Monday, November 14, 2022

November Evening Program (Classroom Building) - Swift Foxes and SE Wyoming Amphibians

This month we will be meeting in a different location: Room 310 of the Classroom Building!  Bird Chat and Refreshments will begin at 6:30 pm, with the presentations, described below, at 7 pm.

Speaker: Kelsie Buxbaum
Project TitleEcology of a Sensitive Species, Yet Expanding Population: Examining the Conservation Success of Swift Fox in Wyoming
DescriptionKelsie Buxbaum is a master's student in the Haub School of Environment & Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming. Her presentation will overview her plans to study westward expansion of the Swift fox, a federally listed sensitive species. The three year study will analyze two areas of known habitation, one within the previously defined short grass prairie ecosystem and the other in the expanded shrubland ecosystem. She will compare diet, prey availability, use of space and movement, survival, and reproductive success between these two areas.
Speaker: Mel Torres
Project Title: Near, Far, Wherever You Are: Comparing Species Niche, Connectivity, and Disease on Rarity Type
Description: Mel Torres, a PhD candidate in the department of Ecosystem Science and Management, studies amphibian species in southern Wyoming and Northern Colorado. Mel will tell us about her research testing if the rarity of various amphibian species predicts their ecological niche and the connectivity among populations. this work will also examine the impact of a fungal pathogen on the ecological niche and the population connectivity of these species.


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Curt Gowdy Trip Report

 Birders could not have asked for better weather in Curt Gowdy State Park the morning of November 12, 2022.  The day started with clear blue skies and still air.  The first bird sighting was a beautiful blue Steller’s Jay.  Followed by chipmunk and white-tailed deer sightings.  Eerie echoes from the cracking ice drown out the familiar Mountain Chickadee calls.  As Canadian geese soared above the ponderosa pines an occasional honk was heard.  A dozen Tundra Swans with a single Cackling Goose were floating in the reservoir.  

As our group of birders went around the water, closer to the dam, quite a few Buffleheads were seen.  The white color on the males was so striking and the females close behind.  A Grebe would emerge from the water and then dive back down in pursuit of food.  Gulls hovered and joined the ducks on the water.  Goldeneyes, Mallards, and Common Mergansers were among other ducks spotted. Other unidentified ducks flew in formation overhead.  In the trees were Steller's Jays, Hairy Woodpeckers, American Crows, and Ravens (or Cravens - as our birders joked).  Magpies sat on top of the tallest tree branches and Song Sparrows hopped through willow on the shore.  As our full morning of bird watching was coming to a close, a raptor swooped over the many water fowl and disappeared over a hill.  The wind was picking up and the gentle sounds of nature blessing our group of birders.  It was a rewarding field trip with unseasonably warm weather.

(Thanks to Savannah for the the trip report and photo).

Monday, November 7, 2022


The Laramie Audubon Society election for board members will take place next week (beginning November 14, 2022, with voting open for seven days).  In order to vote, you must be a current member (i.e., membership received since August 2022).  

We will provide biographies of all who are running as part of the election materials.  If you are interested in serving on our Board of Directors, please send a brief biography - explaining why you are interested - to us at so that we can include your name and bio on the ballot.  We encourage participation by people of any background who have interest in birds and time to devote to the organization.

Field Trip - Curt Gowdy State Park - Saturday, November 12

 With hopes for calm winds, we'll drive over to Curt Gowdy State Park on Saturday morning!  We'll meet in the Visitors' Center parking lot at 8 a.m. and bird on along the smooth (concrete) nature trail that starts from that location.  Depending on our success in that upland area and the interests of the group, we may drive down to the lake shore and/or the Aspen Trailhead.  

Based on eBird reports, a variety of diving ducks and other water birds have been sighted in the park in the past week, including Redheads, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, American Wigeons, Canada Geese, Pacific Loon, and Horned, Eared, and Western Grebes.  

Please dress in layers and bring plenty of warm clothes, snacks, water, sun protection, and your birding supplies.  New birders are always welcome - if we are contacted in advance, we may be able bring an extra pair or two of binoculars to lend.  Note that there is a fee (or annual pass) required to enter the park.  There are indoor bathrooms at the Visitors' Center, which should be open when we arrive.  If enough people express interest in carpooling, we may make plans for a rendezvous spot in Laramie.   

