Sharing the joy of birds since 1971

Archive for January, 2023

2023 Eagle Nest Cam Season Begins!

Tune in for a new season of Bald Eagle chat via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPI9mWmmc7M. Do the eagles chat with visitors? Sadly, no, but our experts can answer your questions while you watch real-time nesting action!

The stars, Hope and Chandler, have returned to Port Tobacco River Park each year since this cam went live in 2019. Beginning Tuesday, January 31, join the chat sessions twice weekly, Tuesday mornings (for eagle breakfast, or “breakfish”) from 8:00 to 9:00 and Friday evenings from 4:00 to 5:00 (Eastern Standard Time). Hope has historically laid the first eggs in early February, so we could witness “eggcitement” soon!

The Port Tobacco River Park nest cam depicts wild Bald Eagles. Please know that there are scenarios that some viewers may find difficult to watch. Interactions with other wildlife, sibling rivalry, and weather can impact the eggs and/or eaglets. While we hope for a successful season, remember, anything could happen. Nesting success at this location has varied. In 2019 and 2020, two eaglets fledged, but in 2021 no chicks survived. Last year, one fledged.

This nest cam was installed and is maintained by Wild Streaming, which hosts other nests at https://www.wildstreaming.com/. For links to more nest cams around the world, see the SMAS Nest Cam page at https://www.somdaudubon.org/learn-about-birds/nest-cams/.

Scholarships and Youth Night

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN for Southern Maryland Audubon’s scholarships for teens and teachers at Audubon’s amazing birding and nature camp at Hog Island, Maine. Learn more at our virtual meeting: “Bring your Kids to Audubon Night” on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. Get the Zoom link by messaging president.somdaudubon@gmail.com.

We invite all teens interested in birding, nature, or the environment to attend. You’ll learn about scholarship opportunities and meet some of our star youth birders. They will tell you about their conservation internship projects, and you’ll discover how the newest generation of birders is changing birding and bird conservation.

About our scholarships: Audubon’s Hog Island Camp is part of an extraordinary nature sanctuary and research center off the scenic coast of Maine and is home to Project Puffin. Southern Maryland Audubon offers three scholarships for teens, educators, and others with a serious interest in ornithology, birding, or environmental and nature studies. The scholarships cover all tuition, room, and board. The recipient is responsible for travel expenses.

The scholarships opportunities include the following courses and dates for this year:

  • For teens: Mountains to Sea Birding for Teens (ages 14-17). June 25-June 30.
  • For teachers: Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week. July 16-July 21.
  • For birders & others: Field Ornithology. June 18-June 23.

Send applications to president.somdaudubon@gmail.com. Deadline to apply is March 1.

Applicants must be residents of Southern Maryland.

To apply please send a one-page letter explaining:

  • How you will benefit from the Hog Island opportunity.
  • How you will use the experience and knowledge to benefit others in Southern Maryland and support our mission of promoting and protecting birds and wildlife and their habitats.

Your signed letter must include:

  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Phone number

You also must submit one or more signed letters of recommendation describing your interests, work, or studies relating to ornithology, the environment, or nature and how the experience will benefit either your organization, school, or Southern Maryland Audubon’s mission.

To learn more about each camp session and other details about Hog Island Camp, including Covid-19 vaccination requirements, please visit www.hogisland.audubon.org/programs.

We welcome your applications!

Winter Sowing Workshop Success

Photo by Bill Smith (SMAS)
Happy Sowers from January 2023’s Winter Sowing Workshop – Photo by Bill Smith

Gardening in the dead of winter?  What could be more fun or unexpected?

A full house of very enthusiastic new winter sowers planted more than 60 jugs of native plant seeds at our wildly successful January workshop, “All the Dirt on Winter Sowing Native Plants.” Next spring when the seeds germinate, hundreds of new natives will be planted in gardens across Southern Maryland providing critical food and shelter for birds, pollinators and other wildlife.

Southern Maryland Audubon partnered with Charles County Master Gardeners to teach this cheap and easy way to grow native plants from seeds. (Because we all know it can be expensive to buy natives!)

The technique is very simple: Punch holes in the bottom of a plastic container, take the cap off, cut it open around the middle, fill the bottom with moistened soilless potting mix, sprinkle seeds on top, water, seal the jug with tape and set it outside in the cold, rain and sleet until the seeds sprout in spring. Mother Nature tells the seeds when to germinate. We show you the process step-by-step in our video “Winter Sowing: How to grow your Own Natives for Birds and Beauty” on this website at www.somdaudubon.org/our-work/program-archive/

The seeds used in our workshop were harvested from the Master Gardener demonstration garden in front of historic Bel Alton High School in southern Charles County and included Common Milkweed, Common Evening Primrose, Orange Coneflower, Blue Wood Aster and many more.

An audience of all ages participated from Charles, St. Mary’s, Calvert and Anne Arundel counties. The workshop drew members of the public, Auduboners, Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists—all who share a passion for promoting the importance of native plants for birds, wildlife and people.

Southern Maryland Audubon President Molly Moore and member Marlene Smith, who are both avid winter sowers, led the workshop. Both are also Charles County Master Gardeners.

A shoutout to Wee Bean Coffee Roasters in LaPlata for donating dozens of recycled milk jugs.

Audubon member and St. Mary’s County Master Gardener Bill Smith took the photo of the happy winter sowers above.