January 2024 Programs

Registration is required for all programs by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org unless otherwise specified.

We have binoculars!
If you’d like to borrow a pair, please ask when you register.

Wondering where to find raptors in winter? Join our EagleWatch!
Take part in Science (and Advocacy) in Action this winter. Join Naturalist Tait Johansson and the team from Bedford Audubon and Saw Mill River Audubon for EagleWatch. We will be monitoring roosting Bald Eagles within the Lower Hudson Valley Important Bird Area (IBA) to facilitate decision-making that impacts this Important Bird Area. This event is family-friendly—a fun way to introduce ecology to your kids!
Thursday late afternoons from January 11-February 15, approximately 1.5 hours before sunset. If you’re interested in checking it out, call 914-232-1999 or email Tait directly at taitjohansson@bedfordaudubon.org

What adult bird species regurgitates bone pieces as pellets much like owls?
The Belted Kingfisher because adults of this species can’t digest bones from their prey. Maybe you’ll see one at Naturalist Tait Johansson’s First Wednesday’s Bird Walk at Dean’s Bridge in Somers. In winter, there are often impressive numbers of waterfowl concentrated here at the north end of Muscoot Reservoir, especially after other bodies of water in the area have frozen over. We’ll also be on the lookout for Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead and other waterfowl, Brown Creeper, and Winter Wren in the various habitats encountered on this regular walk: water, wetland, grassland, and woodland areas.
Wednesday, January 3, 7:30-9:30am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Moderate (due to a steep incline on the trail). Registration is required by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org

Bedford Audubon’s Members’ Photo Exhibit Encore is Opening in Larchmont!
Celebrating the Beauty and Diversity of Birds in our Region is a selection of bird photographs captured by Bedford Audubon members. The images in this series feature birds found in areas where Bedford Audubon leads bird walks, including here in northern Westchester County and the surrounding areas of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Because birds are among the most seen examples of wildlife, people often overlook them or take them for granted. So, apart from showcasing the beauty of these birds, our objective is to create excitement about them so people will take notice and join in Bedford Audubon’s mission of protecting birds and their habitats.

The exhibit first opened in March 2023, at the Katonah Village Library followed by a two-week run at Bylane Farm, Bedford Audubon’s headquarters. Due to overwhelming popularity, the exhibit hit the road with a fall run at the Somers Library and is now heading down county. With the support of our sister chapter, Bronx River Sound Shore Audubon, a winter showing of the exhibit will be on display at the Larchmont Public Library from January 2-February 27, 2024.

Please join us for refreshments at an Opening Reception on Saturday, January 6th from 2:00-4:00pm. Please RSVP to Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org.

Monthly Lecture Series: Insects and Macrophotography with Henry Myers.
Please join us for our January Public Lecture with Henry Myers on The Tiny World Around Us. Who needs megafauna anyway?!  The often-overlooked miniature world of insects and other creepy crawlies will leave you in awe… and maybe a little grossed out… OK definitely a little grossed out, but in a good way.  We will discuss different tools and techniques for observing these amazing animals while looking at some macro images and hearing the stories behind them.

About Henry:
Henry Myers’ major in biology at SUNY Purchase and involvement in local nature centers and nature-based organizations kindled his drive to support place-based environmental education. Henry earned a master’s degree in secondary science education with a concentration in biology from Pace University. Following the completion of his master’s, he worked for a few years as a NYC public high school teacher.

As the Associate Director of Forest Education at Rye Nature Center, Henry teaches Forest Preschool and helps to develop standard-based lessons for local school groups. He also helps their volunteer beekeeper care for our indoor and outdoor hives.

Wednesday, January 10, 7:00pm lecture; refreshments begin at 6:45pm. Registration is not required. Katonah Village Library Garden Room. *Note: Betsy Mitchell’s program, originally scheduled for this month, has been moved to March.

Birding Weekend Getaway Moved to March…
Our annual winter birding trip to Cape Ann and Newburyport is fast approaching. There are still some spots left… please join us! Last year, our bird list included Eastern Screech Owl, Iceland Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, “killer looks” at Harlequin Ducks, Short-eared Owl, Lapland Larkspur, Horned Larks, and many more birds, plus a Gray Seal and coyote! This is an extended weekend trip along the northern coast of Massachusetts, the winter home to an amazing array of seabirds. We’ll spend our days birding in Salisbury Beach State Park Reservation, Andrews Point, Halibut Point State Park, the Plum Island section of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, and other areas. It’s always a fun trip, with hospitality events including a welcome reception and optional group dinner.
Friday, March 1-Monday, March 4. Cost: $150.00 (members); $185.00 (non-members and we’ll credit $35 toward an annual membership). The fee does not include hotel, transportation, or meals, but does include full days of expert-led bird walks, welcome reception, and a full itinerary.  CLICK HERE for more details, or email Susan for the most up-to-date info.

