Sharing the joy of birds since 1971

Archive for the ‘Directors’ Category

2023 Eagle Nest Cam Season Begins!

Tune in for a new season of Bald Eagle chat via YouTube at 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 For links to more nest cams around the world, see the SMAS Nest Cam page at

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

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 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

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

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.

Maryland Forest and Grassland Birds Are Disappearing

The authors of the latest State of the Birds report describe it as a tale of two trends: one dire, one hopeful.  Maryland straddles both outlooks.

On the hopeful side, the long-term population study of our much-loved waterfowl shows extraordinary increases. Numbers of geese and swans have skyrocketed by over 1,000 percent, dabbling and diving duck numbers are up 34 percent, and waterbirds have increased 18 percent since 1970, the base year for the bird counts.

That is a direct result of years of conservation efforts, including cleaning the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed and protecting vulnerable wetlands from development and pollution here in Maryland and along other U.S. coastlines.

Now for the bad news.  There has been about a one-third decline in the numbers of grassland birds, shorebirds, and Eastern forest birds (34, 33, and 27 percent respectively since 1970).

Why are shorebirds declining while most geese, swans, and ducks are doing well?

Read the latest edition of our Osprey newsletter for the answer; plus learn more about new State of the Birds report at

If you don’t get the Osprey in your email box each month, please sign up at the bottom of this page.

Amazing birds of Cuba!

Photo by Jim Frazee

Have you ever wanted to go birding in Cuba – home to more than 370 bird species? 

We invite you to join Southern Maryland Audubon Wed., Nov. 2 when bird conservationist Paul Baicich will take us on a virtual tour of the fascinating birds of Cuba – 27 of which are endemic to the island. Noted co-author of numerous books and co-editor of the popular monthly Birding Community E-Bulletin, Paul also will discuss bird conservation, education and eco-tourism trends in Cuba.

The presentation is free and open to all. To receive the link to join, you need to sign up for our “Osprey” newsletter. Please go to the bottom of this homepage to find the sign-up. We will email you the ZOOM link to join the lecture several days prior, as well as the day of the lecture.

Tracking the Invasive Spotted Lanternfly

Photo by Nick Stoff, Penn State

Don’t let the pretty wings fool you! This is a Spotted Lanternfly, originally from China, and it poses great threats to our trees and fruit crops. Learn all about it in our monthly webinar recording!

In this edition, entomologist Kenton Sumpter of the Maryland Department of Agriculture shares details of how scientists are tracking and trying to slow the spread of this invasive insect and what you should do if you find it on your trees or agricultural crops.

Did you know Southern Maryland Audubon records our Zoom lectures? Check out links to all our presentations at program-archive/.

From “The Secret Lives of Northern Cardinals” to “Mystical Monarchs” to “Winter Sowing for Birds and Beauty,” we’ve got a big selection of fun and informative webinars.

And each month we add a new recording from our live Zoom lectures held at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of most months. The public is always invited to attend those presentations free of charge. Just sign up for our Osprey newsletter at the bottom of this page and you’ll get emails with info about all our events.

New “Osprey” Newsletter Is Here

Photo by Mark Hainen

What’s the winter finch forecast? Check out the new edition of our Osprey newsletter to learn how the natural food supplies of your favorite finches will affect their appearances at your feeders this winter.

The handsome Evening Grosbeak may be moving farther south than usual because of outbreaks of spruce budworm in Ontario and Quebec that are depleting their favorite food source. If you are looking to attract them to your yard, they prefer black oil sunflower seeds on platform feeders. We also have the forecasts and feeder preferences for the Red-breasted Nuthatch, Red Crossbill, Purple Finch, and many others. In this edition you can also explore the latest technology for tracking bird migrations, the exciting activities of our Southern Maryland Youth Birders, and the field trips and special presentations we’re hosting throughout the fall.

Read it all at

If you don’t get the Osprey in your email box each month, please sign up at the bottom of this page.

The Wonder and Hazards of Fall Migration

Screen Snapshot of YouTube Video

Migration is in full swing!  For a few months beginning in August, literally millions of birds fly overhead while we sleep. Some species fly from the boreal forests of Canada to the tropics. Some long-distance migrants travel from the Arctic to the furthest reaches of South America. How they prepare, navigate, nap on the wing, cross huge bodies of water, find sustenance in stopovers, and ultimately reach their destinations is nothing short of miraculous.  But that journey is full of dangers, many of them caused by humans.

Colliding with buildings, not only skyscrapers but also our homes, kills up to a billion birds each year. What can we do?  Dim or turn out lights out for birds on peak migration nights! You can also use blackout curtains to reduce light pollution. To learn more about the problem and what we can do to help, watch this animated video celebrating World Migratory Bird Day! There are more great resources at the American Bird Conservancy’s website for Preventing Bird Strikes.

To find peak nights to dim lights, or to plan your fall bird hikes, monitor the ebb and flow of migratory birds with BirdCast. It uses weather and historic data to predict the density of birds nightly, displaying a color-coded national map. 

There you can get more detailed data for Maryland and even your county using the new Dashboard form. That tool shows the numbers of birds crossing each night, other data, and even the expected species!

Want more information about bird travels? National Audubon Society along with many partners has just launched an interactive platform, Bird Migration Explorer! Choose a migratory species and the tool illustrates its migration patterns using the most complete set of data available. Where does your Indigo Bunting go during winter?

The map is a fantastic way to see the interconnectivity of various habitats throughout the Western Hemisphere. Lots more information about conservation and specific locations is also available there.  However you experience or explore this migration season, enjoy! And remember, please dim your lights during peak migration nights.

Invasion of the Spotted Lanternfly

Photo by Nick Stoff/Penn State

Please join us for our monthly Zoom presentation Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 7-8:30 pm.

Kenton Sumpter, an entomologist with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, is a detective “On the Trail of the Invasive Spotted Lanternfly.” He will share tales of how entomologists are discovering the routes and trying to halt the spread of this menace to some of our favorite Maryland native trees and most important agricultural crops. He also will offer tips on how you can support critical research to identify, track and report this visually arresting, but highly destructive insect.

Zoom presentation is free and open to all. To receive the link to join you must sign up for our Osprey newsletter at See the sign-up block at the bottom of the homepage. We will email you the link several days before and on the day of the lecture. (Maryland Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners can earn continuing education hours.)

New “Osprey” Newsletter Is Here

Carolina Wren. Photo by Michele Black Gallipolis

This year skip the fall chores! Leave the leaves. Let the dead flower stems remain standing.

Turn your yard into a bird-friendly fall stopover and winter habitat with almost no work. Check out our latest edition of The Osprey newsletter to learn more.

Sign up at the bottom of our homepage to get a new edition of the The Osprey delivered free to your inbox every month. Get the latest news on birds, tips on birding and attracting birds, our upcoming events, and fun stories of birding adventures.