October 12, 2023 – All Things Finch

Matthew Young, President and Founder, Finch Research Network

Many birders love to see the invasion of northern finches, whether Evening Grosbeaks, Siskins, Purple Finches or Crossbills; colorful visitors from the North. In this program Matt will cover all things finch, from finch irruptions, to winter finch forecasts, to finch research projects, including projects like the Evening Grosbeak Road to Recovery Project, and the distribution and ecology of Red Crossbill flight calls.

Matthew A. Young is President and Founder of the Finch Research Network. He has a B.S. in Water Resources with a minor in Meteorology from SUNY-Oneonta and an M.S. in Ornithology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry/Syracuse University. He was a Regional Editor of the Kingbird for 10 years, the state ornithological journal in New York, was an Adjunct Professor in Environmental Studies at SUNY-Cortland, and currently teaches an Intro to Birding class for Cornell University and is the Board Chair at The Wetland Trust. For over 25 years he’s been a social worker. He’s also worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for 15 years where he’s done extensive field work including leading the Lab’s first Finch Irruptive Bird Survey for Bird Source in 1999. He was the Collections Management Leader/Audio Engineer at the Macaulay Library 12 years where he edited and engineered sounds for Merlin, Songs of the Warblers of North America, Audubon Society Voices of Hawaii’s Birds, and more. He’s been guide for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, written finch species accounts for Birds of the World, and published papers about the Red Crossbill vocal complex. He’s currently working on Finches of North America with Lillian Stokes.

7PM via Zoom

September 14, 2023 – Tricolored Blackbird Conservation: Teamwork makes the dream work

Xerónimo Castañeda, Senior Conservation Project Manager, Audubon California

Prior to 2015, Tricolored Blackbird conservation efforts had limited success. Regardless of those successes the species population was continuing a downward trajectory and extinction became a concern. In 2015, Audubon organized a coalition of diverse stakeholders that received a large grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop and implement a new conservation strategy for protecting this iconic species. This award provided our coalition the resources to build off past success and rapidly scale our conservation efforts while also expanding research and piloting new conservation strategies. In 2019, this species was listed as threatened under California’s ESA. The most recent statewide survey in 2022, reported a slight increase in the overall population. A growing interest in Motus technology by the conservation community has opened a door for us to advance our understanding of Tricolored Blackbird use of the landscape throughout their full life cycle.

Xerónimo Castañeda is Senior Conservation Project Manager with Audubon California. His work with Audubon focuses on implementing alternative land management practices of Central Valley wetlands and agricultural operations to provide multiple benefits for people and birds. He also leads Audubon’s Tricolored Blackbird conservation program. A native of California, Xerónimo has lived and birded all along the California coast from Monterey to Arcata, and even had the opportunity to spend a few months on the Farallon Islands. He studied Barn Owls in Napa Valley as part of his master’s thesis, and lead field crews studying passerine migration in coastal Maine and Virginia. Away from work, Xerónimo spends time in his riding bikes, cooking, hanging out with his dog Wren, and of course birding!

7PM via Zoom