Birders' Night



Join us every third Thursday of the month at the Environmental Center in Bend. There's time for coffee and conversation with other Birders, a slideshow of pictures taken by features photographers and informative presentations on a wide range of topics (see schedule below). 


Location: The Environmental Center, 16 N/W Kansas, Bend, Oregon 97701

Time: Social gathering time is from 6:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Programs begin at 7:00 p.m. and usually last until 8:30 p.m.

Cost: Free and open to the public. You do not need to be a member of any group to attend. 

Sponsors: East Cascades Audubon Society. 

Contact: For more information contact Sue Bertsch or Nancy Merrick.

March 21: "Nesting Bald Eagles of Smith Rock State Park"

For five seasons, nature photographer George Lepp has followed the nesting bald eagles of Smith Rock State Park. Working from a respectful distance of some 200 feet, Lepp uses the latest digital technology to capture close-up still and video images of the nesting cycle, including intimate portraits of the tiny, newly hatched eaglets and behavioral studies of activities including feeding, sibling rivalry, flight development, and fledging. In this special program for the East Cascades Audubon Society, Lepp shares the insights and images he’s gathered from more than 500 hours of observation and photography of the eagle nest and its inhabitants.

 George D. Lepp

 One of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers and a leader in the field of digital imaging, George Lepp is the author of many books and hundreds of nationally and internationally published articles about the creative, ethical, and technical aspects of nature photography. He is field editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine, where his “Tech Tips” column is widely read. His photography is extensively published and exhibited, and represented by Getty Images, Corbis, AgStock, and Photo Researchers. Lepp is one of the first members of Canon USA’s Explorers of Light program, featuring the industry’s most influential photographers. He has presented hundreds of lectures and led workshops all over the world, and often serves as a judge of international photography competitions. A founder and fellow of the North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA), Lepp has won many awards for his work, including Photo Media’s Photography Person of the Year and the Photographic Society of America’s prestigious Progress Award. First trained in wildlife and wildlands management, Lepp later earned a BA and honorary MSc from Brooks Institute of Photography. George and his wife and collaborator, Kathryn Vincent Lepp, live in Bend, Oregon and can be contacted at

April 18: Patti Van Vlack, "Hummingbirds"

From Patti - "When I was a small child my Grandmother gave me a book and record of common birds.  I lived on a small farm at the time and it opened my eyes to the world of birds.  My favorite was  the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  We had no hummingbirds at all and I could hardly wait to see this tiny jewel.  It was 2005 before I got to see the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  I went to work for Sunriver Nature Center in rehabbing raptors.  People would bring in injured hummingbirds and  I took over the care of them and my love grew for these tiny creatures.  I wanted to share all I learned and so the program was developed.


May 16: "Birding on Safari: Southern Africa" 

Dylan Brandt is an Expedition Leader and African specialist safari travel planner at Completely Unique Safaris where he is also the Managing Director. Dylan has led elite guide teams and managed 5-star lodges throughout Southern & Eastern Africa. He is a published photographer and has been capturing images of wildlife and local people since before he became a guide. Together Dylan, his wife Liz, and their Labradoodle Abee live in the United States and travel frequently looking for clear trout streams, hiking, and adventure!


June 20: Jerry Freilich, "Biodiversity Begins With Bee" 

Most people can name perhaps three or four kinds of bees. They are incredulous to learn that there are actually close to 4,000 species of native bees in North America and this does not include honey bees (which are non-native). Jerry Freilich is an entomologist who recently retired as Olympic National Park’s research coordinator. One of his most recent projects was an effort to find and identify as many bee species as possible in the park. This talk will explain why bees are such a challenge. Most are tiny, fast-flying and inconspicuous. They go about their jobs, don’t interact with people, and generally fly below human radar. Jerry’s very interested in the birds and bees, aren’t you?


July 18: ECAS Picnic

Shevlin Park Pavilion – 4 pm until dark. Potluck with folks bringing a food item to share. Bring your own eating utensils.  Alcoholic beverages are permitted. 


