Speaker Series

Golden Gate Audubon’s monthly Speaker Series in San Francisco and Berkeley features renowned naturalists, photographers, ornithologists, authors, international travelers, and other fascinating speakers. To cover event costs, we ask non-members for a voluntary donation of $5. Non-members may attend for free if they join that evening. As always, GGAS members are welcome to attend free of charge. Locations are listed on the right side of this page.


Discovering and Conserving Bryan’s Shearwater

Bryan's Shearwater

Bryan’s Shearwater

Peter Pyle
San Francisco: Thursday April 16
7 p.m. refreshments, 7:30 p.m. program 

Bryan’s Shearwater (Puffinus bryani) was identified for the first time in 2011 by Peter Pyle and two colleagues, based on DNA analysis of a specimen collected in 1963 on Midway Atoll. That specimen had initially been misidentified as a Little Shearwater. Peter will recount discovery of the new species, which was named after his grandfather, a long-time curator at Honolulu’s Bishop Museum. He will share information on these birds, their habitat requirements, and attempts to locate them with remote audio-recording devices designed by U.C. Santa Cruz researchers. Bryan’s Shearwaters appear to be extremely rare and in need of targeted conservation actions to increase their population size.

Peter Pyle is an ornithologist and marine biologist who works for the Institute for Bird Populations in Point Reyes Station. He has authored over 120 scientific papers and is well known among bird banders for his Identification Guides summarizing molt, ageing and sexing information for birds in the hand.


Gardening for Wildlife in our Drought

Photo by Nancy Kent

Photo by Nancy Kent

Nancy Kent 
Berkeley: Thursday May 21
7 p.m. refreshments, 7:30 p.m. program  

Our current drought has challenged landscape architects to find new ways to design residential landscapes. As we move away from water-intensive plants and lawns, towards designs that incorporate drought-tolerant and native species, there are new opportunities to create more sustainable landscapes with diverse habitats for birds and butterflies. Nancy Kent, a California landscape architect with a practice in Oakland, will discuss evolving garden design and garden elements that encourage diverse wildlife and plant communities.

A Parks Commissioner for Piedmont, Nancy is working with the city, EBMUD and to create a bay-friendly park from a water-intensive lawn landscape.


Hidden Lives of Birds: Their World of Sound

Pioneer bird song recordist Peter Paul Kellogg in the 1950s. Credit: Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Pioneer bird song recordist Peter Paul Kellogg in the 1950s. Credit: Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Greg Budney 
San Francisco: Thursday June 18
7 p.m. refreshments, 7:30 p.m. program  

Explore the lives of birds through a presentation of sound recordings from Cornell’s Macaulay Library, the world’s largest archive of bird sounds.  From the stunningly beautiful to the bizarre, from drumming to mimicry, from the Nightingale to the Musician Wren… we will listen to sounds that birds use to communicate, and learn what sounds tell us about their complex lives.

Greg Budney has worked at the Macauley Library for 34 years and is currently its Curator for Collection Development and Outreach. He created a sound recording training course that has trained about 500 scientists and volunteers for field research.