‘Deering Goes to the Birds’ at Deering Estate, Nov. 17

For the first time in 10 years, the Deering Estate at Cutler will host the 2012 “Deering Goes to the Birds” on Saturday, Nov. 17, featuring lectures and walking tours of the natural areas led by local birding experts and enthusiasts.

From the moment you walk onto the estate, bird activity is evident. Red bellied woodpeckers nest in trees; mockingbirds sing in the shortleafed fig trees; ospreys are spotted carrying a fish to a favorite perch. Visitors might even catch a glimpse of a catbird, a blue-gray gnatcatcher, or, if you’re lucky, the sudden swift flight of a whitecrowned pigeon.

Shorebirds search for food in the mangrove prop roots and a plethora of songbirds can be heard in the surrounding hammock of trees. Activities and programs for the entire family and bird enthusiasts of all ages will be held at this annual event, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event is free with regular admission — $12 for adults and $7 for children (ages 4-14). Participating organizations include Tropical Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Everglades National Park, AIRIE–Artists in Residence in Everglades, Florida International University, Crandon Park Nature Center, and Miami-Dade County EcoAdventures.

Schedule of events for Deering Goes to the Birds on Saturday, Nov. 17:

7:30 a.m. — Bird Walk: Take a 1.5-hour trek through the Deering Estate’s tropical hardwood hammock and pine rockland habitats in search of South Florida’s elusive avian residents;

10 a.m.-1 p.m. — Book Nook by the Bay “Birding,” enjoy family story time, on-site ecoarts and crafts, science programs and more;

10:30 a.m. — “Episodes and Interesting Unknowns with John James Audubon” with Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE) photographer Krista Elrick. Follow her on a photographic journey as she shares her perspective and continues to make photographs in the same wetlands, forests, and shorelines where John James Audubon hunted, wrote about and painted birds.

Noon — First lecture (30 minutes with time for Q&A after)., Topic is “Urban Oases: the importance of South Florida to migratory birds.” Have you ever wondered why South Florida is such an important habitat for birds? Come learn about the importance of your own backyard in providing habitat and shelter for migratory birds, as well as how urbanization is affecting these birds and how scientists and citizens are working together to discover ways to improve these habitats. Featured Speaker: John Withey, PhD. Dr. Withey is an associate professor in Florida International University’s School of Environment, Arts and Society. His research focuses on the responses of terrestrial vertebrates, especially birds, to human influence. He takes an interdisciplinary approach by integrating avian ecology with economics, urban planning, and other social science to better understand birds in urban systems.

1 p.m. — Second lecture (45 minutes with time for Q&A after). Topic, “The Atlantic Flyway and Conservation Efforts.” The Atlantic Flyway encompasses some of the hemisphere’s most productive ecosystems, including forests, beaches, and coastal wetlands. The Deering Estate at Cutler is part of the Biscayne Bay Important Bird Area (IBA) which includes Bird Key, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Biscayne National Park, Deering Estate at Cutler, and Matheson Hammock Park. Come learn about conservation efforts Tropical Audubon Society leads in our community and how you can help. From the northern Atlantic Coast and through the Caribbean to South America, Audubon is working to support this avian superhighway’s 500-plus bird species and millions of individual birds.

Featured Speaker: Laura Reynolds, executive director, Tropical Audubon Society. Reynolds first became involved in TAS as a member and then as a board member in 2005. Since 2008, she has served as the executive director of Tropical Audubon Society. Tropical Audubon Society is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization comprised of dedicated citizens who care about the quality of South Florida’s environment and serve as outspoken advocates for betterment.

2 p.m. — Workshop: Caring for Injured Birds and Wildlife. Learn how to properly care for and handle injured birds and other wildlife you might encounter in your daily life. Find out whom to call, what to do, and how to make sure that both you and the animal stay as safe as possible.

5 p.m. — Bird Walk: Take a 1.5-hour trek through the Deering Estate’s tropical hardwood hammock and pine rockland habitats in search of South Florida’s elusive avian residents.

The Deering Estate at Cutler, a Miami- Dade County Park, is located at 16701 SW 72 Ave. Palmetto Bay. This 444-acre natural and archeological preserve and historic site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a center for education, culture and recreation. Historic house tours are offered daily with admission to the estate. EcoAdventure Tours also are offered throughout the year for an additional fee.

For more information on the Deering Estate’s educational and cultural programs, visit www.deeringestate.org.

For more information about the Tropical Audubon Society visit www.tropicalaudubon.org

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