Interesting fact: a group of ravens is called an “unkindness.”
And while we often see ravens on our Third Thursday’s Bird Walk, the folks you’ll meet on this walk could only be described as a “kindness” of birders! Join Naturalist Tait Johansson for this popular and easy local walk in the Cross River Reservoir area of Katonah. It’s a great for beginning birders as well as those with more experience. This month, we’ll be looking for wintering waterbirds on the reservoir such as Common Merganser and Pied-billed Grebe, as well as Bald Eagle, Common Raven, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and possibly Eastern Towhee.
Thursday, January 18, 7:30-9:30am. Cost: Free: Level of Difficulty: Easy. Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org.

Introduced in the US in the 1860s for its ornamental value, Multiflora rose was once promoted by the USDA Soil Conservation Service for erosion control and it was touted as a food and cover source for wildlife. One hundred years later, its overall effect on habitat value was determined to be negative.*
Get some fresh air and work off some of the holiday excess by joining Naturalist and Board Member Steve Ricker for Habitat Renewal Day, as we continue our work to remove invasive species from around our property and sanctuary. This month, the plan is to rescue native Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina) from being smothered by Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora) and other invasive species.  This will enhance the quality of the rare shrub habitat that surrounds the Bylane Farm area and make it attractive to many increasingly rare bird species like Brown Thrashers (Toxostoma rufum) and Blue-winged Warblers (Passerina cyanea).  Highbush Blueberry is a great plant to introduce into your own garden or landscape. Steve teach us how to identify the native plants from the invasives before we begin. Tools and gloves will be provided, or you can bring your own (loppers and hand pruners are the most used tools). Plants with thorns, and poison ivy may be present.
Saturday, January 20, 11:00am-12:30pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy-Moderate. Please register with Susan: info@bedfordaudubon.org .  *Invasive Plant Factsheet: Multiflora Rose by Victoria Wallace, Alyssa Siegel-Miles, Klaudia Sowizral, UConn Extension

New Date…
It’s time for our popular winter Field Trip to Greenwich Point with Naturalist Tait Johansson. Greenwich Point is an Important Bird Area (IBA) and due to the park’s peninsular geography and the variety of habitats available, it is an important migrant stopover for many species of birds. Good numbers of waterfowl winter offshore and in Eagle Pond so we will be looking for Brant, Greater Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Great Cormorant, Horned Grebe, both Common and Red-throated Loons and Ruddy Turnstone. On land, we might be lucky enough to encounter Hermit Thrush, Fox Sparrow, and Snow Bunting.
Sunday, January 21, 8:00am-12:00pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy. Registration is required by emailing Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org.

“[A] masterful survey . . . There’s fascinating trivia on every page, making for a revelatory glimpse into the lives of the ‘enigmatic’ raptors. Bird lovers will be enthralled.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Join the January Bylane Book Club to discuss What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic Birds by Jennifer Ackerman. This is the author of The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way, both earlier Bylane Book Club picks. What an Owl Knows explores what we’ve learned in the past decade or two about owls, those enigmatic, fascinating, and elusive birds.  It looks at how owls communicate, how they court, mate, raise their young, whether they act from instinct alone or from intelligence and learning, how they relate to one another – and to us. And it explores the people obsessed with these magnificent birds, from biologists and conservationists who have devoted their lives to owls, to citizen scientists and people who work one-on-one with owls to heal them if they’re injured or train them to be animal ambassadors. The book is about what we’ve learned about some of the deepest mysteries of owl biology and behavior, their individuality, personality, emotions, and intelligence.
Monday, January 22, 6:30pm. Cost: Free. We’ll meet in person at Bylane Farm or on Zoom depending on the weather. Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org; she will provide all the details the day before the meeting.

