Monthly Public Meetings

Onondaga Audubon sponsors speakers on environmental and natural history subjects from around the world. These programs are free and open to anyone, of any age, with an interest in nature. The programs are held on the second Wednesday of the months of February, March, April, May, June, September, October and November and often run 1-2 hours. In addition to the speaker there is a short chapter business meeting (usually 5-10 minutes) at the beginning of each program.

Meeting locations vary around the Syracuse area. Visit here for specific information about the next month’s meeting. Programs are also listed on the Calendar page of this web site.

Don’t want to miss a meeting? Email “Subscribe” to to receive updates on upcoming program meetings.

2020 Programs

Creating a Winter Refuge for Backyard Birds

Wednesday, February 12, 6:30 p.m.
Manlius Library
1 Arkie Albanese Ave., Manlius, N.Y.

Have you ever wondered how your backyard birds survive the long cold winters in Central New York? Join Matt Kosty, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Fayetteville, New York, to learn how offering the right habitat and nutrition can help your backyard birds thrive during the winter months. Matt has an unbridled passion for backyard birds and wants to spread the mission of bringing people and nature together.

Survival in an Age of Sea Level Rise and Urbanization.

Wednesday, March 11, 6:30 p.m.
Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville
5110 Jamesville Rd., Jamesville, N.Y.

 Highly specialized to live and breed in salt marshes, both Saltmarsh and Seaside Sparrows are now facing drastic declines. While New York City is not known for its natural areas, tidal marsh sparrows have been found nesting in marshes beside John F. Kennedy Airport, along major highways in Brooklyn, and in the middle of a gull colony on an island off Long Island. Sea level rise and habitat loss are quickly encroaching on these unique species in such highly populated areas. Alex Cook is a graduate student at SUNY-ESF with more than five years of avian conservation experience. Her research to better understand these species aims to provide information and management techniques that will help restore habitat and keep these highly specialized species in New York marshes.


Natural History Collections and Conservation Biology

Wednesday, April 8, 6:30 p.m.
Marcellus Free Library
32 Maple St., Marcellus, N.Y.

 Museum collections are like natural history time machines, in that they offer a unique glimpse into how avian morphology, diet, pollutants, genetics, and other traits have changed from the 1700s to the present. SUNY-ESF graduate student Sarah Dzielski will explain how museum collections are being used to answer pressing conservation issues and discuss her research into how mercury pollution from small-scale artisanal gold mining is affecting avian wildlife in Indonesia.


Landscaping for Wildlife

Saturday, May 2, 8:30 a.m. and 10:20 a.m.
Skaneateles High School Auditorium,
49 East Elizabeth St., Skaneateles, N.Y.

 Urbanization is encroaching on native natural areas around the country.  Consequently habitat gardening in our cities and towns is essential for supporting pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. A professor in the University of Delaware Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, Douglas Tallamy will provide insight on turning your yard into a diverse landscape of native plants that are both low maintenance and aesthetically pleasing. You don’t want to miss these seminars by the author of Bringing Nature Home: How Native plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens.This program is co-sponsoredby Habitat Gardening in CNY,Onondaga Audubon, and SkaneatelesLake Association among others.


Discover Derby Hill Bird Observatory

Saturday, May 9, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00  p.m.
36 Grand View Ave., Mexico, N.Y.

Come welcome spring at one of the Northeast’s premier birding and hawk-watch sites during a day of field walks that celebrate bird migration. Explore Derby Hill’s trails and habitats with experienced leaders; bird walks start every hour, on the hour. Enjoy the spectacle of migrating birds from the lake watch, on trails through the fields and forest, and at the observatory’s north lookout.


The World of the Great Swamp Conservancy

Wednesday, June 10
Guided tour 4:00-6:00 p.m., Program 6:30 p.m.
Great Swamp Conservancy
8375 North Main St., Canastota, N.Y.

 Created 22 years ago, the Great Swamp Conservancy (GSC) has gone through many changes, but it still keeps its core values close to heart. Come learn about how and why the GSC was founded, the challenges it has faced throughout the years, what the conservancy is doing now, and its future plans. This special presentation by GSC founders and conservation education staff will touch on every aspect of the GSC, including its educational programs, conservation practices, resident and migrant wildlife, events, and community involvement. (If you come for the tour, please wear muck boots or shoes you don’t mind getting wet, as some trails may be muddy.)


