Activities & Initiatives

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Birding Guided Field Trips

Guided field trips are held 15-20 times a year, usually September through April. They are typically day trips to local birding trails in Citrus County or surrounding areas. Occasionally, a two-day trip is offered to a birding hot spot in another part of the state. All levels of birders and nature photographers from amateur to advanced take part in these outdoor activities.

Recommended tools for field trip participants:

Global tools for birders, critical data for science

  • Record the birds you see
  • Keep track of your bird lists
  • Explore dynamic maps and graphs
  • Share your sightings and join the eBird
  • Contribute to science and conservation

Tools and Data for Butterfly Enthusiasts

  • Track your butterfly sightings and locations
  • Organize, store and share your photos
  • Find butterflies you have never seen
  • Explore dynamic range maps
  • Share your sightings with others
  • Contribute to science and conservation

Our Education Efforts

Judy Lathrop and Susan Pratt from Citrus County Audubon presented a very successful pilot program on February 29, 2024 to 150 sixth graders at the Inverness Middle School. The program included an introduction to local birds, information about birds, and a live barred owl presentation that inspired many terrific questions by the students.  They hope to expand the pilot to include all 300 students at IMS and perhaps to other middle schools in the county.

CCAS has recently obtained a grant to purchase binoculars, colored pencils and field guides to assist students with birding walks and nature journaling programs.  This will complement the pilot program or be used for an after-school program.

The Boys & Girls Club has also contacted our Audubon club about doing a summer program for children K-8.  Judy Lathrop plans to meet with the Director of the Boys & Girls club soon to discuss this.

Citrus County Audubon Society, P.E.R.C.H. share fun facts about feathered friends with IMS students 

-By Nancy Kennedy Chronicle Reporter

Photo 1

Clicker the barred owl was the star of the show at Inverness Middle School on Thursday. Clicker and her handler, Terri Jones of PERCH, and members of the Citrus County Audubon Society did a presentation to sixth-grade students about local birds and birding.

Birds are cool.

That was the message for sixth grade students at Inverness Middle School Thursday as representatives from the Citrus County Audubon Society and PERCH (Parrot Educational Resource Center and Habitat) shared fun facts about birds in general and local birds in particular.

Like, did you know that baby sandhill cranes are called colts? That’s because of their long, strong legs.

Did you know that birds are descendants of dinosaurs, or that they’re both predators and pollinators or that a female cardinal sings while sitting on her nest?

Photo 2

Terri Jones of PERCH talks about barred owls, like her friend Clicker, to a group of sixth-grade students at Inverness Middle School on Thursday.

Did you know that it’s illegal to collect bird feathers? The North American Migratory Bird Act was enacted in 1918 because people were killing too many birds for their feathers to put on women’s hats. And because it’s not possible to know the difference between plucked or shed feathers, you’re not allowed to have any at all.

Did you know that vulture poop, which is highly acidic, acts as a disinfectant and kills harmful bacteria?

The sixth-graders at IMS know these and other bird facts now.

“We want to get kids excited about birds and to get them outdoors, and also to become good stewards of the environment,” said Judy Lathrop from the Citrus County Audubon Society education committee.

She said there’s a big concern that children are spending less time outdoors than they have in generations past and that it has a negative effect on their behavior and also their emotional and physical health.

So, targeting the sixth grade, Lathrop and the others – Nancy Kost, Suzan Zimmerman and Susan Pratt from the Audubon Society and Terri Jones from PERCH – talked about the birds in their own backyards and neighborhoods and those they can find out on the Withlacoochee State Trail or the nearby forests, rivers and lakes, and even Cooter Pond in downtown Inverness.

The “star” of the show was Clicker, a barred owl that Terri Jones held in a gloved hand. Jones told the students that barred owls – not “barn” owls, although there is such a species – have a distinctive sound, a hooting call of 8–9 notes.

Lathrop also said that, through a partnership with the Citrus County Audubon Society and the Citrus County Library System, people can check out bird backpacks from the local libraries for two weeks.

The backpacks contain binoculars, guide books and maps of local birding locations.

It was also announced that the IMS media center will be getting a bird backpack that students can check out if they want to try their hand at bird watching.

The Backpack Program

Judy Lathrop

Citrus County Audubon currently has a program with the five libraries in Citrus County called “The Backpack Program.”  This program provides a backpack, binoculars, bird ID books and literature that can be loaned out from the library.  This has been very well received and there is a waiting list to use these materials.  We are planning to expand the number of backpacks available to help meet the demand.

Scholarship Donations

Citrus County Audubon Society recently made a donation of 2 scholarships to the Coastal Camp at the Marine Science Station in Crystal River to support students that are committed to nature and wildlife.