Summer Lunch Series

Throughout the summer, listen to speakers knowledgeable about birds and birding. We will have a different speaker most Thursdays at noon. All presentations will occur through Zoom Web Conferencing and registration is required for each meeting (and a suggested donation of $10 is encouraged).

Registrants will receive meeting credentials in an email upon registration completion. Please check your spam and/or junk folder if you do not see the email in your inbox. If you still don’t receive the email, please contact

Thursday, July 15, 12 PM – 1 PM
Topic: Do winter weather storms like Uri cause high mortality in our state’s birdlife?  If not, what does?
Speaker: Cliff Shackelford
Summary: This presentation will look at the results of data obtained from an iNaturalist project on the impacts of winter storm Uri that descended on Texas in mid-Feb 2021.  Birds are built for cold weather and the discussion will include which species reportedly died due to extreme weather conditions during Uri.  We’ll look at past winter storms and any impacts they’ve had on our state’s avifauna plus investigate other causes of deaths that lead to declines in our birds.
Watch the recording here.

Thursday, July 22, 12 PM – 1 PM
Title: Birdability: because birding is for everybody and every body!
Speaker: Freya McGregor and Virginia Rose
Summary: Birding is an activity that can bring so much joy and empowerment to everybody, but not everybody is able to go birding easily. Birdability is a brand new non-profit, proudly supported by Travis Audubon, and with a global reach. Through education, outreach and advocacy, Birdability works to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe and accessible for everybody. We focus on people with mobility challenges, blindness or low vision, chronic illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness, and those who are neurodivergent, deaf or hard of hearing or who have other health concerns. In addition to current birders, we strive to introduce birding to people with disabilities and other health concerns who are not yet birders so they too can experience the joys of birding.
Watch the recording here.

Thursday, July 29, 12 PM – 1 PM
Title: Outdoor “Cat Patios” Protect Cats, Birds and Wildlife
Speaker: Cynthia Chomos
Summary: Catios, outdoor “cat patios,” are a growing trend for feline enrichment and safety.  Best of all, catios help protect birds and wildlife! Cynthia Chomos, founder-designer of Catio Spaces, will share the many ways you can create a safe and visually appealing catio for your home and garden. Learn building tips and get inspired to create a catio both you and your cat will enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 12 PM – 1 PM
Title: Binoculars for Birding
Speaker: Marcie Hysinger
Summary: Attend this short presentation to learn what birders look for in a binocular, and see what is new on the binocular market. We will be brief so that there will be plenty of time for Q&A. Bring any questions about new binoculars, binocular maintenance, binocular accessories, etc.
Watch the recording here.

Thursday, August 12, 12 PM – 1 PM
From Canopy to Cave, the importance of the evergreen/oak woodlands for endangered species.
Paul Sanchez-Navarro
Summary: We’ll take a 3-D look at Hill Country woodlands, from the Ashe juniper/oak woodlands to the karst caves and aquifers, the species that depend on them, the threats they face, and efforts to protect them for a more inclusive future for wildlife and humans.
Watch the recording here.

Thursday, August 19, 12 PM – 1 PM
Title: Healing with Nature: A Social Justice Framework
Speaker: Starla Simmons
Summary: We depend on nature for our health, well-being, and survival. There is a growing body of research that proves the many benefits of spending time in nature from simply walking in the park to engaging in clinical ecotherapy interventions.  Using a social justice lens, Starla will inspire critical thought about the historical traumas that have impacted the relationship between nature and marginalized communities. We will talk about the power of nature to heal individuals & communities, while honoring the ways people of color have always leaned on Mother Earth to thrive.
Watch the recording here.


Thursday, August 6, 12 PM – 1 PM
Topic: Cloud Forest Birds and Where to Find Them
Speaker: John and Peter Sunshine Cahill
Summary: Take a virtual tour of the birds of the central mountains of Guatemala, the wintering grounds of many familiar migrants including the Golden-cheeked Warbler. The path will traverse a variety of tropical ecosystems reaching high peaks in the spectacular Cloud Forests, the basis for the name tierra de eterna primavera, the land of eternal spring, highlighting a number of feathered gems along the way. Through their organization, Community Cloud Forest Conservation, they have guided annual trips with JB Journeys to Guatemala for members of Travis Audubon.
Watch the recorded presentation here.

Thursday, August 13, 12 PM – 1 PM
Title: LBJs: Beauty in Brown
Speaker: Patsy Inglet
Summary: Sparrows sometimes just don’t get the respect they deserve. They are one of most important groups of migratory birds in Texas and well worthy of any bird enthusiast’s serious attention for their subtle beauty and diversity. Patsy’s goal in this program is to expand your awareness and appreciation of the little brown beauties that brighten our area in winter and to make us more perceptive observers of this very important and very accessible bird family. She hopes that you will never again look at a native Texas sparrow as “just an LBJ”.
Watch the recorded presentation here.
Get the Sparrow Cheatsheet here.

