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Archive for the ‘Directors’ Category

Support Raptor Conservation Night

Field trips, nature journaling, native plants & more in April!

Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Redbud tree by Sharon Dobben

Join us for slow birding, nature journaling, photography & more

Check out our amazing variety of April events and sign up before all the slots are taken. Click on our events page to get more details on each event:

Photographers Focus on Birds Field Trip

Flag Ponds Nature Park, 1525 Flag Ponds Pkway, Lusby, MD. 

April 27 —SATURDAY—9-11 a.m.

Bring your camera and we will all learn more about how to sharpen our skills to take the best photos of birds. There is no. Maximum of 15 participants.

RSVP at Signup Genius or to Jan at

Lexington Park Library Sustainability Fair

April 27 —SATURDAY—10:45-11:45 a.m. Presentation: Growing Native Plants for Birds, Bees & Beauty 10:45-11:45.

Room A

Lexington Park Library, 21677 FDR Blvd., Lexington Park, MD. Daylong events 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m with enlightening lectures, eco-inspired art projects for all ages and helpful advice from community organizations driving positive change. Stop by our Southern Maryland Audubon table for info and advice on how to attract more birds to your yard or patio with native plants. 

Join us from 10:45-11:45 in Room A for a free presentation: Growing Native Plants for Birds, Bees & Beauty and learn how to create a native plant bird buffet in your own backyard or patio. More details at:

Spring Nature Journaling at Gilbert Run Park

April 28 —SUNDAY—-10 a.m. to noon

13140 Charles St., Charlotte Hall, MD 

Our nature journaling field trips are back! You don’t have to be an artist or a writer to get closer to birds and nature with a notebook and pen. Workshop is free.  Open to all ages 10 and above. Sketchbook and pen will be provided.

RSVP required at Signup Genius.

Saving Maryland’s Ghost Owl

May 1, 2024. 7-8 p.m. Monthly meeting Zoom talk.

Join us for the latest research and conservation efforts to help the Barn Owl—one of the most vulnerable species of birds in Maryland. The “ghost owl” has been disappearing in Maryland along with the old barns where they once nested and the farm fields where they hunted.

Our speakers have been at the forefront of major conservation efforts to protect Barn Owls and their habitat. They will share the latest research on Barn Owls in the Mid-Atlantic region and what the public and conservationists can do to support this amazing bird in the future.

Speakers are Andy Brown, Barn Owl Coordinator for the MD Bird Conservation Partnership Farmland Raptor Program and Alex Pellegrini, research technician for the group.

This program can qualify for Master Naturalist continuing education. The Zoom link will be emailed to our Osprey email list prior to the talk. If you aren’t already on our list, you can sign up at

(Photo by Mike Callahan)

Deadline April 22 for comments on proposed MD wildlife refuge

Please support the proposed Southern Maryland Woodlands National Wildlife Refuge in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties to protect the habitats of birds, fish and other wildlife.

A public comment period is open until April 22, 2024. You can submit your comments here to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Dan Murphy, chief of the Division of Habitat Restoration for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Chesapeake Bay Field Office and Jennifer Greiner, Refuge Manager at Patuxent Research Refuge describe the proposed refuge plan and opportunities for land owners and wildlife in a presentation recorded here on this website:

You can also learn more here, including FAQs:

Sign up for field trip to Point Lookout!

March 30 – SATURDAY – 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Catch some of the earliest signs of migration at one of Maryland’s peak hotspots with trip leader Phil Rouland. Attendees will meet at the picnic area parking and together we’ll walk down to the Point. We’ll scan both the Chesapeake and Potomac waters for any remaining winter waterfowl as well as for spring arrivals including Osprey, Brown Pelican, and tern species. At the point we’ll target Northern Gannet which are in peak numbers passing by on migration. We’ll spend what time is left around the picnic area and on trails around Fort Lincoln. Highlights could include arriving swallow species, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Yellow-throated Warbler. Flat but unpaved, approximately 2 mile walk. Gate fee $3 per car. Restrooms available. Point Lookout State Park, St Mary’s County
10444 Point Lookout Rd, Scotland, MD 20687

Limit 12.
RSVP at or to

Protecting birds from window crashes

Window collision victims by Luke Franke

Monthly ZOOM presentation 7-8 pm Wednesday, March 6.

An estimated 1 billion birds die every year in window collisions. Dr. Mark Southerland, director of Safe Skies Maryland, will provide solutions for how you can stop bird collisions with your home windows, as well as how you can get involved in community efforts to equip public buildings with bird-safe windows.
Dr. Southerland earned a PhD in ecology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and works as an environmental consultant supporting the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. He also leads the legislative program of Safe Skies Maryland campaign for bird safe buildings laws at county, city and state levels.
To receive the Zoom link for our talk, sign up for our “Osprey” newsletter at the bottom of our homepage at 

LAST DAY TO APPLY: Audubon camp scholarships

Photo by Kaelyn Stewart

STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS! APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN for Southern Maryland Audubon’s 2024 scholarships for teens and educators at Audubon’s amazing summer birding and nature camp at Hog Island, Maine.

