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Audubon Society news roundup

By Staff | Feb 26, 2010

On Wednesday, March 10, PVAS will sponsor a presentation about the wood duck waterfowl.

Beginner birding course slated

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society is now accepting applications for its 2010 “Birding 101” course for beginning birders, which will be held in April.

Space will be limited so those who are interested are encouraged to sign up soon.

The course will be taught by leading local bird experts, including Wil Hershberger and Matt Orsie.

It will utilize both evening classroom sessions and daytime field trips to teach everything from bird identification to birding techniques and resources to field etiquette.

It will focus on bird species that are found in the Eastern Panhandle.

The evening classroom sessions will start on Thursday, April 1 and be held Thursdays April 8, 15, 22) from 7 to 9 p.m. at the National Conservation Training Center.

Field trips will be around the Panhandle roughly 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

Tuition is $50. Registration is required. Forms, information at www.potomacaudubon.org or by contacting Kristin Alexander at pvasmail.aol.com or (304) 676-3397.

March program to

focus on wood ducks

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society will sponsor a presentation the evening of Wednesday, March 10 about efforts to build Wood Duck populations in Maryland.

The program will be held at 7 p.m. at the National Conservation Training Center outside Shepherdstown, in Room 151 of the Center’s Instructional West Building.

The speaker will be Clifton Brown, the executive director of the Maryland Wood Duck Initiative (MWDI).

This all-volunteer organization works to enhance Maryland’s Wood Duck population and to generate a greater appreciation of the wetland habitats in which the birds live by advocating and demonstrating a “Best Practices” approach in artificial nest box programs.

It also strives to involve the public through educational programs, internships and research projects.

MWDI has made some notable strides. It began field operations in 2004 at two sites on the Eastern Shore: the Eastern Neck Federal Wildlife Refuge and the State of Maryland’s Millington Wildlife Management Area.

Since then, the organization’s scope has grown to include 68 public project sites. More than 1,650 boxes are now involved on these sites and a Best Practices resource management approach is now either in effect or being implemented at each participating site..

The colorful Wood Duck is considered by many to be the most beautiful of all waterfowl.

It is one of only a few North American ducks that nest in trees in wetland areas. But natural cavities for nesting are often hard to come by and Wood Ducks readily use nest boxes provided for them.

Wood Duck populations were in serious decline a hundred years ago because of habitat loss and market hunting. However, their numbers have increased substantially since then because of modern game laws and conservation efforts by groups like MWDI, and their populations are now considered at sustainable levels.

For more information, go to the MWDI website at www.mwdi.net.

Jefferson County

birding trip

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society invites its members and interested members of the public to participate in a birding trip to the Shannondale area of Jefferson County on Saturday, March 13.

There is no fee and anyone with an interest is welcome to participate.

The trip will be focused on the Shannondale Wildlife Management Area and Shannondale Lake.

It will offer opportunities to see such birds as winter wrens, Loons, various ducks, and Bald Eagles.

Participants will meet at 8 a.m. in the parking lot in front of the Martin’s Supermarket in the Jefferson Crossroads shopping Center off Route 340 just east of Charles Town.

– For more information contact Sandy Sagalkin at (301) 432-6847 or