Thursday, August 20, 12 PM – 1 PM
Title: Magical Migrations: Birds on the Move
Speaker: Shelia Hargis
Summary: If you attended Shelia Hargis’ presentation in July, you learned about Purple Martin migration. Lucky for us, Purple Martins are just one of many species that migrate. This presentation will focus on a few other magical migrations, migrations that tend to be really spectacular in the late summer and fall. You will learn about the migrations of Chimney Swifts, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and hawks; how you can observe these birds on their way south; how you can help these birds as they undergo their demanding travels; and how you can participate in community science by participating in Swift Night Out. Migration is cool!
Watch the recorded presentation here.

Thursday, August 27, 12 PM – 1 PM
Title: Forest Flora of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve: observations of a field biologist
Speaker: Bill Reiner
Summary: Bill will talk about different forest communities found within the Preserve, with a focus on plant species that may serve as indicators of each type of community, and also the less common plant species, especially those that are endemic to Texas or more narrowly to a few counties on the Edwards Plateau.
Watch the recorded presentation here.

Thursday, June 4, 12 PM – 1 PM
Topic: Birdability: You won’t know until you go!
Speaker: Virginia Rose
Summary: Forty-seven years ago, Virginia Rose was paralyzed in a horseback riding accident at age 14. Seventeen years ago, she started birding with Travis Audubon. Two years ago, she conducted her own Birdathon, and created Birdability! Join us as she shares her inspiration for starting the movement, how it has evolved, and where it stands today.
Watch the recorded presentation here.

Thursday, June 11, 12 PM – 1 PM
Topic: Shorebirds of Central Texas
Speaker: Eric Stager
Summary: Shorebirds are a large and diverse group of birds, with many species embarking on spectacular long-distance migrations. As many as 30 species can be seen in Austin during spring and fall migration! Shorebirds also present birders with some interesting identification challenges. In this talk you’ll learn how to identify some of the most common species in the Austin area.
Watch the recorded presentation here.
See the presentation slides here.
See the Q&As here.

Thursday, June 18, 12 PM – 1 PM
Topic: Golden-cheeked Warbler Conservation
Speaker: Chris Murray
Summary: This presentation will cover GCWA natural history in the wintering and breeding grounds, with a focus on Baker Sanctuary. Some of the challenges facing GCWA will be briefly explored as well. This presentation is designed as a primer for those who are unfamiliar with the GCWA.
Watch the recorded presentation here.

Thursday, June 25, 12 PM – 1:15 PM
Topic: Create Bird-friendly Habitat and Bring Your Landscape to Life
Speaker: Jane Tillman
Summary: Your landscape design, gardening practices and plant choices all have an impact on birds. Find out what you can do to increase your yard, greenbelt or park’s appeal to birds by providing food, water, and shelter and places to raise young. This talk will focus on what birds eat, design and gardening practices, and some of the many native plants that support our birds.
Find Jane’s resource page here.

Thursday, July 9, 12 PM – 1 PM
Topic: Where to go Birding in Central Texas
Speaker: Laurie Foss
Summary: Learn how to find resources to help you decide where to go birding in Central Texas. Discover new places to enjoy birding within the Central Texas Region with an emphasis on the Travis County area.
Watch the recorded presentation here.
See the presentation slides here.

Thursday, July 16, 12 PM – 1 PM
Topic: Purple Martins
Speaker: Shelia Hargis
Summary: Purple Martins and humans have a special connection that goes back hundreds of years. Purple Martins thrill people in a variety of ways throughout their life cycle. This presentation will cover that life cycle, dispel some of the myths surrounding martins, touch on some of the recent research findings, and highlight some of the ways that birders and non-birders alike can connect with this spectacular bird.
Watch the recorded presentation here.

Thursday, July 23, 12 PM – 1 PM
Topic: Bluebirds
Speaker: Pauline Tom
Summary: Are you ready to bring your birding down to a more intimate level while contributing to science through Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch? Join Pauline Tom and learn the secrets of bringing Eastern Bluebirds and other small, native cavity nesters to your backyard (or front yard or golf course or acreage managed for wildlife.) Learn the do’s and don’ts, best practices and common pitfalls. Plus, get stunning views of the entire process from wingwave to fledging with photos provided by friends of Texas Bluebird Society.
Watch the recorded presentation here.
See the Q&As here.

Thursday, July 30, 12 PM – 1 PM
Topic: Avian City: Urban Birds as Trash and Treasure
Speaker: Kevin Anderson
Summary: This talk looks at the understanding and attitudes towards birds and bird habitat in American cities over the last hundred years with a particular focus on Austin.
Watch the recorded presentation here.