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Monthly Programs begin at 7:00 PM, on the WNMU campus, in HARLAN HALL, 12th & Alabama Streets, Unless otherwise noted in the program listing. Light refreshments are served after the program — programs are free, all are welcome to attend. Note: Summer months we take a break, so our May 3 program is the last one for the season. Monthly programs resume in October.


Birds & Brews Program

After six years, Birds and Brews will be taking a break. The popular program, held in the back room of the Little Toad Creek Brewery, has offered 10 programs a year on the fourth Thursday of the month. Founders and organizers, Sara Boyett and Terry Timme, are leaving Silver City. The SWNMA Board will rethink how the program should continue. However, if you are interested in assuming the organizational duties, please contact swnmaudubon@gmail.com.

Migration: A Timeless Wonder
with Homer Hansen

November 1, 2019

From hummingbirds to shorebirds, most of the birds we see are migratory.   For eons, this behavior has been a subject of wonder for the observant naturalist – why do birds migrate, where do they go, how do they get there, and how can they find their way?  Our November program will feature Homer Hansen, sharing some of the answers to these questions, as well as the fascinating natural history of our migratory birds.

Homer Hansen grew up in Willcox, Arizona surrounded by Sandhill Cranes in winter and Cassin’s Sparrows in summer.  Homer has a passion for sharing bird watching with others and instructs workshops on sparrows, raptors, flycatchers, warblers, birding by ear, and bird ecology.  He earned his B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and is now president and owner of Aplomado Environmental LLC (www.aplomado.com) providing services that identify, characterize, and remove contaminants from soil and groundwater.

He is also a regular presenter and trip leader for birding festivals and ornithological conferences and is a co-founder of the Sulphur Springs Valley Young Birders Club and the annual Arizona Young Birders Camp.  Homer served as chairman of the Wings Over Willcox Birding & Nature Festival for 17 years.   He is a life member of Cooper Ornithological Society, Wilson Ornithological Society, and Western Field Ornithologists (WFO), and currently serves on the WFO board as chairman of the Student Programs Committee.

From the Guajira Península to Otún Quimbaya:
Birding the Colombian Andes
w/ Dr. Lynn Haugen and Dr. Julian Lee

December 6, 2019

With an estimated 1,935 species of birds, Colombia boasts the world’s richest avifauna. Nearly 20% of the world’s bird species occur there, many of which are unique to that country.  The search for birds took Lynn and Julian to the rain forests and cloud forests of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, an isolated mountain range in the north of the country with the two highest mountains in Colombia: Pico Cristóbal Colón, 18,950', and Pico Simón Bolívar, 18,497'. In contrast to those wet slopes, the nearby Guajira Península is a harsh arid desert, supporting many endemic and near-endemic birds, and home to some 140,000 Wayuu, an indigenous people whom the Spanish were never able to subjugate.

Farther south, they spent several days in the Cordillera Central of the Andes, including the cloud forest site of Otún Quimbaya. At Parque Nacional Los Nevados they searched Páramo habitats (alpine tundra) on the flanks of Volcán Nevado del Ruiz (elevation 17,457’), a volcano that erupted in 1985, killing an estimated 25,000 people. A tram ride to the top of a promontory that provides a 360° view of the city and a visit to the Gold Museum concluded the journey.

Dr. Lynn Haugen is a professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at Western New Mexico University.  Dr. Julian Lee taught biology at the University of Miami for thirty years and is the author of two books on the amphibians and reptiles of the Yucatan Peninsula, both published by Cornell University Press.