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Wednesday, October 12 (7 pm) - Grassland Birds / National Audubon Conservation Ranching Program

Matt Allshouse, a UW-trained rangeland ecologist who grew up on a family ranch near Sybille Canyon, will highlight grassland bird species of southeastern Wyoming and their habitat requirements.  His presentation will describe the creation of the National Audubon Society’s Conservation Ranching program, which provides free technical assistance to ranchers with the goal of improving forage quantity and quality while also improving habitat for grassland birds.  

For producers who direct-market their cattle, the initiative can expand market exposure and provide product differentiation; the program can also link producers to agency cost share and incentive programs to help defer costs of implementation. 

Program components include the development of ranch-specific Habitat Management Plans and a third-party certified set of regenerative grazing practices.  The resulting ecological resilience can translate to economic resilience, as participating producers are able to use the Audubon certification logo on their product.  Audubon Certified beef is currently available at two locations in Wyoming: Laramie’s Big Hollow Food Co-op and Sage Brush Beef (Reed Livestock) in Douglas.  

Matt is currently the Conservation Ranching Program Manager for Audubon California.  His experience includes roles as Ranch Manager for Antelope Springs Land and Cattle (Wyoming), Biologist for the Peregrine Fund (Belize and Guatemala), and Ecologist with Trihydro Corporation (Wyoming). Matt holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources, and Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management from University of Wyoming.

 The event will be held in the street-level auditorium of the University of Wyoming's Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center, located at the corner of 10th and Lewis Streets.  

Bird Chat and Refreshments at 6:30 pm; talk starts at 7 pm.  Please allow yourself plenty of time to find parking!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Laramie Hotspots Field Trip - Saturday, September 17 (8 a.m.)

This Saturday we are hosting another trip within the City limits.  We'll start at Greenhill Cemetery, meeting at the main gate near the corner of 15th and Lewis Streets at 8 a.m.  Please use the on-street parking along Lewis or 15th rather than parking within the cemetery.  Depending on the birding and group preferences, we may remain at the cemetery or move on to other good birding spots within Laramie, any of which will be within causual bicycling distance.  More than 50 species have been documented in the cemetery this month, so it could shape up to be an exciting trip.  

Our full Fall field trip schedule is posted on the Events page:

Monday, September 12, 2022

Trip Report - Laramie River Greenbelt

 The morning of Laramie Audubon's first fall outing began with heavy, low clouds and chilly temperatures of September's first cold front.  The undaunted few who donned jackets and winter hats to walk the Laramie Greenbelt were rewarded with a lovely morning at the river.  Green foliage and the presence of Swainson's hawks and Western Wood-pewees indicated that summertime had not yet left Wyoming, but the rabbitbrush in full bloom and slight hints of changing color suggested that autumn is on its way.

Numerous Wilson's Warblers, recently arrived in town, called from the willows and occasionally flew out in little yellow bursts.  Migrating Clay-colored Sparrows joined other sparrows, such as Song, White-crowned, and Chipping, along the trail.  Mink and muskrat appeared briefly before diving back underwater. 

At one point, the bike path became a bird path, when a loud Killdeer landed right in the middle of the pavement and refused to budge.  This noisy plover let onlookers see its orange eye ring and details of its molting plumage.  Observers took photographs and wondered at the reason for its apparent tameness.  A passing dogwalker even held her big dog back so the Killdeer could be admired for longer.

Later, everyone followed the high-pitched calls of a Cedar Waxwing to the river's edge to find the youngest waxwing fledglings anyone present had ever seen.  The endearing youngsters had only the pale beginnings of the adult bandit mask and were balls of gray fluff on the lookout for insects flying over the water.

Thirty-eight bird species were noted, and not only did the rain hold off, but blue skies emerged. The sun shone on a lone Barn Swallow swooping over the river and an Olive-sided Flycatcher perching upright on a dead branch at the end of the walk.  A Spotted Sandpiper's two-note call said goodbye.  (Many thanks to Vic for the trip report and photo).  

