Yakima Valley Audubon Society provides programs for the benefit of members and the public at the Yakima Area Arboretum. Program topics, dates and times are announced in the newsletter, Calliope Crier, and on our website.

Upcoming Programs

Sagebrush Sparrow, photo: Ben Sonneburg

Please Join Us for Citizen Science Night!

Thursday, May 23, 7:00 – 8:30 PM, Yakima Area Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Drive, Yakima.  This program is only in person. It will not be recorded.

Our program this month will focus on how we all can actively participate in conservation efforts. Scott Downes and Jeff Kozma will speak about these opportunities and be available to answer your questions.  This evening is for the whole family, with ice cream, and a bird trivia contest.  We hope to see you there!

Program Details

Birds and Wildlife Data

Scott Downes will present on both past and present opportunities for birders and wildlife watchers to contribute data to WDFW databases and how contributing that data helps wildlife managers. These opportunities are both formal surveys and informal observations. Formal examples include projects such as the completed Sagebrush Songbird Survey and informal includes ways to report special status wildlife including species like bats, burrowing owls and pikas.

In addition to his talk, Scott will be bringing a suite of taxidermy birds, their skulls, tracks and nests for participants to look at.  

Project FeederWatch

Jeff Kozma will give a presentation on Cornell University’s Project FeederWatch, a citizen science project that has been running for close to 30 years. FeederWatch is a November-April survey of birds that visit backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. You don’t even need a feeder! All you need is an area with plantings, habitat, water, or food that attracts birds. What sets FeederWatch apart from other monitoring programs is the detailed picture that FeederWatch data provide about weekly changes in bird distribution and abundance across the United States and Canada. Jeff will take attendees through an online tutorial showing them how easy it is to establish a count site and enter count information. The goal is to get at least 5 more people to participate in FeederWatch, up from the current 5 in a 31 mi radius!

Bird Trivia, Ice Cream Social and Hands On Learning

Test your avian knowledge with bird trivia while enjoying delicious ice cream treats. Get up close and personal with Scott’s fascinating collection featuring taxidermied owls, grouse, waterfowl, bird skulls, songbird nests, and even rubber molds of bird tracks.

Our Speakers

Scott Downes works as a habitat biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He has spent more than 20 years studying the birds and habitats in our area, focusing on the forested and shrub steppe habitats. Scott has also been active in Yakima Audubon for nearly two decades and knows the important connection that Audubon members can assist with reporting of observations to benefit species management and knowledge.

Jeff Kozma received his B.S. Degree in Environmental Forest Biology from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse and his M.S. Degree in Wildlife Science at Texas Tech University where he studied the use of Chihuahuan Desert arroyos and adjacent uplands by migrant and breeding birds in southern New Mexico. After graduating, he worked as a Wildlife Biologist at the Yakima Training Center monitoring Sage-grouse, raptors, and non-game birds, and was involved with restoration of seeps, springs, and riparian areas. He is currently the TFW Wildlife Biologist for the Yakama Nation where he has been studying the ecology of White-headed Woodpeckers and other cavity-nesting birds in managed forests since 2003, as well as reviewing timber sales on the ceded lands of the Yakama Nation to help protect habitat important to state and federally listed wildlife.

NOTE: The event will be in person only.

Left, House Finch, photo: Jeff Kozma

Above, American Goldfinches at feeder, photo: Jeff Kozma

Jeff Kozma, photo: Jeff Kozma

Previous Program 

Malachite Sunbird, photo: Eric Heisey

To view a recording of this program, click here.

An eastern Washington native, Eric Heisey is a contract biologist and photographer who specializes in working with birds, increasingly in the world’s tropics. In fall 2023, Eric spent three months working in Peru, collaborating with a local NGO to survey the birds of a dynamic, human-impacted landscape in the Amazon rainforest. After his work in Peru, Eric ventured to Kenya to visit a bird-watching friend and explore the fantastic country. Over the course of this incredible four month adventure, Eric observed almost 1,200 species of birds, watched lions herd zebras into a flooded river, saw the coolest frog on the planet, took part in two excellent Big Day efforts, and deepened his knowledge and perspective of tropical conservation considerably. In this talk, Eric presents his photography, stories, and lessons learned from living in some of the world’s most fascinating environments.

More Recorded Programs

The following programs and videos can be found here:  YVAS Facebook page. At the top of the Facebook page, click on “More.” A drop down menu will appear. Click on Videos.


April 25, 2024 – Tropical Wildlife and Conservation,  Peru and Kenya – Eric Heisey


October 26, 2023 –Bluebird Country – Karen Zook
August 24, 2023 – Travels in Africa – Deborah Essman
May 25 , 2023 – Nutcrackers and Whitebark Pine – Taza Schaming
March 23, 2023 – Wild America 2022 – Andy Stepniewski
February 23, 2023 – Woodpeckers 2 – Denny Granstrand
January 26, 2023 – Madagascar – Eric Heisey


December 8, 2022 – Forests and People – Ken Bevis
October 27, 2022 – Tahoma’s Biggest Stories – Jeff Antonelis-Lapp
September 22, 2022 – White-headed Woodpeckers – 20 years of Research in WA – Jeff Kozma
August 25 ,2022 – The Secret Life of the Deserts of the Pacific NW – Mike Denny
May 26, 2022 – Yakima Valley Audubon’s Vredenburgh Bluebird Trail Marks its 40th Year! – Andy Stepniewski
March 24, 2022 – Bird’s Eye View – Gina Roberti
February 24, 2022 – Westport Seabirds – Bill Tweit


December 2, 2021 – Australia – Dennis Paulson and Netta Smith
October 28, 2021 – Special Birds of Mount Rainier – Jeff Antonelis-Lapp
September 23, 2021 – Birding Guatemala’s Highlands – Jason Fidorra
August 26, 2021 – My Woodpecker Big Year – Denny Granstrand
May 27, 2021 – Shrubsteppe Conservation – YVAS
April 22, 2021 – Condors in the Greater Northwest – Jack Nesbit
March 25, 2021 – Our Backyard Bumbles: An Introduction to Washington’s Bumblebees – David Jennings
January 28, 2021 – Cottonwood – Rivers and Reproduction – Katrina Strahmann


December 3, 2020 – Charles Bergman – Every Pengiuin in the World – A Quest to See Them All
October 29, 2020 – Crows: Clever, Curious, and Charismatic with Loma Pendergraft
September 24, 2020 – Biology and Conservation of Washington Butterfliest with Dr. David James

Zoom Program Viewing Tips

You can now watch our monthly program whenever it is convenient for you! Programs are available in real time (so you can ask questions) or as recordings from a link on our website.

To view the live presentation on your laptop, tablet, or smart phone, simply click on this link about five minutes for before the program is scheduled to begin (6:55 PM).  The host will let you into the meeting shortly.  If this is your first Zoom meeting, you may be asked to download the Zoom viewing app, (this does not require you to have your own Zoom account). Be sure to answer ‘yes’ to the questions about joining with video and audio so you can see and hear the presentation. For your personal privacy, your own device’s camera is automatically in the off mode when you join the meeting—please mute your microphone.

Please hold questions until the end of the presentation.  You may unmute and turn on your video or use the chat function and the host will read the question for you. For Zoom issues during the meeting, please use the Chat button to alert the host.

Links to the recorded programs will be provided on the website a few days following the program.

Yakima Audubon is committed to bringing you information about our natural world. Please let us know at what you think and what we can do to improve this experience for you.