Saturday, December 1, 2018


The Laramie Audubon Society will again take part in a 100-year-old Christmas tradition, the annual Christmas Bird Count. Volunteers are welcome to join in the count with the LAS chapter as it conducts the Albany County Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 16.  This will be the 41st count of the Albany County circle. Volunteers are needed to help count every bird present in the 15-mile diameter circle around Laramie on the day of the count. Novices are welcome, and will be paired with more experienced bird watchers.

Volunteers can call ahead (307-286-1972) or meet at Coal Creek Coffee (110 E. Grand) at 7:30 am on the day of the count to get data forms and team assignments. Some teams walk, while others drive through the territory. Volunteers will reconvene at The Grounds Internet and Coffee Lounge (171 N. 3rd St.) at 12:00 pm to drop off morning reports and regroup for those continuing in the afternoon.

Volunteers should wear warm, layered clothing and boots, and bring water, snacks and binoculars if you have them. Feeder watchers are also welcome.  Volunteers are invited to a chili supper where results will be compiled beginning at 4 pm the home of Shay Howlin. Potluck items welcome, but not required.  Please contact Shay Howlin if you would like to be assigned a route early, would like forms for feeder watching, or have any questions (307-286-1972;

If you miss this event (or can't get enough birding in December!) considering heading to Cheyenne for the Cheyenne High Plains Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count on December 29th! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

November Newsletter, Including Election Overview

The November 2018 newsletter is now available.  If you are planning to vote at the meeting tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 28th), you may want to read the article regarding the election and the potential new board members.  (see Newsletters/Reports page) (Ferruginous Hawk photo courtesy of Shawn Billerman)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Evening Program - Small Grants Recipients and Elections (Wed. 11/28, 7 pm)

Please join us this coming Wednesday, November 28 for talks by two of our most recent Small Grants recipients.  Stephanie Winters, MS student in the Ecosystem Science and Management Department at will discuss Linking soil ecology with vegetation management to optimize restoration efforts of ponderosa pine after wildfires.  Paul Dougherty, PhD student in the Program in Ecology will discuss his research regarding avian hybrid zones.
In addition, we will be voting for new board members during this meeting. Only current LAS members are eligible to vote.   

As usual, we will meet in the Berry Center auditorium.  On-street parking near the building is free; note that the parking lot formerly located across the street from the Berry Center has been removed.  Bird chat and refreshments begin at 6:30 pm, and the talks will begin at 7:00 pm.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Laramie Plains Field Trip, Saturday, November 10th (8 a.m.)

Meet us at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse (107 E. Grand Avenue) for a trip around the Laramie Basin.  We'll hit various hotspots for fall migrants and winter resident birds, with a focus on raptors, waterfowl and grassland birds. 

Departing at 8 a.m., we hope to have the carpool caravan return to Laramie by noon.  Those with their own transportation are, of course, free to head home earlier!  Minimal walking, but lots of camaraderie on this trip!

Remember the warm clothes, snacks, water, sunscreen, binoculars, etc.

(Mountain chickadee photo courtesy of Shawn Billerman)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Evening Talk: Cassia Crossbill - Wednesday, October 31, 6:30 p.m.

LAS welcomes Craig Benkman, Professor in Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming on Halloween at the Berry Center (corner of 10th and Lewis Streets) - Bird Chat and Snacks at 6:30 p.m. with Dr. Benkman's talk at 7 p.m.

What is so special about the Cassia Crossbill? The absence of red squirrels can account for many unique features of the South Hills and Albion Mountains, Idaho, including why the Cassia Crossbill evolved there, why it is considered a distinct species, and even why certain birds are so abundant and perhaps why the pine beetle outbreak was not as extensive as elsewhere. Dr. Benkman will discuss these findings and others that he and his associates have uncovered over the last 20 years studying the Cassia Crossbill.     (PHOTO: Female Short Hills Cassia Crossbill, courtesy of Craig Benkman)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hutton Lake Nest Box Work Trip - Saturday, October 27th (8 a.m.)

