green heron
Photo by Janet Cook


  1. Maintaining the Bird Sanctuary on Langley Island  - Langley Island is a 70 acre island in Lake Tyler.  It was designated a wildlife sanctuary by the city Tyler in 1950.  The Tyler Audubon Society was officially designated the permanent custodian in 1951. The island can be reached only by boat.  Trails on the island are maintained by the Tyler Audubon Society. The island is home to a large heron rookery. No hunting, fire, pets, or picnicking is allowed.  Deer and other wildlife roam the island.
  2. Disseminating information about and supporting sound ecological policy and conservation in East Texas.
  3. Maintaining a Bluebird Trail throughout Smith County.
  4. Compiling and distributing a Bird Checklist for Smith County
  5. Assisting in the compilation of the checklist for Tyler State Park
  6. Supporting Junior Audubon and Audubon Adventure Clubs in the area
  7. Christmas Bird Count for Smith County
  8. Monthly meetings September through May, with programs concerning birds and birding, environmental issues, state and local natural areas
  9. Field Trips
  10. Birding Classes
  11. Social Activities that include an annual Christmas Party with the Tyler Native Plant Society and Spring Picnic
  12. Support local rehabilitator
Peter Barnes (Tyler Audubon)
Eastern Colombia field trip
Neil Ford, Professor of Biology

The speaker this month is Neil Ford, Professor of Biology at UT Tyler, presenting the ecology and life histories of mussels found in East Texas. Mussels are a diverse group of highly endangered aquatic animals.  His research examines the distribution and ecology of species found in the Sabine, Neches, Angelina, Cypress Creek and Sulphur River basins.  The research has been funded by Texas Parks and Wildlife, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Texas Comptroller.

Mario A. Olmos
Mario A. Olmos, owner and operator of Costa Rica Journey, has been active in the birding and tourism industry in Costa Rica since the 1980s.  Mario has over 25 years of experience leading birding tours and photographing wildlife in various countries in Central and South America, North America, India, Africa, and Europe.  He is a native Costa Rican, a professional ornithologist, and bird researcher. He is a founding member of the Costa Rican Ornithological Society and an active member of OSNA (Ornithological Societies of North America).
Dr. Srini Kambhampati
Dr. Srini Kambhampati, professor and Chair of the Department of Biology at The University of Texas at Tyler will provide a brief geological history of the Galapagos archipelago, examples of adaptive radiation, and the many threats to the native flora and fauna. The Galapagos Islands, lying on the equator about 600 miles west of Ecuador, are considered a laboratory for evolution. They inspired Charles Darwin and others to develop seminal ideas on the origin of species and natural selection. A vast majority of the species on the islands are endemic and are found nowhere else in the world.
Doug Ghrist

Doug Ghrist a member of Tyler Audubon will share stories about chasing the extremely rare Amazon Kingfisher in Harlingen last fall, viewing Atlantic Puffins on Machias Island last summer, finding a Caracara fighting off a Mockingbird & Scissortail in Austin & winning a BIG Day in a Canada Festival last summer & a few other stories...all supported by photos!
Entitled 'Birding stories from a fledging birder'.

Peter Barnes (Tyler Audubon)
Peter discussed his recent trip to Uganda. His presentation, was titled "Uganda: Birds, gorillas and more."
Dave Holdermann (Texas Parks and Wildlife)

Status and current issues related to federally listed species in East Texas.

Bob Metzler's Big Year

Bob Metzler, a long time birder from Longview just completed a “Big Year”. To do so, one must identify the most species of birds in North America in one year. It requires a lot of travel, photographic talent and time. Hear the stories and see his pictures from the experience. Something you don’t want to miss.

Use of Sonograms in Bird Identification

Linda Price a long time birder from the Longview area and a member of Tyler Audubon will present techniques to recognize breeding birds by both sight and sound. March begins the migration northward of our Texas wintering birds and the influx of the Texas breeding birds. One of the most enjoyable aspects of our breeding birds is that they SING!! This presentation will give a brief review of the breeding birds of North East Texas. The review will cover recognition of the breeding birds by both sight and sound. The use of sonograms will be covered and how paying attention to sonograms can make learning the bird songs easier. Resource Links are here.

Raptor Rehab

Beverly Grage, a Lindale wildlife rehabilitator will be the featured speaker this month. Her organization “WILD & FREE AGAIN” began as an individual effort to save one small opossum in late 1990. Realizing that there were very few sources of help and information to adequately care for and rehabilitate wildlife, Beverly Grage began accepting wild mammals into care, eventually obtaining sufficient experience and training to qualify for State permitting as a wildlife rehabilitator.