Short-eared Owls are one of the few owls that nest on the ground.
Though they won’t be nesting in January, we’re hoping to catch a glimpse of one on Naturalist Tait Johansson’s Field Trip to Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge. This is a popular trip, so you’ll want to register early before it fills up. This refuge protects approximately 600 acres and was established in 1999 to support grassland-dependent migratory birds and wintering raptors. This walk is unusual in that it is a late-day trip, and we’ll be mostly stationary as we look the main attraction (yes, the Short-eared Owl!), which winter here and start flying over the grasslands at dusk or a little before to hunt. We also hope to see Northern Harriers and possibly Rough-legged Hawk.
Friday, January 26, 3:30-5:30pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy. Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org.

Double Exposure!
If you missed it before, you have another chance to join our newest Board Member’s workshop while the Member’s Photo Encore Exhibit is on show at Larchmont Public Library…

You’ve been out on a bird walk or had a great bird in your backyard and got the image but it’s just not perfect. What can you do to make it into the picture you want to frame? Join Bedford Audubon board member and photo enthusiast John Hannan for his Workshop: Tips & Tricks to Make Your Birding Photos Stand Out. John will lead you through the steps to pick the right image; tweak light, color, sharpness, and noise options so the image pops; and then crop and size for best subject placement. Whether you use a Mac or Windows machine, free or paid software, this workshop will give you the tools to start making your best images ”picture-perfect” and turn those frustrating “almost perfect” shots into great photographic memories. After the workshop, check out the Bedford Audubon Members’ Photo Exhibit that is on display at the library; several of the images were taken by John!

John Hannan recently retired from BirdLife International, the world’s largest partnership of bird conservation organizations. He is a Somers resident, long-time Bedford Audubon member, Board Member, and past board president, as well as an avid naturalist and amateur photographer.

Saturday, January 27, 2:00-4:00pm. Cost: Free. Registration is required through Larchmont Public Library. Click here to register.

Let your imagination take flight!
We’re delighted to announce a brand-new series of Bird Art Workshops taught by Fine Artist and Science Illustrator Charlotte Holden. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Charlotte works as a Botanical Illustrator/Graphic Designer for New York Botanical Garden and has been a Scientific Illustrator for American Museum of Natural History. Her illustrations have been published in Living Bird Magazine and she has won several awards. While still a student, Charlotte led Bedford Audubon first Paint Nights, and we’re very excited she will be back to share her expertise in our trilogy of upcoming workshops. Please note there is a fee for each workshop; this fee will help offset our cost of this series and includes all art supplies and materials. Details follow:

Workshop #1: Basics of Drawing Birds
This class will focus on the drawing of birds, from finding basic shapes to defining accurate anatomy and building value through shading. Participants will work from provided photographs of birds to learn the stages of creating a representational drawing. The class will also cover the basics of bird anatomy, specifically as it applies to the drawing process, including simple skeletal structure, feather groups and proportions. Come draw some birds with us and learn a little bit about them in the process!
Saturday, January 20*, 10:00-11:00am. Cost: $40.00 (includes all art supplies/materials). Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate. Class size is limited to eight students. *Snow/weather Date: Sunday, January 21

Workshop #2: Basics of Watercolor
Learn watercolor techniques and how to begin your very own watercolor painting. Participants will work from provided photos of birds beginning with a drawing and continuing to watercolors. The class will begin with a brief watercolor tutorial then participants will have time to draw their subject and explore a new medium at their own pace with opportunities for feedback. A great way to spend a Saturday morning in a relaxed environment studying birds!
Saturday, February 24*, 10:00am-12:00pm. Cost: $40.00 (includes all art supplies/materials). Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate. Class size is limited to eight students. *Snow/weather Date: Sunday, February 25

Workshop #3: Birds in Watercolor
This workshop will dive into more advanced watercolor, touching on color theory and how it applies to birds. Participants will create a drawing from provided photographs then transfer their drawings to watercolor paper for a more finished painting. We will learn about how birds get their beautiful colors and how that applies to painting them. A great way to practice drawing, expand your painting skills and learn about the beautiful colors of birds!
Saturday, March 23*, 10:00am-12:00pm. Cost: $40.00 (includes all art supplies/materials). Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate. This program is sold out. Class size is limited to eight students. *Snow/weather Date: Sunday, March 25

Registration Fee: $40.00 per workshop. Click here to register online using a credit card. To pay by check, please email Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org. Because the class size is limited to only eight people, your spot is not confirmed until payment is received.