We're heading to Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Saturday (October 27th) to clean out the nest boxes.  The Girl Scouts of Laramie have been monitoring the boxes all summer, reporting the results to Cornell's national NestWatch program (  We'll open each box to remove the nest materials and make simple repairs, where needed.  This is great chance to learn about the program and do a little birding at Hutton. 

Meet at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse at 8 a.m. to coordinate carpools and get a snack. Bring warm clothes, water, WORK GLOVES, a scraper/putty knife (don't worry if you don't have one - we'll have extras), and binoculars.  Many people will likely remain at Hutton to bird after the work is complete - we'll plan the carpool groups to suit various schedules!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Laramie Plains Lakes Field Trip, Saturday October 13th (8 a.m.)

We'll meet at 8 a.m. at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse (107 East Ivinson Avenue) to arrange carpools and then head out west of Laramie to the Plains Lakes.  We hope to find a variety of Fall migrants and to identify them in their less distinctive, non-breeding plumage.  This will be an easy trip with minimal walking.  We expect to be back to Laramie by noon, but those with their own transportation are free to return at any time.  Dress for wintery weather and bring snacks, water, birding accessories (a spotting scope if you have one!), and friends! 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Nature Walk / Scavenger Hunt BINGO Game, Saturday, October 6th (8 a.m.)

We'll meet this Saturday at 8:00 a.m. at Optimist Park (West Garfield parking lot) for a leisurely nature walk along the Greenbelt.  This week's trip will include Scavenger Hunt BINGO - with fabulous prizes.  Encourage your young friends to join us on this trip that is designed with children in mind. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

First Wednesday Night Talk (Sept. 28th) - Equador Whirlwings (6:30 pm for Bird Chat; 7 pm for presentation)

Note:  Unusual Venue:  Classroom Building, Room 221.

Dave McDonald, Professor in Zoology and Physiology will discuss his research on Whirlwings in Ecuador. Ecuador spans the Andes, with habitats ranging from desert to Amazonian rainforest. It is fourth in the world for number of bird species, but is far smaller than the three leaders (Colombia, Brazil, Peru). Dave’s team’s research on one species, the Golden-winged Manakin, has uncovered a number of surprises, including the likelihood of chemical communication and the certainty that some of their displays can be detected only with ultra-highspeed video. Classroom Building, Room 221.

The talk will start at 7 pm, but arrive early if you can for refreshments and "bird chat" from 6:30 - 7 p.m.  Also, we will have some of the last copies of the book Birds of Wyoming available for purchase ($30) at the program.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Laramie Hotspots, Plus Greenbelt Clean-up, Saturday, September 22nd

This Saturday is a big day!  We’ll start by birding within Laramie.  After meeting and arranging carpools at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse (107 Ivinson Ave.) at 8 a.m., we’ll head to various Laramie “hot spots” – locations within the City limits that perennially seem to host higher-than-average numbers of migrants.  Potential stops include City Springs (at the north end of Boulder Drive), Greenhill Cemetery, LaBonte Park, and the Greenbelt.   
At noon we will re-convene for our annual Greenbelt cleanup, meeting at the south end of South Spruce Street.  On-street parking is available along Spruce and West Sheridan Streets.  For the cleanup, please bring work gloves.  Binoculars may be in order, as well.  This community service activity shouldn’t take long; LAS’s ¼-mile segment of the Greenbelt is less than half a mile from where we’ll park.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hutton Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Field Trip

We are so lucky to have this gem in our backyard - just 12 miles from downtown Laramie to Hutton Lake NWR!  We'll travel there on Saturday with hopes of seeing the recently sighted Tricolored Heron and other migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and grassland/sagebrush birds.  Meet at 8 a.m. at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse, 107 Ivinson Avenue in downtown Laramie to procure coffee/snacks and to coordinate carpools. 

As always, be sure to bring sunscreen, warm clothing, water, snacks, and birding equipment. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Hereford Ranch Trip - Fall Migrants
Saturday, September 8th - 7 a.m.

Meet us at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse at 7 a.m. to caffeinate and organize carpools for our trip to the Wyoming Hereford Ranch in Cheyenne.  The mix of riparian habitat and grasslands and the location on the east edge of Cheyenne make Hereford Ranch one of the best birding areas in southeastern Wyoming. This trip is a chance to see possible rarities and some birds more often associated with the eastern U.S.  We plan to be back to Laramie at approximately noon. 