In 1994, State Game Wardens began bringing birds of prey (raptors) to be cared for, and a whole new learning curve of wildlife rehab began. A U.S.Fish & Wildlife Migratory Birds permit was obtained in 2000, allowing for the rehabilitation of migratory birds.  Through the years Tyler Audubon Society has help support her efforts
Owls of East Texas
Cliff Shackelford of hummingbird fame is the featured speaker this month to share his knowledge of North American owls, especially those in your backyard. Cliff is a 7th generation Texan. He started bird watching at the age of nine in the late 1970s. Cliff is the statewide Nongame Ornithologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department where he’s been employed for almost 15 years.


Mar 10, 2015 Program: Jessica L. Coleman currently teaches General Biology including two upper division courses: Ornithology (and lab) and Conservation Biology at University of Texas-Tyler. She has supported TAS on many Christmas Bird Counts. Her talk will focus on the way birds communicate vocally, anatomically and visually between and among species. The goal of this talk is to give you insight in understanding the levels at with birds communicate.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Photo by Ron Cook

Tyler Audubon meetings are usually held on the second Tuesday of each month Sept through May. We meet at the Pollard United Methodist Church, 3030 New Copeland Road, Tyler Texas. Coffee and socializing at 6:15 pm; Program begins at 6:30 pm and runs to about 8:30 pm. There is no charge. Neither reservations nor active membership are required.

MEETING LOCATION AND DETAILS (Click here for a map and directions.)

Butterfly Identification and Photography
David Wolf presented the World of Butterflies. David has been an avid birder since childhood days in San Antonio.  He received his Bachelor of Science from SFASU in Nacogdoches, and has made a career of leading Birding Tours with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours since 1977.  He recently discovered new "lifer" possibilities in butterflies, and has quickly become immersed in photographing and identifying these eye-catching insects.
Birding in New Zealand
Stephan Lorenz returned to Tyler to present birding and traveling in New Zealand. Stephan has published several papers on bird distribution and natural history.  More recently, he has written articles about Alaska experiences for magazines such as Birdwatcher’s Digest and Wildbird. The presentation featured original photographs of many of New Zealand's bird species and interesting landscapes. He touched on extinctions and current conservation successes and briefly mention birding hotspots and logistics for a visit.
Seabirds of the Bering Sea
Tyler Audubon Society was treated to a PowerPoint presentation and remarks from noted Biologist and naturalist, Stephan Lorenz. His topic was Seabirds of the Bering Sea. He elaborated on various research projects focusing on avian ecology and evolution.

Zoo mgt & Atwater’s Prairie Chicken Project

Yvonne Stainback, Curator (Birds and Reptiles) Caldwell Zoo, Tyler gave a presentation on the management issues associated with procuring and caring for the various Birds and Reptiles at the Caldwell Zoo. She had an excellent slide presentation on many of the birds at the Zoo. The success of the Atwater's Prairie Chicken Project is dependent on finding enough suitable habitat here in Texas before this species goes extinct in the wild. Last count there were only 90 birds and the survival rate of reintroduced birds is extremely low .
Getting others involved in Birding by Boyd Sanders
The number of visitors to our national parks and local state parks has decreased dramatically. Children are not getting exposed to the experiences associated with camping and the outdoors. Possible causes: the economy, over indulgence in video games , fear associated with letting children out of parent's sight. Discussed needed programs to encourage families to enjoy the outdoors again.
Birding by Ear by Cliff Shackelford

Texas Parks and Wildlife Naturalist Clff Shackelford again visited TAS and challenged us to be better birders by acquainting ourselves with the calls of birds in Smith County. His many recordings and personal owl vocalizations made for an enjoyable evening.

Bird Photography throughout the year by Andy Long

Naturalist, birder, writer, photographer, and outdoor photography tour guide Andy Long spoke to the Tyler Audubon Society at its regular meeting on Tuesday, October 13. For about an hour, Long took us on a pictorial “tour” of birds he had photographed at multiple sites from to the Antarctic, as well as, various birding sites in several states in the U.S. He conducts photograhy workshops through Firstlight tours and has started a new East Texas Camera Club.

Birds of Madagascar by Peter Barnes

  Our own TAS Peter Barnes, birder extraordinaire, delighted us with a presentation of his trip to Madagascar with his two brothers, where he added about 110 new species of birds to his life list. His photos and travelog were amazing. They experienced very  
Helmet Vanga by Chris Barnes

rugged territory and lived under rather primitive circumstances. Many of the birds were endemic to Madagascar and their plumage was spectacular. Some of the pictures included in the presentation were of the people and their villages, giving us a bit of cultural and economic knowledge of the country. The photo shows a Helmet Vanga .  Vangas are a family of birds restricted to Madagascar. The most striking feature of the helmet vanga is its large, deep and pale blue bill. This bird is largely black in colour, but the back, rump and central tail feathers are chestnut. . A fluty pepepewpew call is produced.

The Madagascan low-altitude forest favoured by this species is highly threatened by clearance for agricultural demands and timber extraction. The helmet vanga has a very small range; its population is highly fragmented and suffering rapid decline.

We thank Peter for sharing his experiences with us.