Student Programs

Upcoming Events & News

Upcoming Events


Registration is open for the Virtual WFO Annual Conference. Click here to register!

Monthly Student Programs Zoom Meetings

Please mark your calendars for the first Friday of each month for our WFO student member zoom meeting. First-time attendees are welcome to join the meeting! Membership is required for repeat attendance. All student members will receive an invititation to attend. Students with financial hardship may email Student Programs to request a free introductory membership.

Upcoming Programs:
Dessi Sieburth • August 6 • 5 PM

Once considered a single species, the Leach’s Storm-Petrel was split into three species in 2016: Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Townsend’s Storm-Petrel, and Ainley’s Storm-Petrel. Although Townsend's Storm-Petrel can be identified in the field, very little is known about how to identify an Ainley’s Storm-Petrel. They differ from Leach’s Storm-Petrels in only two regards—their vocalizations and the fact that they breed in the winter. Storm-Petrels spend nearly all of the time on the ocean hundreds of miles offshore, visiting land only a couple months out the year to breed. Therefore, birders are mostly likely to encounter Storm-Petrels on the ocean, where their vocalizations and time of breeding are useless for identification.
      Is it possible to identify an Ainley’s Storm-Petrel at sea? The answer may lie in their time of breeding. Birds generally replace their feathers at a time of year opposite to breeding. Because Ainley’s Storm-Petrels breed in the winter, and Leach’s Storm-Petrels breed in the summer, it can be inferred that Ainley’s Storm would replace their feathers at opposite times of year, too. This field mark could potentially be useful for identification of Ainley’s Storm-Petrel at sea. Dessi examined Storm-Petrel specimens to see if he could find any specimens replacing feathers at an atypical time. Join Dessi as he discusses his findings with us.

Ask the Expert
Dessi Sieburth • August 11 • 6 PM

Dessi is a sophomore at Stanford University and plans to pursue ornithology as a career. Dessi started birding in 2009, at the age of 8, and by 2015 he had won the American Birding Association Young Birder of the Year award. By the time Dessi graduated from high school he had already published several articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including The Auk, and Western Field Ornithology’s journal, Western Birds. Dessi is on the board of directors of Los Angeles Birders.

Don’t miss out on the upcoming Student Program meetings and Ask the Expert via Zoom. Please tell a bird-loving friend about WFO and encourage them to join us.

FIRST Friday of the month at 5 PM;
following Wednesday at 6 PM.

Check out past Zoom meeting presentations here.

Latest News


WFO Newsletter Opportunities
Quarterly Online Newsletter

WFO has created an online newsletter for all its members. This splendid document has a wealth of informative articles with several written by students. Click here to download the latest newsletter. Students are invited and encouraged to submit their original articles on any bird- related topic—limit of 300 words or less—and/or submit your bird photos, sketches, and field notebook pages to the newsletter. WFO members look forward to reading and seeing what the student birders are doing. Submit your work to: studentprog@westernfieldornithologists.org


Become a Student Member


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


Join/Renew Today!

Meet the Student Programs Committee Youth Council


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 14-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!