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.

A Bird’s Rainbow

Bob Lewis

Berkeley: Thursday July 16
6:30 GGAS Annual Meeting and refreshments; 7:30 program 

Red-headed Barbet / Photo by Bob Lewis

Red-headed Barbet / Photo by Bob Lewis

Many birds are brightly colored, while others use patterned feathers for camouflage. How do these colors originate? What’s the difference between colors from pigments and physical colors? From Yellow Warblers to Anna’s Hummingbirds, from Snow Geese to Brewer’s Blackbirds, each species makes unique use of the feather colors it possesses. What do the colors indicate to other birds? And do birds see the same colors we do? Bob Lewis will unravel some of the mysteries of color in birds with a little chemistry, a bit of physics, and a lot of brightly colored slides.

Bob Lewis trained as a chemist and worked for Chevron for 33 years. He’s taught birding classes in the Bay Area for over 20 years, and is chair of Golden Gate Audubon’s Adult Education Committee. Currently he’s co-teaching a popular Master Birding class at the California Academy of Sciences with Jack Dumbacher and Eddie Bartley. He loves to travel and photograph birds, and has just returned from a trip to Southeast Asia, chasing the brightly colored birds of that area.

NOTE: The July Speaker Series coincides with Golden Gate Audubon’s Annual Meeting. Come at 6:30 p.m. to hear an update on our activities and our plans for the coming year, and to share your ideas. Enjoy some snacks. Then stay for Bob Lewis’s talk!


Plumage Color and Birds of Prey

Elizabeth Wommack

San Francisco: Thursday August 20
7:00 p.m. refreshments, 7:30 p.m. program

American Kestrel / Photo by Elizabeth Wommack

American Kestrel / Photo by Elizabeth Wommack

Birds of prey display highly varied color and patterns of plumage. From Gyrfalcons in the Arctic to Black Sparrowhawks in Africa, diversification in plumage is a common feature for many hawks, falcons, and owls. Come explore the range of plumage variation across these groups, delve into research on color variability in raptors, and learn about local highly variable species.

Elizabeth Wommack is Staff Curator and Manager of Vertebrates for the University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates. She received her PhD at U.C. Berkeley, where she wrote her dissertation on the range and use of plumage variation in the American Kestrel.



Birding in Cuba

Cuban Tody / Photo by Alvaro Jaramillo

Cuban Tody / Photo by Alvaro Jaramillo

Alvaro Jaramillo

Berkeley: Thursday September 17
7:00 p.m. refreshments, 7:30 p.m. program 

As travel to Cuba opens up, Americans are gaining access to a fantastic birding destination. Cuba is safe, birdy, with much protected habitat, and much to be discovered. In fact it may be the place where the Ivory-billed Woodpecker still lives! Alvaro Jaramillo will share some of Cuba’s gorgeous bird life and wildlife biology, as well as its culture.

Born in Chile, Alvaro Jaramillo was trained in ecology with a focus on bird behavior. He is writes the Identify Yourself column in Bird Watcher’s Digest, runs Alvaro’s Adventures birding tour company, and has birded in Cuba on six different occasions.