally he will cover natural sound recording techniques. The program will conclude with an interspecies musical piece performed live by Carroll on cello and accompanied by recorded birdsong.

This will be the first in-person program hosted by Redwood Region Audubon Society since the pandemic, and weather permitting, it will be held outdoors, so it may also incorporate some live bird melodies!

Doug is a cellist, composer and audio engineer whose work has spanned decades. He has performed in Europe and North America at major music festivals, and with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in the world premiere of “Ocean.” Doug taught audio and radio production at San Francisco State University and Menlo College. He holds an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College and an EdD from the University of San Francisco. Doug has recorded three CDs featuring animal sounds including “Music for Cello and Wild Animals” and has received over 1 million streams and downloads on Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music. 

Reservations are required – please call or text 707-267-4055 and provide your name and number of attendees.  In case of rain, the program will be held inside, where attendees must be masked and only 45 people can be accommodated. 

Watch the recording here!

“Barn Owls and Winegrape Vineyard Relations”
with Matt Johnson

Can barn owls and farmers mutually benefit each other? Matt Johnson will speak about the research he and his graduate students have been conducting with barn owls on winegrape vineyards in California, tracing the lab's work to better understand a reciprocal relationship between farmers and owls. Specifically, he'll summarize how farmers can use nest boxes to attract owls to their land, how many rodents the owls kill and where they hunt, and how this relationship may also be good for owls.

Matt is a professor of Wildlife Habitat Ecology at Cal Poly Humboldt, where he has taught since 1999. Before coming to Humboldt, Matt grew up in the Central Valley of California, earned a BS in Wildlife at UC Davis and PhD in Ecology from Tulane University. His dissertation research took him to the tropics, which sparked an interest in research on how birds and people can mutually benefit each other.

He is especially interested in agricultural areas, and after many years of research on insect-eating birds and pests in tropical coffee farms, he is turning his attention to birds in California agriculture. He leads several graduate students at a time on a study of barn owls in winegrape vineyards, along with undergraduate assistants. His goal as an educator is to help students not only learn the skills necessary to become accomplished biologists, but also to foster an appreciation for how good land management practices can benefit both people and nature. As a researcher, his goal is to answer ecological questions that offer practical information for farmers interested in helping barn owls that can also help farmers.

This wonderful program was recorded. If you missed it, you can view it using the link below. You will need to use passcode dt?G60%Y

Watch the recording here!

Adult barn owl with vineyard behind him.
Photo by Allison Huysman

Photo of Bear Creek Greenway by Frank Lospalluto

Watch the recording here!

You will need this passcode:


Friday, March 11, 7:00 pm

Our March Program:“Birds and the Burn: Community-powered surveys to measure effects of fire and restoration on the birds of Bear Creek” with Sarah Rockwell and Nate Trimble, was recorded.


In September of 2020, multiple fires impacted much of the streamside habitat along the Bear Creek Greenway in Jackson County, Oregon. The Bear Creek Greenway is a 20-mile paved path that runs through a large swath of riparian habitat in an otherwise mostly urban part of the Rogue River Valley. It is an important community resource for both human recreation and wildlife habitat. Riparian vegetation is crucial for many bird species that rely on deciduous plants and nearby water to nest, survive the winter, or rest and refuel during migration.

Local conservation organizations and southern Oregon birdwatchers have come together to monitor changes in the Bear Creek bird community over time, including effects of the 2020 fires. The goal of the Bear Creek Community Bird Survey is to use bird populations as indicators of watershed health, and measure whether riparian areas along Bear Creek are improving through ongoing restoration efforts or continuing to degrade from factors like urban development or climate change. Sarah Rockwell (Klamath Bird Observatory) and Nate Trimble (Rogue Valley Audubon Society), two of the survey coordinators, will talk about this community-powered effort, how the data will be used, and the results so far (including 44,000 observations submitted to eBird!).


Dr. Sarah Rockwell is a Research Biologist at Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) based in Ashland, Oregon. She joined KBO in 2013 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland and Smithso


Nate Trimble has a master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from Texas State University and has worked as a field biologist and community science coordinator in southern Oregon and northern California for numerous bird research studies over the last 8 years, including riparian birds, Black-backed Woodpeckers, and Northern Spotted Owls. 


Sarah and Nate have a 16-month-old daughter named Willow, who has already participated in many Bear Creek bird surveys.


