April 25: Finding the World’s Rarest Bird, Our Latest ‘Coal Mine Canary’

Presented by Nick Minor, University of Minnesota 

The Stresemann’s Bristlefront is one of the hardest-to-find birds in the world. So when a small team finally discovered a lone female last December, a flurry of media coverage spread the news around the world. Can this skulking, nondescript bird—whose population size may be just one individual—serve as the poster child Brazil’s Atlantic Forest so desperately needs? 

This is the story of finding the Stresemann’s Bristlefront, presented by Nick Minor, an early career biologist and science writer. A Chicago area native, he’s currently wrapping up a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. As part of his passion for science stories, he co-edits the “News & Notes” column in Birding Magazine, is a regular contributing writer to the National Audubon Society, and does a variety of science communication and multimedia storytelling work. 

Thursday, April 25

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

March 28: Bird Migration

Presented by Jim Egge, Past President, Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis

Bird migration is a subject that has always been poorly understood, but modern techniques of research have given us the tools to gather information about bird flights. Knowledge about what drives birds to move as they do and how they manage to navigate with precision has exploded with new technologies. 

This program will review recent studies and bird patterns to better understand bird populations in North and South America. Some of our favorite birds will be mapped as they migrate out of their breeding grounds to suitable wintering habitat. We think of the birds that breed here as “our birds”, even though we see them for such a short time. 

Jim Egge is a retired chemistry and biology teacher in Roseville, and a past president of Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis. 

Thursday, March 28

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

February 28: Roads to Conservation with MNDOT

with Beth Brown & Christopher Smith – Minnesota Department of Transportation 

Chris and Beth from the Office of Environmental Stewardship of the Minnesota Department of Transportation have the responsibility of conserving and protecting the natural resources along our state’s highways. They will provide an overview of the MN DOT stewardship program and highlight some of the staff’s efforts to protect and nurture plants, fish, birds and other fauna in and around roadside habitat. 

Thursday, February 28

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

January 24: Birding Santa Marta, Colombia

with Bill Marengo & Paul Egeland

Blue-naped Chlorophonia. Photo: Chris Calonje, audubon.org.

The northern most extension of the Andes resides in northern Colombia in the Guajira peninsula. Take a peek at this endemic rich area of the world as Bill Marengo and Paul Egeland share their birding and cultural experiences from their visit to this area that hosts the Santa Marta (the highest coastal range in the world) and Perija mountain ranges.

Thursday, January 24

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

October 25: Wildlife on the Edge – Conservation in New Zealand

Presented by Jordana Whyte: Trustee, New Zealand Sea Lion Trust 

Sea Lions, courtesy of New Zealand Sea Lion Trust (Facebook)

New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most unique and endangered wildlife. After relocating several years ago, “Kiwi-sotan” Jordana Whyte threw herself into conservation in her new hometown of Dunedin, known as the Wildlife Capital of New Zealand, on the South Island. She will share some of her conservation experiences and the treasured native species found on the edge of the world, including the rare Yellow-Eyed Penguin.

Thursday, October 25

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

September 27: How to find the rare and unexpected birds

Presented by Ben Douglas, http://bigdouglas.blogspot.com

Black-throated blue warbler, Ben Douglas

In 2017, Ben Douglas found 243 species in Washington County, including 3 first and second county records. He will share stories that draw upon previous experience including his 2018 State Park Big Year where he visited all 73 State Parks and Recreation Areas in just 7 months. Ben will explain his process for maximizing his county and year list, finding rarities and show you how you can transform the way you birdwatch. Also, he will share the equipment he uses to easily document his finds. 

Thursday, September 27

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

June 28: MRVAC Potluck & Red-headed Woodpecker Presentation

Please join us for a guided bird walk, a pot-luck picnic, and a great presentation. This event is open to anyone – members, friends, prospective members and fans of Red-headed Woodpeckers.

Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker, courtesy USFWS

5:30: Short guided bird walk

  • Bring your binoculars – some loaner pairs will be available and there should be a few spotting scopes there as well.

6:15: Annual pot-luck dinner

  • Please bring some food to share and your own plate, utensils and glass or cup as we are aiming for a waste-free evening.
  • MRVAC will supply drinks and cake.

7:00: Red-headed Woodpecker presentation

Thursday, June 28

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

April 26: Monitoring Minnesota Bats

by Melissa Boman – Minnesota Biological Survey, MN DNR

Little Brown Bat, Myotis lucifugus

Bats are an incredible mammal species that provide us with many ecological benefits. Learn about the different species of bats in Minnesota and how the deadly disease, White-nose Syndrome will impact bats in the state and across North America.

Bat survey specialist Melissa Boman will discuss ongoing monitoring conducted by the Minnesota Biological Survey and measures you can take to contribute to bat conservation.

Thursday, April 26

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

March 22: Minnesota’s Birds: What We Thought We Knew, What We Now Know, What We Still Don’t Know

by Bob Dunlap – Minnesota DNR, President of Minnesota Ornithologist’s Union

Great horned owl, Bubo virginianus

We’ve learned a few things about Minnesota’s birds since the turn of the century. Bob Dunlap, a zoologist with the MN Department of Natural Resources and current president of the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union, will guide us through some new insights and new frontiers for birding in Minnesota.

Thursday, March 22

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

February 22: Water Birds of the North Ottawa Impoundment, Grant County

by Christine Herwig – Minnesota DNR, Nongame Wildlife Program

Black-necked Stilt, Frank Schulenburg/Flickr Creative Commons

Christine Herwig, Regional Nongame Specialist for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife Program, will discuss waterbird use at North Ottawa Impoundment located in Grant County. This impoundment was created to reduce floods along the Red River but has a secondary benefit of providing habitat to birds. Christine will talk about the monitoring efforts and some of the rare and unusual species that have been observed.

Thursday, February 22

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.