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Burrowing Owls - Sunday Afternoon Program

Join us Sunday afternoon, May 22, at 3 p.m. to learn more about Burrowing Owls.  Andrea Orabona, Nongame Bird Biologist from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Lander office, will describe an ongoing study radio tracking Wyoming's Burrowing Owl migration and wintering areas.  Andrea collaborates with Courtney Conway (University of Idaho) and other research partners in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  The burrowing owl is a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Wyoming.  Andrea will discuss the need for this project, its objective, methods, and results.  Masks are encouraged at this event.

Location:  Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center auditorium (Room 138).  This building is located on the University of Wyoming campus at 10th and Lewis Streets. Due to ongoing construction in the area, there is no longer a parking lot across the street from the building - parking is available on surrounding streets. 

Photo:  Courtesy of LAS President L. Armstrong.

Saturday, June 4th - Dawn Chorus Birdsong Trip

Join us early Saturday morning (June 4th) as we wander through the riparian and forested habitats near the Happy Jack sledding hill listening to the dawn chorus of singing birds.  This trip will focus on identifying breeding species by the songs they use to defend territories and attract mates.  Last year's trip covered appoximately 1.5 miles on a gravel road.  However, the group may elect to walk on the area's trails (with some small hills and uneven footing) depending on attendee interests and needs.  We will meet at 5:30 a.m. in the Happy Jack trailhead parking lot.  

Directions:  From Laramie, take Interstate 80 east 9.5 miles to WY 210 (Exit 323).  Go left at the stop sign at the top of the exit ramp, left at the inersection with WY 210/Happy Jack Road, and then proceed approximately one mile to the Happy Jack Recreation Area sign on the right.  Travel down the gravel road to the parking lot on the right at the bottom of the hill.    

Monday, May 2, 2022

Wyoming Hereford Ranch

Saturday morning we will meet at 8 a.m. at the Wyoming Hereford Ranch headquarters in Cheyenne (directions below).  Based on recent eBird reports, the one-hour drive from Laramie is likely to be worthwhile!  Recent sightings include a Black-throated Gray Warbler, American and Lesser Goldfinches, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a variety of sparrows and towhees!  Depending on the interests of participants, we will either spend all of our time at the Ranch headquarters area or leave time to visit one of the nearby reservoirs.

Note that we'll meet at the ranch at 8 a.m., which means participants should plan to depart Laramie around 7 a.m. The forecast for Saturday in Cheyenne looks balmy, so remember to bring water and sun protection in addition to the standard warm clothes, sturdy shoes, and birding supplies.  

Directions: From I-80, take Exit 367 (Campstool Road) and travel south approximately 1 mile to the entrance, which will be on the left.  Follow the driveway for approximately 0.25 miles and park opposite the red barn.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Saturday, April 30 - Laramie "Hot Spots"

We will meet Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at Greenhill Cemetery, outside of the cemetery office near the corner of Lewis and 15th Streets.  Please park outside of the cemetery - I recommend on-street parking either north of the entrance along 15th Street or west of the entrance on Lewis Street.  Or just ride your bike, as all destinations will be within the City limits.

Depending on the interests of the group and the luck that we have finding a diversity of birds, we may visit several locations: Greenhill Cemetery (flat paved and flat dirt roads), LaBonte Park (flat paved pathway), and/or the Greenbelt (flat paved pathway).  

Remember to bring warm clothes, sun protection, snacks, water, and your birding supplies!  We hope to have a spotting scope along on this trip, which will be particularly useful for viewing the waterfowl in LaBonte Pond.  

If you are looking for other in-town options when birding on your own, we recommend Spring Creek Pond (dirt trail at the east end of Spring Creek Drive) and Upper City Springs (fenced area visible from dirt roads at north end of Boulder Drive). 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Plains Lakes Field Trip - Meet Downtown

Saturday's field trip (3/26; 8 a.m.) will meet downtown at First Street Plaza (corner of 1st St. & Grand Avenue, next to Coal Creek Coffee)  --  this location is different than that originally posted on our Events page.  Apologies for any confusion!  Other information regarding this trip remains the same: we'll caravan to the Plains Lakes, hoping for a variety of ducks, other waterfowl, gulls, and raptors.