While this trip is suitable for children, please leave your dog at home - WHR is private property and we want to be sure that we are welcome in the future.  Remember to bring snacks, water, clothing suitable for the changing Wyoming weather, sturdy shoes, binoculars, and other birding accessories.

Monday, August 13, 2018

First Fall Trip: Rock Creek Canyon

Join us on Saturday, September 1st for LAS's first fall field trip.  We'll meet at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse at 7 a.m. and carpool to the location where Rock Creek exits the Snowy Range (approximately 45 minutes west on I-80, 2 miles south of the Arlington exit).  While the trail extends up the canyon for many miles, the birds near the trailhead have been so abundant on previous trips that our past visits have involved minimal hiking.  If you have your own vehicle, you may want to budget time for a hike after the birdwalk.  Be sure to bring snacks, water, clothing suitable for the changing Wyoming weather, sturdy shoes, binoculars, and other birding accessories. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Upcoming trip: Brown-capped Rosy-Finches

Join us on Saturday, July 21st for Laramie Audubon’s third annual trip to the Snowy Range looking for Brown-capped Rosy-Finch. We will carpool from Coal Creek Downtown, leaving at 7:30 am to the Sugarloaf Recreation Area. The area is a fee area ($5 per day without a year or annual pass).
From the Lewis Lake parking area we will hike approximately 1.3 miles across wetlands and talus rock up to the Gap between North and South Gap Lakes.

Numerous species of bird including pipits, swallows, juncos, White-crowned sparrows, warblers, and raptors could be observed. Marmots, pikas, and wildflowers occur along the trek.  We will spend approximately one hour at the Gap then return to the parking area.  The trip should last until late morning, before driving back to Laramie.

Bring binoculars, rain/windproof clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent, snacks/lunch, water, and hiking boots suitable for walking on talus and possible wet ground.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Special talk: Chris Parish on condors!

A surprise first state bird was awaiting lucky hikers on Medicine Bow Peak the weekend of July 7. Nathan Pieplow found a CALIFORNIA CONDOR at the peak, and many hikers as well as birders were able to get amazing looks at a captive-raised, young female condor named T2.

Condor on Med Bow Peak. Photo by Brian Waitkus.
The appearance of this condor sparked a lot of buzz among birders and non-birders across Wyoming. We are also lucky to have Chris Parish from the Peregrine Fund give us a special talk about condor conservation this weekend! The Peregrine Fund is in charge of the condor reintroduction project in northern Arizona, which is where T2 came from.

Please join us this Saturday, July 21, at 4 pm in the Berry Center auditorium for Chris' talk. He will tell us about the Peregrine Fund's endangered species work with the southwestern Condor Reintroduction Program and lessons they have learned that provide insights for greater conservation.  Chris will describe the history of the condor, its threats and near extinction, followed by the inception of the greater recovery program and the Peregrine Fund's role in producing and managing free-flying condors. He will also discuss implications for landscape-scale conservation related to lead poisoning in wildlife. Click here to read an announcement about the Peregrine Fund's latest effort to encourage the use of non-lead ammunition in hunting and shooting for the sake of wildlife health.

Photo by Brian Waitkus.
See our next newsletter for Brian Waitkus' full article with more info on T2!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Upcoming trip: Kids' Nature Walk

Join us for a Kids’ Nature Walk at LaBonte Park on Saturday, July 14. Meet at 8 am at the City’s Fort Sanders Building (Feeding Laramie Valley building) on the east side of the park (968 North 9th Street). We will continue around the park and Lake LaBonte looking for birds, insects, plants, and more.  The event will include optional scavenger hunt BINGO with fun prizes.

Blue-winged Teal

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Upcoming trip: Banding station

We caught the first Albany Co record of Hooded Warbler!
This Sunday, June 10, we will head out to the MAPS banding station at Fred Lindzey's place near Centennial. This banding station is run by Audubon Rockies, and is part of the North American Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survival banding network. The goal of this banding program is to monitor demographics--survival and reproduction--of breeding birds. We will learn about how birds are banded, what we can learn from banded birds, and how we are able to determine the age of birds by looking at details of their feathers. Families and kids are welcome!