“Twenty Years of Cats vs. Wildlife: A Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Perspective”

Monte Merrick, director of Humboldt Wildlife Care Center/Bird Ally X, will discuss the enormous toll free-roaming, domestic cats take on native wildlife. Find out what works to protect birds, reptiles and small mammals and also allows domestic cats to enjoy the outdoors.

Monte Merrick has been the director of Humboldt Wildlife Care Center/Bird Ally X for the last ten years. Monte has worked in the field of wildlife care in Washington, various places across California, and specifically as an emergency responder during oil spills, rescuing and rehabilitating oil impacted wildlife, responding to spills around the state, and internationally. Merrick is co-author of Introduction to Aquatic Bird Rehabilitation, the only manual of aquatic bird rehabilitation in existence.  

An injured bird is fed during rehabilitation.


Watch the recording here

You will need to enter this passcode: $xCmAm2&


Our January 14, 2022 Program was recorded. Click on the title to watch the program. You will need to use passcode:  




Ken Burton and Holli Pruhsmeier


Humboldt County hosts an impressive diversity and number of raptors in Winter.  Ken Burton will present the results of the winter raptor count he has been conducting in Loleta and Ferndale since 2007.  He will discuss spatial and temporal patterns and trends he has observed over the years, including within- and between-year fluctuations in numbers and demographics as well as raptor distribution in relation to habitat and responses to habitat changes.  He will include results of GIS analyses conducted by HSU graduate student, Holli Pruhsmeier.


Ken Burton is an ornithologist, tour guide, and author who has lived in Humboldt County since 2005.  He is a past president of RRAS and author of Common Birds of Northwest California and A Birding Guide to Humboldt County, both published by RRAS.  Ken currently is a lead biologist on PGE's Enhanced Vegetation Management program and coordinates RRAS' Arcata Marsh bird walk program.

In case  you missed our December program, you can view the recording here.  Use passcode   ve++M5J*

“A Holiday Photo Contest and Summary of Winter Bird Counts”
with Andrew Orahoske and guests.

Covering all five regional Christmas Bird Counts, and other upcoming winter bird surveys, this program will also include an interactive photo contest with prizes. One photo entry per person. The deadline to submit your best bird photos to is December 8. 

Join us here!

Barn Owl Sitting on Camera  -  Photo from Shutterfly


Taza Schaming with recently banded nutcracker.
Photo Credit Anya Tyson

November's program, “Clark's Nutcrackers and Whitebark Pine: Pivotal Players in our Western Mountains” with Taza Schaming, was recorded. The link to watch is at the bottom of the program description.

Whitebark pine and Clark’s nutcrackers have a fascinating relationship: the trees provide rich, fatty seeds (with more calories per pound than chocolate), and the birds “plant” the trees’ seeds. A single bird may hide up to 98,000 seeds in a year. These food caches help the birds get through the winter, and the leftovers grow into new trees.

Taza Schaming has been investigating the impact of the decline of whitebark pine on Clark's nutcrackers, studying the stability and resilience of the Clark’s nutcracker-whitebark pine mutualism, to help ensure persistence of these species and the nutcracker’s seed dispersal function. She carries out her research in both the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Washington’s Cascades, with the ultimate goal of determining which management actions will increase the persistence of nutcrackers throughout their range.

Watch the recording here

You will need to use this passcode: 


October Program

The Marbled Murrelet is an endangered seabird that nests in old-growth, coastal forests from central California to Alaska, up to 50 miles inland. This seabird species has long challenged both scientists and land managers alike with its unique life history and secretive nature. With little known information about murrelet nesting in Oregon, public and private forest managers struggle with how to address the conservation of this species. Since 2017, Oregon State University scientists have been tracking this elusive species on its long journey from the ocean to the coastal forests, collecting data that will help to inform future policy on land management.

Jennifer Bailey Guerrero grew up exploring all that Oregon’s wild has to offer. From the coast to the mountains to the plains, she set out at a young age to spend as much time outdoors as possible, a passion that gradually evolved into a career in science. Jennifer received a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Earth Science from Northern Colorado University in 2008 and a Master’s of Science in Biological Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island – Graduate School of Oceanography in 2012. She now serves as the program manager for the Oregon Marbled Murrelet Project and provides the ocean expertise for ongoing research efforts.

