The Columbia, Missouri chapter of the Audubon Society — serving Audrain, Boone, Cooper, Howard, Monroe & Randolph Counties

The Columbia Audubon Society was organized in 1958 and serves six mid-Missouri counties: Audrain, Boone, Cooper, Howard, Monroe, and Randolph. Our mission is to preserve the natural world and its ecosystems focusing on birds, other wildlife, and the earth's biological diversity through education, environmental study and habitat restoration and protection.

News & Issues

Monday, Apr 14, 2014

[5/10/2014] North American Migratory Bird Count

For several decades, Columbia Audubon Society has participated in the North American Migratory Bird Count (NAMBC) to assess the effects of winter habitat loss (cutting rain forests), migratory habi-tat loss (filling in wetland) and reproductive loss (cutting the Boreal forest). We know we have many species in serious decline. When the national NAMBC stopped, Missouri continued and even though the state has stopped, Columbia continues. The data is now put in eBIRD but can be linked to the prior data for anyone wishing to study "Columbia's Birds".

Saturday, May 10, we will have 13 teams out covering all of Boone County. These are different areas and teams than the Christmas Bird Count which covers a circle centered in Rock Bridge State Park. We are hoping to have the same team leaders as last year, so if you know your leader and want to participate this year, let them know. If you are new or want to change area, contact Laura Hillman at 573-442-3703 and leave a message. Allison Vaughn and Doug Miller will again compile the data.

Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

2014-2015 CAS Budget

CAS members, please review the proposed 2014-2015 budget and let the president or treasurer know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Monday, Apr 14, 2014

Gans Creek Recreation Area Bird Count

The city of Columbia is working on a new city park in south Columbia called Gans Creek Recreation Area. If you are not yet familiar with the plans for this park, you may want to visit the city's website at or google Gans Creek Recreation Area for a quick link. The site is located at 3350 E. Gans Rd. across the street from Fr. Tolton Catholic High School. Bulldozing has already begun to create soccer fields. There is a large section of this park that is designated a natural area and within this natural area is an established heron rookery. There are also plans for glade restoration. Some members of Columbia Audubon Society (CAS), Wild Ones and Master Naturalists met with city Parks and Rec personnel, Brett O'Brien and Dave Dittmer and Chris Woodson from Mo. Fish and Wildlife. They are very interested in preserving as much of the wild area as possible and are also concerned about the impact of crowds, lights, and ball fields on the natural ecology that also includes Elbow Cave.

One of the suggested projects that came out of this meeting was to gather data to establish a baseline count of birds that now frequent the area. To this end CAS member Louise Flenner has been visiting the site over the past few weeks. There are now 20 herons gathered at the nests in 10 nesting pairs. She has also identified Wild Turkeys, American Robins, Red-tailed Hawks, American Crows, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Juncos, and the sounds of many other unseen songbirds. Louise lives near the park and would be glad to be the person who collects the data. She suggests two ways to send it.  One way is to post it on ebird with the subject line of GCRA from which she will take the counts.  Or you can e-mail with the same subject line of GCRA. If you don't want to use the Internet, just call or text her cell phone and leave a message of your count. Cell phone number is 573-268-7468. Please include the date, time, and air temperature of your count. The best way to get to the natural area is from the parking lot on Gans Creek Rd. If anyone would like Louise to take them there, please get in touch. We hope that we can have a positive impact on this park as it can be a beautiful site for nature lovers.

Monday, Apr 14, 2014

Vernon Barr, 1916-2014

Columbia’s natural history community in general and the Columbia Audubon Society in particular lost one of the area’s most valuable leaders with the death on March 23 of Vernon Barr, 97.

Vernon, a native of Hartville, was married to Jeanne (Taylor) Barr in 1944 and they served the Columbia Audubon Society as a team for half a century. Jeanne survives.

The Barrs were early members of the Audubon Society, joining in the early 1960s when they came to Columbia to teach - Jeanne as a Spanish teacher and Vernon as a science teacher.