Meet Lisa Cox at Coal Creek Coffee downtown at 8 am to caffeinate and carpool. This is a nice chance for kids to get up close and personal with birds, but be aware that both the grass pollen and mosquitoes can be intense. Feel free to hang out at the banding station, but if you want to walk the net lanes you will be traipsing through standing water that can be over knee boots in places. Be prepared with mosquito repellant and appropriate clothes (long sleeves recommended), antihistamines, and boots or shoes that you don't mind getting wet.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Upcoming trip: Goshen Hole

Join us on Saturday, May 26th for Laramie Audubon’s first trip to the Goshen Hole! We will carpool from Coal Creek Downtown, leaving at 6:30 am sharp and returning around 4:30 in the afternoon. Major stops will be Rawhide WHMA, the Table Mountain complex, and Bump-Sullivan Reservoir, with ample opportunities to bird as we travel between locations. Target species for the trip include specialty breeders such as Orchard Oriole, Blue Grosbeak, and Red-headed Woodpecker; migrating shorebirds including White-rumped and Stilt Sandpiper; and any eastern vagrants we can find!

Bring binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, snacks/lunch, water, and shoes suitable for walking several miles on uneven terrain. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to trip leader Don Jones at or (307) 460-8114 no later than Wednesday, May 23rd and include whether you would be willing to drive and if so, how many extra seats you have in your vehicle.

Rawhide WHMA.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Upcoming trip: Hereford Ranch

Our next field trip is this Saturday, May 12--we'll head to the Hereford Ranch on the east side of Cheyenne. The riparian areas at the Hereford Ranch host an incredible array of expected migrants and often deliver rarities. This trip is a particularly nice one for beginning birders.

Meet downtown at Coal Creek at 8 am to caffeinate and carpool. We will be back to Laramie by 1 pm--if you can only join us for part of the time, be prepared to drive your own vehicle.

All Laramie Audubon field trips are free and open to the public; families are welcome. Bring binoculars, water and snacks, and dress for the weather.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Cheyenne Audubon special event - Noah Strycker

Cheyenne Audubon has invited us to join them for a special talk by Noah Strycker, well-known birder who set a global Big Year record in 2015. 

Noah's talk is on May 14 at 7 pm at the Laramie County Library. Cheyenne Audubon and Noah will spend the following day on an all-day field trip looping from Cheyenne, through Laramie, Sybille Canyon, Wheatland, Guernsey, Torrington, and back to Cheyenne. 

For more details about the talk or the field trip, check out Cheyenne Audubon's website here.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Upcoming trip: Arapaho NWR

We will head to Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge near Walden, Colorado, this Saturday, May 5. Meet at 8:00 am at Coal Creek Coffee downtown to caffeinate and carpool. The drive to Walden is about one and a half hours via Hwy 230 to Walden CO. We will probably also stop at Walden Reservoir on our way to Arapaho.

We will look for shorebirds and waterfowl in breeding plumage, raptors and grassland birds. We may get lucky and see the Western Grebes in courtship display running across the water at Walden Reservoir. At the refuge, there is a hiking/interpretive trail through wetlands where we should see swallows, wrens, warblers, and perhaps a moose. Be sure to bring plenty of snacks and water since this is a lengthy trip. It is possible to eat lunch in Walden after the field trip. We should return to Laramie by 2 pm, but participants in their own vehicles are welcome to leave at any time.

Birding the Wetland Nature Trail at Arapaho. Photo by Libby Megna.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Upcoming talk: Birding by Ear

Next Wednesday, April 25, Libby Megna will give an informal talk on common songbirds of Albany County, and how to identify them by sight and, especially, by sound. Taking your birding skills to the next level involves learning vocalizations--especially helpful for identifying sneaky species or those that spend a lot of time in dense foliage. This talk should be very helpful for beginning birders, and hopefully the experienced folks can learn some new things too. Birdsong is in full spring in April, so you will be able to practice what you learn from this talk right away!

