Kaylee Delcid is passionate about birds. The recent Arizona State University (ASU) graduate interns with the Sonoran Audubon Society, volunteers at Liberty Wildlife, and is helping to build her alma mater a garden that provides pollinators and seed-dispersing birds with food.
Kaylee has been an animal lover since she was a child, but her love of birds really took flight in 2017 while she was a student at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC).
“I became interested in birds during my first year at EMCC and have been pursuing that interest ever since,” she said.
Her first exposure to working with birds began with an internship studying the burrowing owl population at EMCC. The West Valley college is home to dozens of the little birds, providing students hours of service-learning credits and research opportunities as they construct burrows and study the small creatures. Kaylee’s internship focused on determining perch height preference and her research won second place in the 2019 Maricopa Student Research Conference.
“That internship got me interested in birds,” she said.
She took that interest with her to ASU where she joined a research lab focused on great-tailed grackles and helped to create the Sun Devil Audubon Student Conservation Chapter. She also participates in various bird counts including Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count.
Kaylee graduated from ASU last fall with a degree in Conservation Biology and Ecology. As an intern with the Sonoran Audubon Society, she serves as a Plants for Birds Coordinator.
“My role is to organize with West Valley cities to engage citizens with ‘Plants for Birds’ events, which include tabling, planting, presenting, and donating native plants,” she said. “The hope is to get more people aware of the benefits of using native plants in their gardens for wildlife — especially birds.”
In celebration of Earth Day, Kaylee will be leading a virtual presentation titled “Desert Gardens for Plants and People” on April 23. From 10 to 11 a.m., she will introduce wildlife that benefit from native plants and explain why those plants and animals are important.
“I will explain what values native plants have to people,” she said. “And how to figure out which plants to use, what pollinators these plants attract, and where to find these plants.”
She will also cover an introduction to plant care and provide participants with resources to get their native plant gardens started.
“I love being able to make a positive difference for our Sonoran Desert,” she said. “And hopefully inspiring people to use more native plants in their yard planning.”
To attend the presentation, go to https://www.estrellamountain.edu/events/2021/earth-day-kaylee-delcid.