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.

Doors open for refreshments at 6:30 p.m. and the speaker will start promptly at 7 p.m.

The Birds and Wildlife of Patagonia

Patricia Bacchetti
San Francisco: Thursday, July 19
6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program

Photo of Magellanic Penguins by Pat Bacchetti

From Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, Patagonia offers the opportunity to see the Southern Hemisphere’s whales, sea lions, pumas, penguins, and a unique set of birds. Then, there are the glaciers and landscapes of the Southern Andes which are spectacular and easy to access. We will start the journey in the capital, Buenos Aires, and continue down through the rugged Valdez Peninsula, the glaciers of southeastern Argentina, dip into Chile’s wondrous Torres del Paine National Park with its population of protected pumas, and finish at the southernmost post office in the world, Ushuaia. Darwin spent a year of his life traveling Patagonia on his way to the Galapagos Islands, its wild past contributing to the development of his theory of evolution. We’ll view mammals of the land and sea, as well as most of the iconic birds of the Southern Cone, ending up in Darwin’s Beagle Channel.

Pat is a native of the great Central Valley of California, though she has been a resident of Oakland for the past 40 years. She’s winding down her career as a small animal veterinarian by birding and photographing as much of the world as she can-Antarctica is next!


The Amazing Sounds of Birds

Nathan Pieplow
Berkeley: Thursday, August 16
6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program

Photo of pacific Wren by Doug Mosher

What bird uses its voice to echolocate inside dark caves? Which bird sings a duet with itself? Which bird sings over a thousand different songs? In this presentation, Nathan Pieplow shares some of his most remarkable audio from over a decade of recording birds in the field. You will see the sounds as well as hear them, and learn the stories of the birds that made them, and what some of those birds are actually saying.Nathan lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he teaches writing and rhetoric at the University of Colorado. He is a former editor of the quarterly journal Colorado Birds and one of the developers of the Colorado County Birding Website and the Colorado Birding Trail.    Growing up in South Dakota, Nathan got started identifying bird songs by studying the classic “Birding By Ear” field guides in the Peterson series.  In 2003, facing the frustrations of studying sounds for his first trips to Mexico and Costa Rica, he became dedicated to finding new and better ways to learn, describe and catalog bird sounds.  He needed a book to hold all the information that wouldn’t stay in his brain. The Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds is the result.

Birding the United States by bicycle:

An 18,000-mile American Odyssey

Dorian Anderson
San Francisco: Thursday, September 20
6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program

Photo of Dorian in Pawnee by Bill Schmoker


On January 1st, 2014 Dorian Anderson departed a complexly frozen Massachusetts on his bicycle to undertake one of the most ambitious birding projects in history: the first North American bicycle Big Year. In the next 365 days, he cycled 18,000 miles through 28 states, raised $49,000 for bird conservation, and found 618 bird species, all without using a drop of petroleum. From New England to Florida, from Texas to the Pacific Northwest, and from Colorado to California, Dorian experienced the United States in the most memorable and unique manner imaginable. His story of birding, biking, adventure, and self-discovery should not be missed.

A lifelong birder, Dorian completed his B.S. in Molecular Biology at Stanford University and his Ph.D. in Developmental Genetics at New York University before accepting a postdoctoral position in Molecular Neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital, a positioned he resigned to undertake his bicycle Big Year project. He is an accomplished bird photographer and is currently working as a travel writer and bird guide while he finishes a book about his adventure. He and his wife, Sonia, live in San Mateo.