We will meet in the Berry Center auditorium. Parking adjacent to the building is free after 5 pm. Bird chat and refreshments begin at 6:30 pm, and the talk will begin at 7:00 pm.

Baird's Sparrows have been reliable near Laramie the last couple summers--but only if you can find them by their song!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Trip report: Snowy Range owling

The group prepares for an epic night of owling. Photo by Jimena Golcher-Benavides.

Last night, 18 hardy individuals braved the heavy snow, wind, and low temperatures of the high elevation forests in the Snowy Range in search of owls. I think I speak for everyone when I say it was completely worth it. Shortly after dusk, we heard a Boreal Owl singing its heart out. After a bit of work, most of the group was treated to stunning looks at the owl singing from a low perch. Later, some of us heard a second owl singing far away in the distance.

Below is a link to the eBird checklist from last night, including an audio recording of one bird singing and a few documentation shots from Adam Klessens.

Upcoming trip: Laramie hotspots

Join us on a journey through the best birding spots within Laramie this Saturday, April 21. We'll look for migrating songbirds, especially warblers and sparrows. We usually visit Greenhill Cemetery, Labonte Park, and the Greenbelt. After birding, we will clean up our section of the Greenbelt.

We will meet at 8 am at Coal Creek Coffee downtown to carpool. Bring binoculars and field guides, dress for the weather, and bring water and snacks. This is a great trip for beginning birders and families.
Fresh snowfall at LaBonte during this trip last year. Photo by Libby Megna.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Upcoming trip: Owling in the Snowies

This Saturday, April 14, we will look for owls in the Snowy Range. Boreal Owls will be our target species, but Northern Saw-whet and Long-eared Owls are also possible. Depending on snow pack, this could mean up to a 3 mile hike, ski, or snowshoe. We will update this post with conditions as the trip approaches. Meet at Coal Creek downtown at 7:00 pm.

Boreal Owl

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Upcoming trip: Hutton Lake NWR

We will bird Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge this Saturday, April 7. The refuge is my favorite place near Laramie, and objectively one of the best places to bird this time of year--we should see ducks, shorebirds, grebes, raptors, and recently arrived songbirds. Migration is in full swing, so we could luck into a rarity!

We will meet at Coal Creek Coffee at 8 am to preemptively caffeinate and carpool. Please bring binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, field guides, and snacks and drinks. Be prepared for windy conditions. Our trips to Hutton usually last until noon, but anyone is free to leave early if they bring their own vehicle or coordinate with carpool buddies.

Photo by Libby Megna

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Trip report: Plains Lakes

Following the lek trip, some hardy souls refueled on coffee and headed out to the Plains Lakes. We found a lot of waterfowl on Blake's Pond, most of which unfortunately flushed when we exited our cars. The highlight of the stop was an early Marbled Godwit. We also saw all three species of teal--this is pretty early to have so many Cinnamon Teal in the area.

Meeboer hosted the usual American Coots but not much else. We skipped Gelatt and headed to Twin Buttes, where we found the Barrow's Goldeneye that had been previously reported by Jonathan Lautenbach. There were several other species of ducks present on Twin Buttes, and we experienced a few hundred Redhead fly over us.

Our lists for the day are below.
Pahlow Lane
Blake's Pond
Meeboer Lake
Road by Gelatt Lake
Twin Buttes Lake

Red-tailed Hawks at nest by Blake's Pond. Photo by Libby Megna.

Trip report: Sage-grouse lek

We had a great morning at the sage-grouse lek yesterday! The weather was good--not too cold, and calm. We were able to hear the gurgling, ridiculous calls of the males as they strutted for the hens. We counted a total of 28 males and 7 females. We also enjoyed the antics of Horned Larks setting up their territories around us. Our checklist from the day is here.

Greater Sage-Grouse males displaying. Photo courtesy Liz Young.