Programs held earlier in 2020


Programs held in 2019

November – Andy Mason – Raptor Migration at Franklin Mountain Hawkwatch
October – Craig Baarck – Migration at Magee Marsh
September – Jason Luscier –Citizen Science with CatTracker: A Smartphone App for Understanding an Ecological CATastrophe
June – Anton Ninno, Christopher Paoli – Hog Island Educator’s Camp: Bringing Nature into the Classroom
May – Linda Ziemba – Birds of Prey of Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
AprilWilliam A. Powell – How a Single Gene Could Save the American Chestnut
March – Daniel Baldassarre – Linking Behavior and Biodiversity in Birds
February – Paul D. Harris – Canada Geese: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Programs held in 2018

November – Jean Soprano – From Capture to Release: Rehabilitating Wildlife in Central New York
October – Susan Parks – Can You Hear Me? Impacts of Noise on Whale Communication
September – Hilary McManus – Growing On Ice: Climate Change, Women, and Antarctica
June – Janet Allen – Creating a Bird-Friendly Yard
May – Kelly Powers – River Otter: New York State’s Elusive Carnivore 
April – Kyle Horton – Using Radar to Quantify and Forecast Bird Migration Patterns
March – Harrison Goldspiel – Amphibian Ecology in Northeastern Forests CANCELLED
February – Sam Peterson – Current Status and Ongoing Research of Moose in the Adirondack Park

Programs held in 2017

November – Cody Gilbertson – Rare Snail Chit Chat
October – Irene Mazzocchi – Managing New York’s Non-game Wildlife
October – Kurt Gielow – The Role of Birds in Lyme Disease Dispersal
September – Ronald Calvo – Tropical Birds Then and Now
September – Alison Kocek – Bird Banding at Baltimore Woods 
June – Ian Davies – Birding in the 21st Century
May – Nicholas Piedmonte – Ticks and Tick-Borne Disease in Onondaga County
April – Dr. Lee Harper – Common Terns on the St. Lawrence River:
From Peril to Prosperity
April – Bernie Carr – Habitat and Ecology of Native Orchids of New York State
March – Chee Pheng Low – Coyotes and Foxes of Fort Drum
February – Amanda Cheeseman – A Brush with Bunnies: Perils Faced by New England Cottontails in New York’s Changing Landscape

Programs held in 2016

November – Justin Droke – Satellite Telemetry Study of Ducks of the New York Finger Lakes Region
October – Jason Luscier – Impact of Urbanization on the Birds of Ireland
September – Bill Evans – Automated Monitoring of Nocturnal Migrants at Derby Hill
June – Rick Bunting – 2016 Florida Birding Highlights
May – Gerry Smith – Birds of Conservation Concern
May – John Rogers – All About Bluebirds and More
April – Matt Perry – Urban Peregrine Falcons of Utica
March – Dr. Ernest Williams – The Endangered Migration of Monarch Butterflies
February – Samantha Dean – Reptiles and Amphibians of New York

Programs held in 2015

November – Deanna King – Audubon: Father of Ornithology
October – Linnea Rowse – Golden-winged Warbler Habitat Restoration
October – Abigail Darrah – Birds of the Amazonian Ecuador
September – Bronson Curry – Conserving Bats in the Northeast
June – Jeff Benjamin – Geese of Central New York
May – Michael Schummer – People and Waterfowl
May – Janet Allen – Bringing Back Bees
April – Angelina Ross – Spruce Grouse in New York
April – Melissa Althouse – Tourism and Terns
March – Dave Wheeler – Spring Migration at Derby Hill
February – Michelle Stantial – The Night Life of Birds

Programs held in 2014

November – Wells Horton – A Photo-a-day 365: One Photographer’s Journey
October – Julie Covey – Eastern Lake Ontario Conservancy
October – Shannon Farrell – Golden-cheeked Warbler Habitat Selection
September – Greg Craybas – Bald Eagles of Onondaga Lake
June – Michael Schummer – Our Changing Waterfowl Migration
May – Irene Mazzocchi – Birds and Habitats of the North Country
May – Andy Zepp – Conserving Finger Lakes IBAs
April – Andrea Thomen – Organic Chocolate and Birds of Hispaniola
March – Gerry Smith – North Country Raptors
March – Steve Kolbe – Derby Hill: More Than Just Raptors
February – Chris Lajewski – Restoring Montezuma

Programs held in 2013

November – Drew Weber – eBird and the New Birding Technology
October – 
Scott Stoner and Denise Hackert-Stoner – A Week in the Everglades
September – Jeffrey Freedman – Birds of Africa
June – Jean Soprano – World of Raptors*
May – Rudy Gelis – Eco-Tourism and the Birds of Ecuador
April – Shannon Buckley – Rusty Blackbirds
March – Maureen Durkin – Snowy Plovers

Programs held in 2012

November – Alison Kocek – Saltmarsh Sparrows in urban area wetlands
October – Mike Fishman – Bats in New York and whitenose syndrome
September – This evening’s program was cancelled because of a power outage. Always check the calendar page of this website for last minute changes.
June – Dave Figura – Tales of Central New York Nature
May – Paul Hai – Environmental Education of Children
April – Joseph Folta – Attracting Wildlife to Your Property
March – Dr. Jonathan Cohen – Virginia: The Secret of the Red Knots

Programs held in 2011.

February – Elizabeth Hunter – Galapagos Birds
March – Ellen Wisner – Birds and Urban Noise
April – Onondaga Environmental Institute – Historical Ecology of Onondaga Lake
May – Dr. Bill Shields – Birds of Australia
September – Rescheduled for December
October – Chris Standley – Owls of the Pacific Northwest
November – Margaret Tsen – Birds of India
December – Mike Allen – Bald Eagle Recovery in New York