Come join us!

Aiken Audubon programs are free and open to the public. They are held at Bear Creek Nature Center, located at 245 Bear Creek Road, Colorado Springs, 80906. Coffee, snacks, and socializing begins at 6:30 pm and programs begin at 7 pm.

Aiken’s weather cancellation policy: Sometimes inclement weather may cause us to cancel an Aiken meeting. If this happens, a decision will be made by 1 pm on the meeting date. Notification will be placed here our website, on our Facebook page, and sent out through our email notification list. In addition, a message will be posted on the CoBirds Listserv, which many Aiken birders subscribe to. If there is any doubt, please do not hesitate to contact any Aiken board members via telephone. Always, your safety is first so use your own judgement when coming to a meeting.

Finally, if you have ideas or would like to present a program at one of our meetings, please contact program chair Diane Luck at

Upcoming Aiken Meetings / Programs

February 20 / Gemara Gifford
Birds & Coffee

GemaraGiffordShade coffee growers in Central America may hold the secret to conserving migratory birds and alleviating poverty at the same time. The benefits of shade coffee farms to birds (and likewise, the benefits of birds to coffee farms) has been well documented. Shade coffee provides high-quality habitat for birds, especially in fragmented areas with little forest, and may even serve as matrix habitat for forest-dwelling species. Migratory birds reduce pest damage to coffee crops during an important time of their growth cycle.

Diverse coffee agroecosystems also improve farmer livelihoods and food security, because they are grown with a diversity of fruit, nut, and fiber trees, and are sometimes combined with local crops such as maize, beans, and squash.

Come and find out why “farmer-friendly coffee” is what bird-lovers should be drinking.

Gemara Gifford (pronounced gém-uh-ruh) is the International Program Director of Trees, Water & People, a grassroots nonprofit in Fort Collins, Colorado that empowers indigenous communities in North and Central America to conserve their natural resources and improve their livelihoods. Gemara graduated with her Master’s degree from Cornell University in 2016 where she collaborated with Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientists on a community-driven conservation research project in the Guatemalan Highlands, studying rare migratory, endemic, and resident cloud forest birds. Gemara is an expert in leading projects that include community leadership, and conservation in working landscapes. She also has a B.S. degree from Colorado State University and is a Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar. When Gemara isn’t hopping from country-to-country or leading private tours with her non-profit, Trees, Water & People, she enjoys painting, writing music, volunteering, and spending time with her husband and two kitties.

Death by Chocolate: Our February meeting is also our traditional chocolate potluck. Bring something wonderfully chocolatey, and share what everyone else has brought.

March 20 / Eric Eaton
Colorful Colorado… Beetles

Program description coming soon…

April 17 / Bill Eden
Birding Senegal and The Gambia


In November, 2016, Bill Eden traveled with five other participants and a guide to explore the bird life of the western Africa countries of Senegal and The Gambia. The field guide Birds of Senegal and The Gambia, by Borrow and Demey, lists 680 bird species found in these two countries. Although Senegal and The Gambia may not have the avian notoriety of Kenya, they are excellent places to see birds. Our trip took us along both sides of the Gambia River. We saw such birds as the African Pygmy Kingfisher, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, the Abyssinian Ground Roller, Giant Kingfisher, and the “must see” Egyptian Plover.

Bill grew up in New York State with parents who enjoyed nature. His early summers were spent at their camp in the Adirondack Mountains where there were plenty of birds.

In 1975 Bill moved to Colorado to pursue a Masters Degree at CSU.He then worked at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment directing their public health nutrition Programs. He continued to pursue his interests in birds and birding.

In early 2006, Bill participated in Hugh and Urling Kingery’s beginning birding class and then became a student in the ASGD’s year-long Master Birder Program. He then spent nine years on the Master Birding Program’s steering committee. Bill has also worked with Meredith McBurney at the Chatfield bird banding station for eight years.

Bill has enjoyed many birding trips throughout the United States as well as birding in over 20 countries such as Malaysian Borneo, Madagascar, Brazil, Honduras, Iceland, Uganda and Tanzania (some with his wife Joan). He incorporates an interest in wildlife photography by photographing birds, mammals and other animals. Bill also enjoys gardening and attracting birds to his yard. So far he has recorded 56 species.

Northern Carmine Bee-eater photo by Steve Garvie from Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland – Northern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicus)Uploaded by Snowmanradio, CC BY-SA 2.0,