Opportunity to Attract Kestrels and Aid in Kestrel Research

This post is by Brian Waitkus, I'm just putting it up. - Libby

Elizabeth Wommack, Staff Curator and Collections Manager of the University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates, has been studying American Kestrels in California for many years.  The researchers in California continuing this study have decided to replace their existing kestrel nest boxes with larger boxes to also, possibly, attract owls. Beth’s collaborator, Jeff Wilcox, just shipped her a set of her old kestrel nest boxes. The result of this change has made kestrel nest boxes available to Wyoming residents.

Beth would love to get them up around the local area, with land owners who wouldn't mind someone visiting with a ladder to service, check on them and to allow Beth to band the chicks and possibly the adults.  The boxes need to be placed in some open habitat, with short grass, shrub or prairie. Beth had them in a wide variety of areas though (high mountain meadows, oak woodlands, agricultural fields), but generally not urban, within the boundaries of most of Laramie proper.  Boxes placed in the center of town might be a greater attractant to House Sparrows and squirrels. Presently boxes have attracted Kestrels in West Laramie along Riverside Drive and outside of Laramie. 

In California, this design worked well with placing the boxes from 6ft to 9ft off the ground. Beth put them higher up when they might be disturbed by animals (like humans). Generally a north or eastern facing pole, structure, or tree was where they were attached with screws.

If you or anyone you know might like a box please contact Beth at

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Upcoming talk: Tony Hoch of the LRCD

Fish survey. Photo courtesy Tony Hoch.
Join us this Wednesday, 28 March, for a talk by Tony Hoch of the Laramie Rivers Conservation District.

The Laramie Rivers Conservation District (LRCD) has been serving the community for over 77 years.  Originally dedicated to curbing soil erosion in agriculture, LRCD’s mission has expanded to include projects that range from enhancing wildlife habitat and conserving endangered species (Wyoming Toad Safe Harbor Program) to school gardens and xeriscaping in the City limits.  Tony Hoch, Director, will talk about LRCD’s recent 3-mile-long Laramie River habitat restoration project along the greenbelt, and the EPA-supported reclamation/cleanup of the old Midwest Refinery Property (a public nuisance for over 40 years) on the Laramie’s West Side. Hoch will also preview a few major projects on the horizon including the Pilot Hill Land Purchase and watershed planning for listed streams in Albany County.

Tony Hoch received his PhD in geology from the University of Wyoming and worked as a water quality researcher at the USGS in Boulder, and was an assistant professor at Lawrence University, where he helped launch the Environmental Studies Program.  He has been the director at LRCD for over 15 years – and is a long-time Friend of the Laramie Audubon Society.

The meeting will be held in the Berry Center auditorium on the University of Wyoming campus at the corner of 10th and Lewis Streets. Bird chat with refreshments begins at 6:30 pm; the program begins at 7:00 pm.

Refinery cleanup. Photo courtesy Tony Hoch.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Report from Second Annual Bird Hop

Thirteen people gathered at Coal Creek Coffee at 8am on Saturday, March 10, for the Second Annual LAS Bird Hop. We had planned to visit Centennial first, then Albany, with breakfast at the Lodge, but co-leader Brian suggested we start in Albany, since The Beartree doesn’t open until 11am. Next year we will probably do the same.

The group enjoyed breakfast and bird watching at Albany Lodge, then moved on to Centennial, where three others joined the walk. The weather deviated from spitting snow to partial sunshine. While the feeder on the deck in Albany yielded little (a flock of rosy finches was spied flying over, and a single mountain chickadee visited the feeder during our breakfast), overall the trip was a success, with many other birds spotted along the way and on the walk around Centennial, for a total of:

60 Canada Goose
5   Canvasback
1   Lesser Scaup
5   Bufflehead
9   Common Merganser
1   Golden Eagle
1   Bald Eagle
1   Rough-legged Hawk, Light morph adult
3   Steller's Jay
11 Black-billed Magpie
10 Common Raven
3   Horned Lark
1   Black-capped Chickadee
2   Mountain Chickadee
5   Dark-eyed Junco
X   Red-winged Blackbird
50 Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
1    Bald Eagle
X   Mountain Blue Bird

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Upcoming trip: Plains Lakes

This coming Saturday, March 24, we will check the Plains Lakes for migrant waterfowl and marsh birds. This trip will take place after the sage-grouse lek trip earlier in the morning; to allow time to get back from that trip, we will meet at 9 am at Coal Creek to caffeinate and carpool. Join us for one or both trips!

