Student Programs

Upcoming Events


Zooming Your Way!

WFO Student Programs is excited to announce that virtual meetings will be held live via Zoom – on a monthly basis throughout the year. During the corona virus pandemic, WFO students now have a way to connect and keep the magic of birds and birding alive! 

  • WFO plans to host the meetings the first Friday of every month in 2020.

If you are a WFO student member and are interested in participating, please contact Justina at justinamartellipublic@gmail.com and we will keep you in the loop.

We hope to see you there!

Latest News


As student youth councils, Justina, Calvin, Lara, and Santiago have graciously stepped in to volunteer to coordinate and host the WFO Student Programs Zoom meetings.

The first virtual meeting was held on June 5, 2020. We were honored to have Jon Dunn and Kimball Garrett give a very informative presentation: THE WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (ZONOTRICHIA LEUCOPHRYS). Participants learned that there are five subspecies of White-crowned Sparrows: gambeliinuttallileucophryspugetensis, and oriantha. Each differ in bill color, feather patterns, and distribution throughout North America. Interestingly, some even differ in vocalizations!


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Do you want to become a student member of WFO or renew your membership? Student memberships are just $10 a year.


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Latest Presentations


Western Field Ornithologists Student Birders July Zoom Meeting

https://westernfieldornithologists.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/WB-INDEX-2010-2019.pdf


The White Crowned Sparrow, June 6, 2020

We were honored to have Jon Dunn and Kimball Garrett give a very informative presentation: THE WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (ZONOTRICHIA LEUCOPHRYS). Participants learned that there are five subspecies of White-crowned Sparrows: gambeliinuttallileucophryspugetensis, and oriantha. Each differ in bill color, feather patterns, and distribution throughout North America. Interestingly, some even differ in vocalizations!





Meet Your Hosts


Calvin Bonn is a 14-year-old birder from Redondo Beach, California, and has been birding since he was 8! He enjoys birding in his local parks because there are so many exciting discoveries — from nests to unusual behaviors to new birds themselves! He has a passion for bird conservation and wants to be a field biologist after college. He has done Least Tern and Snowy Plover surveys with USFWS and has studied the distribution of sapsuckers in his area.  He is very excited to be part of these new meetings!

Justina Martelli is a 17-year-old naturalist from Thousand Oaks, California. Having a strong passion for exploration of the outdoors, she is an avid photographer and takes field notes wherever adventure brings her. She is a California Condor ambassador and stays involved with the Pasadena and Conejo Valley Audubon Societies. She plans to study mycology and additionally focus on field work and research in college, taking birding and music (piano, guitar, and voice) along with her other studies as well. With much anticipation, she looks forward to the bright future of WFO!

Santiago Tabares is a 17-year-old nature enthusiast biking and birding around Denver, Colorado, and has been watching birds since he was 4! While birding, he obtains audio recordings and photos of whatever he encounters, including butterflies, reptiles, and all sorts of other critters. He has volunteered with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies in bird banding, Denver Audubon, Hawkwatch, Monarch butterflies tagging, and co-founded the Denver Audubon Young Birder Club. He is very excited to be working with WFO to continue supporting young birders through these meetings!

Lara Tseng is an avid 13-year-old birdwatcher from Lake Forest, California. She has a passion for combining technology and conservation and hopes to study biotechnology. She has volunteered for the Cavity Conservation Initiative, Tree Care for Birds and Other Wildlife, Sea & Sage Audubon, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, along with other environment-related organizations. She is a Western Bluebird monitor and currently is doing a research project on eggshell consumption during the breeding season on these birds with the help of the Southern California Bluebird Club and has done past studies on eggshell consumption as well. As a fairly new member, she hopes to connect with other WFO students and is excited for what these meetings have to offer!

44th Annual WFO Conference Student Programs


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Western Field Ornithologists (WFO) hosts an annual conference that student birders are encouraged and welcome to attend. In addition to great people, there are field trips, workshops, scientific presentations, sound identification panels, expert identification panels, a keynote speaker, a book auction, a banquet and more. About 240 birders, including two dozen student birders, attended the 2019 meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The conference hosted two afternoons filled with cutting edge science as ornithologists presented their work on various topics including: Great Horned Owl pigmentation; cognition in the Common Raven; Cave Swallow expansion; isotope analysis to study ornithology; exporting dietary shifts of Golden Eagle; assessing influence of food subsidies in Cooper’s Hawks, nestling development and fledging in Black-throated Gray Warblers, prey composition in Osprey; avian biology and responses to climate change; molt migration in Mexican monsoon; Bendire’s Thrasher survival as related to vegetation characteristics; and geographic variation in the Flammulated Owl.

Thursday night’s welcome reception was held on the campus of the University of New Mexico. It was fun to meet like-minded individuals, share delicious food and have an insider’s look at the Southwestern Museum of Biology.

The bird sound identification team challenge with Nathan Pieplow was demanding as always! Nathan seems to make this quiz harder each year. In the end, it was the incredible effort from the team erroneously named the Inadequate bannanquits that came out on top. Congratulations to all the young birders and mentors for participating in this really fun event.

Friday night’s youth reception was held by the pool where young birders got to meet old friends, make new friends, and mingle with some of the best birders in the country.

Saturday morning found the students out bright and early for a field trip to Tingley Beach and the Bosque Ponds. It was a great morning of birding and lifers were ticked off the list! This was followed by a youth trip behind the scenes at the Museum of Southwestern Biology. This was a chance to get inspired to think more about birds and migration, molt, species, sub-species, status and distribution, and it likely inspired a young birder or two to think more about research opportunities.

Wrong-eared Owl coverAfter the Saturday afternoon science sessions, there was the infamous bird expert identification panel. An amazing group of ornithologists, Kimball Garrett, Jon Dunn, Shawneen Finnegan, Ryan Terrill and John Garrett really showed how much they know about birds and identifying birds and we all learned a lot.

Dr. Christopher Witt presented his pioneering research over a delicious banquet at the final night of the conference.

We are already looking forward to the 45th Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada in August 2021.

2019 Scholarship Recipents: Click here.

Wrong-eared Owl is a periodical produced by WFO student scholars from 2017 to 2019. You can find all of the issues here.