Mobile, Ala.—A new program focused on coastal bird monitoring and stewardship in Mobile and Baldwin Counties launched today with the opening of Birmingham Audubon’s Coastal Programs Office at 118 North Royal Street.
Science and program-management staff begin with surveys of coastal birds along twenty miles of routes this fall, and with stewardship of beach-nesting species next year. Birmingham Audubon represents Alabama in a gulf-wide network of National Audubon conservation programs from Florida to Texas.
The Birmingham Audubon Coastal Programs staff will implement the Alabama Coastal Bird Stewardship Program, a program of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources funded through the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.
“Birmingham Audubon is pleased to welcome our Mobile-based staff, contribute to the recovery of species impacted by the 2010 BP oil spill and provide data critical to coastal conservation planning,” says Suzanne Langley, Birmingham Audubon Executive Director. The staff includes Mozart Dedeaux, Coastal Program Coordinator; Katie Barnes, Coastal Senior Biologist; and Emma Rhodes, Coastal Biological Technician.
Also supporting the Birmingham Audubon Coastal Program is Andrew Haffenden, who serves as local specialist and seasonal steward. Mobile Bay Audubon volunteers will also serve as local experts for surveys and stewardship outreach.
Founded in 1946, Birmingham Audubon is Alabama’s leading nonprofit organization engaging people in the enjoyment and conservation of birds, their habitats, and the natural world. A leader in Alabama conservation, we work to preserve urban and rural habitats, ensure access to publicly accessible natural lands, and promote bird-friendly policy statewide.
Before coming to Birmingham Audubon, Mozart Dedeaux worked as the Education Coordinator for Pascagoula River Audubon Center and, most recently, as the Director of Conservation Education and Digital Content for Audubon Mississippi. A former science teacher at Moss Point Alternative School, he holds a BFA in Fine Arts from Loyola University, and an undergraduate degree from William Carey University, where he also completed graduate work in the Masters of Education program. A man of many talents, “Moz” also has experience working in New York City’s music industry, where he was a session player for national radio and television commercials, a composer/scorer for industrial and commercial video, and a recording artist for Capital Records.
Katie Barnes comes to Birmingham Audubon from a two-year stint monitoring Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns, Black Skimmers, and Common Nighthawks in Cameron Parish for Audubon Louisiana. A native of Pittsburgh, she earned a BS in Biology from Saint Vincent College (where she studied White-breasted Nuthatch foraging behavior), and an MS in Biology from East Stroudsburg University, where her thesis focused on Louisiana Waterthrush ecology. An avid birder and bird-bander with field experiences ranging from the deserts of Arizona to the beaches of the Gulf Coast, Katie brings a wealth of expertise to her new position at Birmingham Audubon.
A native of nearby Foley, Alabama, Emma Rhodes is a recent graduate (BS Biology, with a minor in GIS) of the University of South Alabama. While much of her recent research has focused on the effects of window strikes on bird mortality, she has also spent parts of the last eight years banding neotropical migratory birds on Fort Morgan. In addition to these pursuits, she worked as a research assistant for Audubon’s Maine-based Project Puffin in 2014 and 2015, and has volunteered for both Audubon Mississippi and Birmingham Audubon as part of their Audubon Coastal Bird Surveys.