We will get back from this trip by 1 pm, but feel free to drive your own vehicle if you need to get back earlier. Bring binoculars, a scope if you have one, and field guides. The lakes are often windswept, so dress accordingly.

Last year on this trip we found a Great Horned Owl. Photo by Libby Megna.

Upcoming trip: Sage-grouse lek

This coming Saturday, March 24, we will head out to a Greater Sage-Grouse lek north of Laramie. Come and watch these iconic birds strut their stuff on their display ground.

Meet at 6 am at the Eppson Senior Center parking lot, at Curtis St. and 3rd St. We will carpool to the lek at 6:10 am sharp.  The early start is totally worth it--there's nothing like being audience to dozens of male Sage-Grouse calling and dancing to attract mates.

In case of inclement weather or poor road conditions, we will reschedule. This post will be updated in case of cancellation, and we will send out an update email. If you have any questions, contact us via email.

Dawn over lek watchers, March 2017. Photo by Libby Megna.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Event announcement: Owling Trip Rescheduled

We've decided to move the owling trip from March 10 to Saturday, April 14. That should give us a better chance at finding actively singing owls.

We will go ahead and meet at Coal Creek downtown at 7:00 pm (not 6:00 pm).

Finally, instead of going to the Laramie Range, we will venture out to the Snowies and go for owl gold -- Boreal Owls! Northern Saw-whet Owls and Long-eared Owls are also possibilities. Depending on snow pack, this could mean up to a ~3 mile hike, ski, or snowshoe. As the trip gets closer, we will let folks know what conditions in the Snowies are like.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Upcoming trip: 2nd Annual Birdhop

We will meet at Coal Creek Coffee at 8 am this Saturday, March 10, to caffeinate and carpool out to Centennial. We'll do the same route as last year, unless something crazy strikes us, beginning in the Beartree yard, checking out the scene across the street, and then walking behind the tavern through the neighborhood, doing some feeder watching. From there we will drive to the Albany Lodge for breakfast, where we will be able to look out over the deck to see what birds may have returned after another year without the cats around.

Originally billed as a feeder-watching trip to look for rosy finches, last year's trip yielded none of the finches, but we did see a number of others, including evening grosbeak, black-billed magpie, Stellar's jay, mountain and black-capped chickadee, downy woodpecker, Oregon dark-eyed junco, Clark's nutcracker, Canada geese, bald eagle, common raven, horned lark and a couple of unidentified raptors. We hope to see at least a few of all these, along with those rosy finches and others this year.

This is a laid back trip, including a chance to eat breakfast together and chat.
Red-breasted Nuthatch

Monday, February 26, 2018

Upcoming talk: Alison Holloran, Director of Audubon Rockies

Our next meeting, this Wednesday 28 February, will feature Alison Holloran, the Executive Director of Audubon Rockies. She will present information regarding regional Audubon conservation programs and ways everyone can get involved, from eating “Bird Friendly Beef” (certified via Audubon Rockies’ Conservation Ranching Program) or planting a wildlife garden in your yard to having your voices heard on Capitol Hill.  The meeting will be held in the Berry Center auditorium on the University of Wyoming campus at the corner of 10th and Lewis Streets. Bird chat with refreshments begins at 6:30 pm; the program begins at 7:00 pm.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Science Cafe, Tuesday 27 February

There will be a Science Cafe at O'Dwyer's next Tuesday, 27 February at 6:30 pm. Please see the flyer below for details, or click here for the high-res version. The Science Cafe will feature talks by three local scientists in an easy-to-understand format.

Reminder: Art Show through March 15

Just a reminder that you can stop by the Berry Center between now and March 15 during regular business hours to view LAS's Inaugural Art Show. We had a great turnout for our opening show, but if you weren't able to make it then feel free to stop by at your convenience. There are pamphlets in the lobby that identify the works and the artists, make sure to pick one up.