This program was recorded. You can view it here, using passcode !c1x!L4q

Our September 10, program featured two speakers, and was recorded!  Find the recording here and use the password 2Bm0GK to watch: 

Margo Robbins present “Traditional Fire Practices in a Contemporary Context,” and

Lenya Quinn-Davidson discuss “Bringing Prescribed Fire Back to the People.”

Margo Robbins is Executive Director of the Cultural Fire Management Council (CFMC), a 501 (c)(3) organization located on the upper Yurok Reservation in far Northern California, and co-founder and co-lead of the Indigenous People's Burn Network (IPBN), will discuss how these two entities are helping tribes revive their traditional burn practices.

The IPBN is a support network led by Native American people who are revitalizing their traditional fire cultures in a contemporary context.   The long-term goal of the IPBN is to assist indigenous nations across the U.S. and abroad to reclaim their traditional fire regimes.  Cultural practitioners of the Yurok, Hoopa, and Karuk tribes, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy piloted this project which culminated in the creation of the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk Healthy Country Plan which outlines a pathway for the three tribes to reclaim their traditional burn practices.  The CFMC is in the process of implementing the strategies outlined in the Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk Healthy Country Plan which include 1) Establish a family-led burn program, 2) Build local capacity, 3) Initiate Collaborative burning and learning opportunities, 4) Strengthen state and federal support of cultural burning.

The mission of the Cultural Fire Management Council is “to facilitate the practice of cultural burning on the Yurok Reservation and Ancestral lands, which will lead to a healthier ecosystem for all plants and animals, long term fire protection for residents, and provide a platform that will in turn support the traditional hunting and gathering activities of Yurok." Their long-term goal is to fully reclaim our sovereign right to use fire as a tool to restore Yurok ancestral territory to a healthy, viable ecosystem that supports the cultural lifeways of Yurok people

The CFMC has several strategies for achieving these goals. These include ongoing implementation of a cultural burn fire program, strengthening state and federal support of cultural burning, building local capacity, public outreach about good fire, and intergenerational transfer of knowledge. 

Margo graduated from Humboldt State University in 1987. Margo comes from the traditional Yurok village of Morek and is an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe. She gathers and prepares traditional food and medicine and is a basket weaver and regalia maker. She is also the Indian Education Director for the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School district, a mom, and a grandma.


Margo Robbins at a burn on the upper Yurok Reservation - photo by Matt Mais

Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Area Fire Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, will discuss recent efforts to bring prescribed fire back into the hands of landowners, community members, and cultural practitioners throughout California. Prescribed fire is used to increase biodiversity, reduce fire risk, and increase landscape and community resiliency, and recent catastrophic wildfire seasons have piqued national interest in increasing its use.

Lenya will share her community-based work in Humboldt County, as well as statewide policy and community organizing activities that are changing the face of prescribed fire throughout the West. Lenya’s primary focus is on the human connection with fire, and increasing the use of prescribed fire for habitat restoration, invasive species control, and ecosystem and community resiliency. Lenya works on prescribed fire issues at various scales, including locally in Humboldt County, where she works with private landowners to bring fire back as a land management tool; at the state level, where she collaborates on policy and research related to prescribed fire; and nationally, through her work and leadership on prescribed fire training exchanges (TREX).

Lenya received a Bachelor of Science from UC Berkeley and a Master of Arts in Social Science from Humboldt State University. She is passionate about using prescribed fire to inspire and empower people, from rural ranchers to agency leaders to young women pursuing careers in fire management, and everyone in between.

Lenya Quinn-Davidson at September Burn in Bear River  Photo by Thomas Stratton.


Watch the program here

Previous Programs

Changes in Nesting Bird Populations in the Los Angeles Area, 1995 - Present

Presented by Daniel S. Cooper, Ph.D.Research Associate in the Department of Ornithology at Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and President of Cooper Ecological Monitoring, Inc.

Dan is a lifelong resident of southern California, and is regarded as an expert on the birds of the region. Through research and independent consulting, he has spent more than 20 years conducting surveys and analyzing bird populations from the deserts to the coast, including rare and protected species such as the California Gnatcatcher and the coastal Cactus Wren.


Red-shouldered hawk on a power pole

Photo Credit Nurit Katz

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Copyright © 2021 - Redwood Region Audubon Society

Our Purpose

The purposes and objectives of this corporation shall be to engage in such educational, scientific, investigative, literary, historical, philanthropic, and charitable pursuits as may be part of the stated purposes of the National Audubon Society, of which this corporation shall function as a Chapter.

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 1054 Eureka,

CA 95502

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