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.

Please note the new, EARLIER start time for our speaker programs in 2017! Doors open for refreshments at 6:30 p.m. and the speaker will start promptly at 7 p.m.


Peruvian Peregrinations

Red-capped Cardinal in Peru by Bob Lewis

Bob Lewis
Berkeley: Thursday, July 20
6 p.m. Annual Meeting and refreshments, 7 p.m. program 

Peru is a land of many habitats, from the dry Tumbas in the northwest and the high Andes mountains running down the center of the country, to the Amazonian forests and rivers in the east. During two trips, we had a chance to examine the avian inhabitants of each of these regions.   We’ll discuss evolution, speciation, and the impact of geological upheavals while focusing on hummingbirds, and then look at some other exotic bird families, from Tanagers and Ovenbirds to Hoatzins.  Finally we’ll finish with a brief look at amazing Machu Picchu.

Bob trained as a chemist and worked for Chevron for 33 years.  He’s taught birding classes for over 25 years, and is past chair of Golden Gate Audubon’s Adult Education Committee.  His life list is over 4,700, and he loves to travel.  Bob was honored with American Birding Association’s Chandler Robbins Award for Education and Conservation in 2016 and GGAS’s Paul Covel Award for Education in 2017.


White-crowned Sparrow by Jenny Phillips

Songs of City Sparrows

Jenny Phillips
San Francisco: Thursday, August 17
6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program

Scientists have found that many birds alter the pitch or duration of their songs in areas with a lot of urban noise. But how and why do their songs change? Wildlife biologist Jenny Phillips will address the vocalizations of urban White-crowned Sparrows, and whether ambient noise affects how sparrows respond to each others’ songs.

Jenny Phillips, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Fresno, received her PhD from Tulane University. As part of her dissertation, she compared songs of male White-crowned Sparrows in urban, noisy San Francisco and rural, quieter Point Reyes National Seashore.


Unlikely Urban Environments

Ann Riley
Berkeley: Thursday, September 21
6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7 p.m. program

Over the past 30 years, the East Bay has pioneered a growing movement to restore very degraded riparian corridors, including digging up streams buried underground in culverts. These neighborhood-scale projects have produced unlikely wild areas with remarkable bird and wildlife use in the midst of densely populated cities.

Dr. Ann Riley is the author of Restoring Neighborhood Streams and was recently featured in the PBS show Urban Nature. She has worked as a river scientist for state agencies for over 25 years and was a cofounder of the Urban Creeks Council and California Urban Streams Partnership.