Thanks to Diana Denison for this great photo from our opening.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Trip report: Snow tracking

This post is by Brian Waitkus, I'm just putting it up. --Libby
The 17 February 2018 animal snow tracking field trip to Chimney Park led by Dr. Gary Beauvais was attended by 14 hardy individuals on this sunny but windy day.  The field trip started out with a female cow moose joining us near the parking area.  The last snow fall on Thursday suggested Saturday would be a great day to find animal tracks though due to the wind this day any tracks were soon obliterated resulting in only moose and mice tracks being found.  Gary spent the day discussing forest and winter ecology of the area as well as the natural history of local animals providing new insights and information to our crew accompanying him on skis and snowshoes.  Eight Mountain Chickadees were the only birds noted on this trip though raven and magpie were observed between Laramie and Chimney Park.

Photo by Brian Waitkus

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Upcoming trip: Snow tracking

Gary Beauvais, Director of the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database and interim director of the Biodiversity Institute, will lead us on a snowshoe/cross-country ski trek through forest and riparian  areas at Chimney Park this Saturday, 17 February. During this 10th anniversary of Gary’s field trip we’ll learn how to identify winter animal tracks and unravel the many mysterious signs that are written into the winter snow.

We will gather at Coal Creek Coffee at 8 am before leaving for the field trip. Chimney Park is a $5 per carload National Forest fee area. Bring your own skis or snowshoes. Alternate/backup date in case of bad weather is Feb 28.

This is Happy Jack and not Chimney Park, but let's hope for this kind of snow!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Upcoming talk: Raptor identification

Can you identify this species? Photo by Tim Banks.
Intrigued by that hawk perched on the power pole, mesmerized by that eagle soaring in the distance, but not quite sure how to identify it? Our January program by LAS President Tim Banks will provide some basic tips and guidelines to help sharpen your skills for identifying our local birds of prey.

Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, January 31 in the Berry Center auditorium. We will begin with bird chat and refreshments at 6:30 pm and the program will start at 7:00 pm. Parking is free in the lot on Lewis St after 5 pm.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Conservation Alert: Public Meetings for LaVA Project on January 30th and 21st

This is an update on the proposed Medicine Bow Landscape Vegetation Analysis (LaVA) project, a conservation issue of local importance outlined in the forthcoming January 2018 newsletter (available here). Following pressure from concerned locals and conservation groups, the Forest Service recently announced two public engagement sessions in Laramie scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday, January 30th and 31st, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm in the Lincoln Community Center, 365 W. Grand Ave. Representatives from the Forest Service, along with project partners, will be in attendance to answer questions and receive comments from the public. Laramie Audubon would like to encourage its members to join us in attending one of these sessions, to demonstrate our interest in the future of the Medicine Bow NR and to express support for limiting the scope and environmental impacts of this proposal. For additional information on the LaVA project proposal, read the article on page 4 of the January newsletter, consult the Forest Service website or call Don Jones at (307) 460-8114.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Submit your work to our first art show!

The Laramie Audubon Society will sponsor their first art show from February 3 - March 15, 2018 at the University of Wyoming Berry Center.

LAS would like to extend an invitation to artists to submit 1-3 works based on your own experiences and interactions with the natural world—all natural history subjects are welcome. All media accepted. LAS anticipates this show to be a celebration of natural history interpreted by new as well as veteran artists.

There will be a reception at the Berry Center on Wednesday, February 7 from 5:30-7:00 pm. Come and enjoy refreshments and meet many of the exhibiting artists.

Please have your work ready to hang, including a reliable wire or hook on the back of your two-dimensional piece. LAS will hang two-dimensional work and install three-dimensional work. Artists are responsible for any technology needed to show work. There may be limits on what is feasible so if you have needs including electricity, please contact Samantha Weatherston at Artists will drop off works on Saturday, February 3 from 10:00 am-1:00 pm.

Artists may sell their work through direct contact by buyer to artist. The University of Wyoming does not conduct any sale of art shown at the Berry Center. Artists are responsible for any state and federal taxes. A suggested donation of 10% of a sale will go to the Laramie Audubon Society.

LAS welcomes both novice and experienced artists to participate. Please share this announcement to other artists and art lovers!