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Arizona Field Ornithologists
Tenth Annual State Meeting Summary

Yuma — 21-23 October 2016


For Field Mini-Expedition Highlights click here

For AZFO Youth Fellowship recipients click here


By Anne Pellegrini

In 2016, AZFO returned to Arizona’s West Coast, holding its 10th annual meeting in Yuma on 22 October.  More than 100 participants attended the meeting at the Best Western Yuma Mall Inn & Suites, listening to eight presentations during the paper session and reading four posters during the poster session.

Kurt Radamaker, president, opened the meeting with a welcome followed by an introduction to the Gale Monson Research Grants and the current grant recipients.  He explained that the two 2016 grant participants would be presenting, but that there were no new grant recipients for 2017.  Following Kurt’s introduction, Janet Witzeman promoted the book Counting Birds with Gale Monson, edited by Bill Broyles and Richard Glinski.  Proceeds from the sale of this book help fund the Gale Monson Research Grants; six were sold at the meeting. 

The morning session, moderated by Brenda Zaun, featured several talks, including those by Gale Monson grant recipients Richard Simpson of Arizona State University and Ariana La Porte of the University of Arizona.  Richard presented his research on the evolution of hummingbird coloration and courtship.  Ariana was unable to attend the meeting, but provided a pre-recorded presentation of her research on the expansion of Gray Hawks in the San Pedro River Valley.  Paying homage to the ‘AZ West Coast’ theme, David Vander Pluym presented on the seabirds of Arizona and Dr. Pat Latas presented on the aftermath of Hurricane Newton at the Tucson Wildlife Center.  Carol Beardmore of USFWS then reported on the recent revision to the Partners in Flight Landbird Conservation Plan and what it means for Arizona.


Photo by Anne Pellegrini, October 22, 2016


A short business meeting followed the morning paper session.  Doug Jenness reported on the current state of AZFO’s finances and gave a short presentation explaining that AZFO’s Seasonal Reports would no longer be generated, citing a general lack of interest in the reports due to the abundance of data available on eBird and other electronic outlets.  Chrissy Kondrat-Smith reported on the nominations for the election of open officer and board positions, with Treasurer Doug Jenness and Board Member Anne Pellegrini rotating out of their positions.  The membership then re-elected Jennie MacFarland for another term as Vice President and Walter Thurber for another term as Board Member.  Matt VanWallene was voted in as the new Treasurer and Walt Anderson was voted in as a new Board Member.  Continuing their positions are Kurt Radamaker as President, Carol Beardmore as Recording Secretary, Kurt Licence as Membership Secretary, and Andy Bridges as a Board Member.  The meeting participants then welcomed the new board members and thanked the past ones for their service.

The afternoon session, moderated by Anne Pellegrini, resumed with a talk on the California Condor recovery effort in Arizona, presented by Tim Hauck.  Chris Dodge from the Bureau of Reclamation presented a summary of avian monitoring in restoration sites along the lower Colorado River and Dr. Blake Grisham from Texas A&M University presented research on the spatial ecology of the lower Colorado River Valley population of Greater Sandhill Cranes.  Felipe Guerrero, Expeditions Chair, presented a summary of 2016 field expeditions and plans for expeditions in 2017.

The poster session was well received and featured four posters.  Joe Crouse of Northern Arizona University presented on various types of fire and their effects on American Three-toed Woodpecker habitat.  Edwin Juarez of Arizona Game and Fish Department presented on population and density estimates of breeding birds in the Sonoran desert and riparian habitats of Arizona.  Michele Losee presented on Golden Eagle nesting phenology, and Tice Supplee from Audubon Arizona presented on breeding habitat selection of Yellow-billed Cuckoos in IBAs in Arizona.

During the meeting, attendees had the chance to test their skills on both the photo quiz (assembled by David Vander Pluym and Lauren Harter) and the audio quiz (assembled by Ryan P. O’Donnell, Tommy DeBardeleben, and Micah Reigner).  Caleb Strand won the photo quiz.  The audio quiz resulted in a tie between David Vander Pluym and Caleb Strand.  The Yuma Audubon Society hosted a table, where it sold copies of Henry Detwiler’s book Finding Birds in Yuma County, Arizona.


Photo by William Herron
2016 AZFO Youth Scholarship Recipients

After a relaxed social at PJ’s Lounge in the Best Western, the evening banquet (catered by Da Boyz Italian Cuisine) featured a keynote address given by Osvel Hinojosa Huerta of Pronatura Noroeste.  Osvel’s talk, titled, “Bringing Back the Colorado River for People and Birds”, focused on the aftermath of the recent Minute 319 water delivery to the Colorado River delta and its impacts on habitat and the local communities.  Following an excellent dinner and presentation, the meeting came to a close.

This year’s meeting also welcomed a robust cohort of youth scholarship recipients.  The five youth scholarship recipients ranged in age from 8th grade to undergraduate, and came from southern California and all over Arizona.  Their experience in birding varied from weeks to years and most are interested in pursuing a career in wildlife research or environmental sciences.  Each scholarship recipient helped Erika Wilson draw tickets for raffle prize winners.  The raffle raised $292.

We would like to thank everyone who attended and welcome our new members who joined AZFO at the meeting.  We look forward to our 12th Annual Meeting in the Verde Valley in early October 2017.  Stay tuned for all the details!





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