Public programs are held at the Blackstone Memorial Library in Branford, CT (map) from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Admission is free. Refreshments are served.


December 13, 2017
Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air
Gina Nichol


Snowcap. Gina Nichol.

Gina Nichol returns on December 13 with an exciting and colorful program, Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air.

With more than 330 species known in the world, hummingbirds are the second largest family of birds after flycatchers. These tiny aeronautic marvels have the ability to hover, fly backward, and migrate long distances. The physiological capacity of hummingbirds to raise and lower their heart rate and body temperature to survive cold nights is unmatched in the avian world. This program illustrates the amazing adaptations of these glittering gems and describes their fascinating life histories. Vivid photographs of hummingbirds in the United States, Central and South America tell the story of how these birds survive in habitats that range from tropical forests to the forests of the Andes Mountains.

A naturalist and birder for more than thirty years, Gina first became fascinated with the natural world in rural upstate New York where she spent most of her childhood out of doors.  Gina received her B.S. in Environmental Education from Cornell University and her M.A. in Educational Technology from Fairfield University.  She began her career as a naturalist at the Rye Nature Center in Rye, New York.  Gina’s interest in human/wildlife interactions then took her to Volunteers for Wildlife in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.  There she coordinated the operation of a 24-hour Wildlife Crisis Hotline and developed programs dealing with wildlife rehabilitation.

In 1987, Gina became Program Director for the National Audubon Society in Greenwich, Connecticut.  In that capacity, she led numerous environmental workshops and local field trips.  While with the National Audubon Society, Gina also led ecotours for Audubon Nature Odysseys. Destinations included Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, the Pacific Northwest, and Baja California. Upon leaving Audubon, Gina taught biology, chemistry, physical and environmental science, and computer courses for several years at Greenwich Academy in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Her varied interests and love of the natural world have taken her to all seven continents and Gina has led bird watching tours from Alaska to Antarctica to China to Kenya and countless countries in between.

In 2005, Gina founded Sunrise Birding, LLC to offer personalized, authentic, affordable private and small group bird watching and wildlife tours around the world.

The Blackstone Memorial Library will be undergoing renovations throughout 2018. Starting with the January meeting, public meetings will be at the Canoe Brook Center (map). The meeting day will also change from the second Wednesday of the month to the fourth Wednesday.

January 24, 2018
Self-guided travel in South America
Leslie Kane

Many parrots Anangu Yasuni National Park Ecuador at clay lick

Leslie  Kane will present Self-guided travel in South America describing how she and her travelling companions organized a private birding and history trip to southern Ecuador. Leslie will share her experiences birding and traveling with two friends in Ecuador and offer some tips on how they traveled on their own where very few birders go. While sharing photos of the dramatic landscape, friendly people, Inca history, and, of course, birding and lodges, Leslie will speak to the special challenges and extra benefits to adventure travel for the less adventurous.

Additionally, Leslie will talk about the small, specially designed trips Audubon is offering to six countries along the Atlantic Flyway. Leslie’s talk will give specifics about travelling by oneself as well as opportunities to travel with smaller low cost groups to bird and make a big difference where our birds spend the other months of their year.

February 28, 2018
Members’ Night: Nature Show and Share

Person with cameraFebruary 28 is Members’ Night: Nature Show and Share. We invite you to bring your favorite nature photos or video clips on CD or thumb drive to share during an informal evening celebrating our mutual love of beautiful places and all creatures great and small. Have something else, like a skull or snakeskin? Bring it along! Or if you prefer to sit, watch, and listen, that’s fine too!

Email Carl Harvey ( and let him know how you want to participate.

March 28, 2018
Creating Bird-Friendly Habitat
Katie Blake

Creating Bird-Friendly HabitatKatie Blake will give a brief overview of Audubon’s Healthy Habitat Programs – Urban Oases, Schoolyard Habitat and Plants for Birds and how they are Creating Bird-Friendly Habitat. Together, these programs work to identify, improve and conserve important stop-over habitat for migrating songbirds all along the Atlantic migratory flyway. Together with Audubon chapters, botanical gardens, state and municipal parks departments, and other groups we are creating a network of healthy habitats for birds and people in municipal parks, schoolyards, vacant lots, and yards across Connecticut. The programs work to engage families in conservation action in many ways: as stewards of their own backyard habitats, volunteers helping to plant at neighborhood parks or citizen scientists collecting valuable data on birds and their habitats. The talk will give an overview of the Plants for Birds Program and offer practical and simple ways any homeowner or gardener can make a difference for birds right in their own backyard. Katie will highlight the five principals of creating bird-friendly yards and offer useful resources to support taking action for birds at home. Come learn how you can help make a difference!

Katie BlakeKatherine (Katie) Blake is the Bird-friendly Communities Manager for Audubon Connecticut. She manages Audubon’s Urban Oases, Schoolyard Habitat and Audubon at Home Programs. She works with numerous and diverse partners in creating bird friendly communities in Connecticut schools, parks and yards.  Katie coordinates activities and communications among partners and groups implementing urban oases demonstration sites and schoolyard habitats. She coordinates partnership meetings and collaborative projects in New Haven as a partner lead for the Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership. Working together with staff naturalists, she conducts habitat assessments for landowners and educates people on the benefits of bird-friendly landscaping. Prior to joining Audubon, Katie was the Coordinator for the MassConn Sustainable Forest Partnership. Here she conducted forest landowner outreach and managed forest protection initiatives such as Forest Legacy grant applications. Prior to coordinating, Katie spent about eight years studying various bird populations on numerous research projects. For her Master’s thesis she studied Common and Roseate Tern staging ecology on Cape Cod, she traveled throughout South and Central America with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Golondrinas de las Americas studying Tachycineta swallow species and for several years, studied grassland bird productivity on a military airfield with New Jersey Audubon and Massachusetts Audubon Societies. Katie has a Master’s in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Mount Holyoke College.

May 23, 2018
Ospreys, Loons, and Menhaden
Dr Paul R. Spitzer