Choctawhatchee Audubon events for January 2017

December 23, 2016

5 January Monthly Meeting and Presentation: Sex in the Sitta* – the Complex Social World of the Brown-headed Nuthatch. By Jim Cox, Director of the Stoddard Bird Lab at the Tall Timbers Research Station. A ton of intriguing biology is wrapped around this diminutive nuthatch. The Brown-headed Nuthatch is one of three bird species restricted to the Southeast U.S. Pinelands. Their treetop antics and rubber ducky calls make these inquisitive birds a pleasure to watch, but population declines coupled with intriguing behaviors call for closer scientific attention. Like adult Florida Scrub-Jays and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, adult nuthatches often forego the chance to breed and instead help other adults raise young. Unlike woodpeckers and jays, cooperative breeding among nuthatches frequently includes assistance provided to adults from individuals that are not close relatives. This creates complex social arrangements with many interesting twists and turns. (*The Sitta genus contains two dozen nuthatches species, including four in the United States.)

The meeting will be held in Room 130 of the student services building (Bldg 400) at the Northwest Florida State College – Niceville campus. Socializing begins at 6:30 PM and the program at 7:00 PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Call or e-mail Dr. Don Baltz at (225) 252-2760, for more information.

14 January Field Trip: Malcolm Mark Swan leads this northern excursion in search of waterfowl, raptors, Winter Wren, Rusty Blackbird, and sparrows such as Dark-eyed Junco around Hurricane and Karick lakes in the Blackwater River State Forest. Meet at the Armament Museum parking lot at 7 AM or the Crestview Whataburger South of I-10 off HWY 85 at 7:30. Dress for cold weather and bring snacks, water, and binoculars. For more information, contact Malcolm at (210) 343-9082.

28 January Bird Walk: Join wildlife photographer Walter Spence for a pleasant walk through Valparaiso and Lincoln Park searching for a variety of aquatic and upland species of birds. Meet at the Mattress Depot in Bayou Plaza, western Niceville at 8 AM. Bring binoculars and cameras. For more information, contact Walt at (850) 582-7064.