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. Recipients are 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 23 – June 28, 2024

For educators: Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week. July 14 – July 19, 2024

For birders & others: Field Ornithology. June 16 – June 21, 2024

The deadline to apply is February 29, 2024. Apply to

Applicants must be residents of Southern Maryland.

To apply please send the following:

*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

Recent photograph (can attach as separate file)

*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, please visit…/2024-hog-island-camp…

We welcome your application!

30-Year-Old Royal Tern Spotted

Ben Springer has reported hundreds of banded terns and gulls to the U.S. Geological Survey.

But, he wasn’t prepared for the notice he received on a Royal Tern he spotted at Point Patience at the Solomon’s Navy Recreation Center this past July.

“I just got a band return for one of the Royal Terns I reported this summer and he’s 30 years old, banded in 1993!” Springer texted me when he received notification from the USGS. “That’s only six months younger than the oldest ever known.”

Springer’s Royal Tern Number 174-29837 169 was banded as a nestling in 1993 before it could even fly, according to the certificate USGS sent Springer. It was banded July 9, 1993, at Rhodes Point in Accomack County, VA. Thats about 34 miles, as the tern flies, from where Springer photographed it this July 12.

The year the Royal Tern hatched Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Beanie Babies first hit the market, gasoline was $1.16 a gallon, Bill Clinton took office as President and Ben Springer had not yet been born.

Springer, who is vice president of Southern Maryland Audubon and is a senior at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, surveys for banded terns as part of an internship he’s had for three years at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

“This one was in a flock with some other terns and gulls,” said Springer. “There was a flock on the point most days and I would go out to get band numbers. Most of the time new birds would be there each day I went out.”

Royal Terns stand out with their brilliant tangerine orange bill and racy black crest against a snowy white head.

Springer tucked his camera under his t-shirt and straddled a paddle board with a kayak paddle to get close enough to the birds to photograph the small silver bands on their legs. His 30-year-old tern was one of 21 Royal Terns he identified that day.

Springer estimated he has reported about 120 banded Royal Terns and 130 Common Terns this year. But, in the bird world, No. 174-29837 169 stands out as true royalty.

Photo by Ben Springer. Story by Molly Moore

Camp Report: Puffins & More!

Jan de Regt, winner of our Southern Maryland Audubon Field Ornithology scholarship to the famed Hog Island Audubon Camp, has just returned from her birding adventure with Atlantic Puffins and other species on the island off the Maine coast. Enjoy her account!

Everything I experienced was so remarkable that it’s difficult to choose just a few highlights, but I’d have to say that seeing the Puffins, hearing a Veery, seeing warblers be banded and released and hearing the heartbeat of an American Redstart are all top contenders.

Photographing the Milky Way in the wee hours with my roommate and another camper who joined the fun ranks right up there too.

We cruised to Eastern Egg Rock in the rain to see the Atlantic Puffin colony that had been re-established by Project Puffin beginning in the 1970s. There were Puffins everywhere, along with Black Guillemots, Common Eiders, a Roseate Tern, Common Terns, a lone American Oystercatcher, together with lots of gulls, Common Loons and Double-crested Cormorants.

We continued on to Allen Island where we erected several mist nets, called in some warblers and banded them. That was quite an amazing process to see up close!

Southern Maryland Audubon provided three fully paid scholarships to different programs at the camp this summer. Jan earned the adult birding scholarship. Two other scholarships were awarded to an educator and a high school student.

Jan captured this shot of a beautiful Magnolia being banded.

If you’d like to apply for one of our 2024 scholarships for next summer’s Audubon Hog Island camps, stay tuned to our website

Port Tobacco River Park Bluebird Trail Update

Since the story about the Port Tobacco River Park Bluebird Trail in the June edition of the Osprey, the tallies for the trail continue to grow.

As of 6/25/2023, there have been 28 Bluebirds fledged and another 14 young and 4 eggs still in the boxes. Three boxes are currently on, and one has completed, their second broods. In addition, at least 3 Tree Swallows have fledged this past week. Photo by Rebecca Turner.

As mentioned above, there was unexpected, but welcome, residents on the Bluebird Trail. Tree Swallows built a nest and laid eggs in one of the boxes. The increase in Bluebird trails nationwide has also helped the Tree Swallow population. The males arrive first early in the season to select a nesting site. Pairs are not lifelong partners; they will select different mates each year. Tree Swallows lay 4-7 eggs that are pale pink to white. The Port Tobacco trail box had at least three eggs that could be counted. The nest cup appears to be a loose version of a Bluebird nest cup with a little extra something. After the eggs are laid, the parents place feathers of other birds gently over the eggs. For this reason, we are not exactly sure of the number of eggs laid. Look closely at the picture to see a second Tree Sparrow flying back to the box. Photo by John Posey.

Photo by John Posey

Members of Southern Maryland Audubon Shelly Posey (left) and Rebecca Turner (right) are monitoring the boxes weekly to assess the health of the hatchlings, remedy problems and track the hatchling development for fledge time. Recently, ants were discovered at several boxes but dealt with quickly. Photo by John Posey.

If you would like to become a monitor, please email

Look for final tallies to be published at the end of this season.