NAAS March Programs

March 20, Sedona (Only)

Migration – Birds, how do they do it, where do they go?

By Cynthia Pruett

Cynthia Pruit

Each Spring and Fall we all eagerly await the arrival and departure of migrating birds. But we still know so little about where they go, the perilous journey they make, and how they get there.  Find out more about this phenomenal trip that occurs each year and the tools scientists are using to discover birds’ secret travel and what is being done to preserve important habitats required to make success possible.

Cynthia has a degree in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is the National Audubon Regional Director for the Central Flyway South, and has served on the board and presidency positions on the Northern Virginia and Tucson Audubon.  In her corporate life she held a variety of positions in technology, management, and as an executive at IBM. She established an environmental friendly products initiative– targets for the elimination of CFC’s – the ozone depleting chemicals. She is a master gardener in Virginia and Arizona.


March 26, Flagstaff (Only)

Avian conservation concerns in the southwest: Tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) biological control (Part I) and Southwestern willow flycatcher behavioral ecology (Part II)

By Sean M. Mahoney

Sean Mahoney

Part I: Southwest riparian areas are important habitats for native birds. Changes to southwest rivers have altered riparian habitats and promoted the establishment of non-native tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) trees. Some birds, including the southwestern willow flycatcher, occupy tamarisk-dominated sites. Bio controls measures were released in 2001 to control the tamarisk. We quantified bird density and richness in sites that varied in the amount of tamarisk defoliation along the Virgin River.

S. W. Willow Flycatcher

Part II: Southwest riparian areas are of particular conservation concern for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher (SWFL). SWFLs are one of four subspecies. A recent paper challenged the sub-specific status of SWFL and argued that it be removed from the endangered species list (Zink 2015). I will present data indicating that SWFLs sing distinct song and exhibit distinct plumage coloration, suggesting character divergence among willow flycatcher subspecies.

You’ll get a whole lot of science in this presentation! Sean is a PhD student in biological sciences at Northern Arizona University. “I am broadly interested in conservation issues in southwest riparian habitats. I’ve spent a lot of time on rivers in Arizona and Utah and I strive to make scientific contributions that can be used to inform management and policy.”