August 15: Linda Sharp, more Africa, maybe Cote d'Ivoire

Growing up near Paulina, OR our ranch attracted many birds because of a warm water spring located there, so from an early age I was aware of birds.   Mother also had her list of birds that the boys could hunt and the ones that they couldn’t.  It was after I moved to Africa in 1968 that I became an avid bird watcher.  Seeing all the brightly colored birds I started wanting to know something about them and started looking for books about the birds of the area. 

It wasn’t until I became acquainted with Anita Glaze, a birder, who was doing her doctoral research in Northern   Côte d’Ivoire that my birding really took off.  A walk around the 16 acres compound of the hospital where I worked was all it took to turn me into a ‘Birder’.   With her help I identified a dozen or more birds and was hooked!!  As I became more interested in birding I decided to start keeping records.  This led to becoming a part of a wet land bird research group.  I did bird counting for this group for a number of years.  From the beginning I took a few pictures, but with the advent of the digital camera bird photography became a new passion for me.  Now my goal is not only to identify new birds, but to photograph them as well.  I am always looking for “that” picture.


 Because of my passion for birds all my friends and coworkers are more aware of birds and now they are telling me about interesting things they see.  The grounds keepers called me this spring to tell me about baby birds that were ‘glued’ to palm fronds.  A wind storm had brought down the fronds. There were a dozen or more baby birds in various stages of development on these downed fronds.  After taking pictures I went to my books and found that they were the young of the Palm Swifts and the parents do ‘glue’ the nests and eggs to the fronds with their saliva.  I knew there were always Palm Swifts around the hospital compound, but did not know that it was because we also had the Borassus or Dum Palm trees.  After finding this out I wanted to find out if they went into the Palm trees in groups like the Chimney s Swifts go into a chimney.  So one evening I went down to watch how they went to roost.  It wasn’t as impressive as the Chimney Swifts’ but still was very interesting to watch. 

I will be showing about 80 pictures of birds that I have taken in Côte  I have been able to bird in a few other African countries, but most of that was done before I had my digital camera,  so don’t have that many pictures from those other countries. 


September 19:   Penguins in Peru? 32 Years Saving an Endangered Species, Patty McGill, Ph.D.

Dr. McGill will talk about penguins found in temperate and tropical zones. Her primary emphasis will be her field work monitoring Humboldt penguins in Peru. During extensive field expeditions, she was able to uncover some of the patterns aligned with success or failure of populations along the coast. Dr. McGill also works with conservation of the rapidly declining African penguin and will briefly compare some of the challenges facing the two species.


Patty McGill recently retired from a career in ornithology, conservation and education. She served as Vice President for Conservation & Education at the Dallas Zoo, Director of two North Texas Audubon Centers, and Senior Vice President of Animal Management at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Because of her long involvement with Humboldt penguins both in Zoos and in the wild, she was encouraged to lead the conservation efforts for African penguins. Dr. McGill earned both her Master of Science in Wildlife Management and PhD in Vertebrate Biology/Ornithology from Cornell University. She studied the ecology and behavior of seabirds in New England and Tasmania, Australia.

October 17, No Birder's Night due to Annual Event on Friday October 18.


November 21, Abbot Schindler, Bird Photography 

Bird photography is one of Abbott Schindler's many interests in the natural world, and he has been photographing nature for many years. In this century he’s worked to get “close and personal” to birds in particular (they’re generally safer than bison, moose, bear and elk, which he’s also gotten uncomfortably close to). His photographic work and equipment take advantage of his extensive R&D experience, studies of photographic technique and composition, and classroom experiences. His work has been published in scientific and industry journals and fine art books, and is used extensively by the High Desert Museum.

No December Birders" Night - Christmas Bird Counts


April 16, 2020, Ken Hashagen, Birding New Zealand

© 2015 East Cascades Audubon Society

The East Cascades Audubon Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to bird conservation in Oregon 


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Contact ECAS at P.O. Box 565, Bend, OR 97709