Together they were the driving force in the growth and survival of Columbia Audubon, promoting the Audubon Film Series for two decades, working as volunteers at the annual Christmas tree sales at Wild Haven Natural Area, leading field trips and serving in whatever capacity the Society needed.

Jeanne was the dedicated birder, editing The Chat for years handling calendar and book sales, serving as secretary for both Columbia Audubon and the Audubon Society of Missouri and as our first representative to Audubon Missouri.

Vernon had a wide variety of interests, serving the Central Missouri Rock and Lapidary Club as president at least four times. Vernon was in a leadership role in bringing Rock Bridge Memorial State Park to life and he and Jeanne were long-time leaders in the Friends of Rock Bridge.

The Barrs were deeply involved in the acquisition of three of the four Columbia Audubon properties. They were close friends with Lee Jenkins and leaders in working with Lee to turn his home and property into Wild Haven. Vernon then served as land manager for two decades.

He also was instrumental in negotiating the transfer of both Albert properties to Columbia Audubon and was the original land manager for the area near Murry.

Vernon was also proud of his Air Force service in World War II and his 34 years of teaching science in public schools. He was proud, too, of his efforts to see the Katy Trail become a reality and laughed often about being in charge of car parking at a huge rally at Rocheport to promote the trail.

He asked for volunteers to handle the overflow crowd, drafting one early arrival who worked most of the day in hot sun. His volunteer was Edward D. Jones, the financial fund director and premiere proponent of the trail.

It is reasonable to say that the reason Columbia Audubon Society is a strong organization today is because of the foundation the Barrs helped build half a century ago, then worked a lifetime to strengthen.

Friday, Nov 1, 2013

Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary Expansion

It is exciting to report that Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary (CANS) has grown. Effective October 18, 2013 Columbia Audubon Society became the official owner of 6 acres adjacent to the west boundary of CANS. Audubon’s nature sanctuary will now total 28 acres.

These particular 6 acres will extend the grassland habitat west of Scott’s Branch Creek.. This is currently a fescue field with scattered trees and an old farm fence now lined and overgrown with trees.

Friday, Nov 1, 2013

"…We also like birds"

Have you seen the cover of the Columbia Audubon Society brochure? It’s available on the CAS website It’s the “…we also like birds” slogan that I want to draw to your attention. It sounds like birds are an afterthought, doesn’t it? How can that be? After all, we ARE Audubon in Columbia.

Although Columbia Audubon Society is, of course, about birds, and bird watching, it is much more than that. On October 9, 10, and 11, 1100 2nd grade students visited Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary for the Band With Nature field trip.

What an experience, what excitement, what a way to learn about nature, the out-ofdoors, and of course birds. Band With Nature was the culmination of months of planning by the 6 partners: Columbia Public Schools, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri River Bird Observatory, Raptor Rehabilitation Project, Songbird Station, and CAS.

As the event progressed, I was amazed by the number of children who have NEVER been in woods; who seem frightened as the trees close in around them; who scream at the sight of harmless “bugs.” These children will become the adults who, in a few years, will need to take over from us to protect nature. It’s events like Band With Nature that in some cases begin the process of teaching children why they should care.

The weather was perfect for all three days of the field trip. Students walked through Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary as they moved, or should I say migrated, from one activity station to the next. Each of the four stations reinforced some aspect of the school’s nature science curriculum.

If you think I may be exaggerating the excitement or the impact of this event I encourage you to ask one of the following CAS member volunteers who helped make this event a success: Howard Hinkel, Janice Gaston, Becky Gerdes, Jim Gast, John Besser, Cathy….., Alice Reese, Denny Donnell, Jan Mees, Laurie Shawver, Cleo Kottwitz, Laura Hillman, Lori Hagglund, Pam Spencer, Joyce Hulett. Thank you all for your help!

-- Bill Mees, President

Next Program/Meeting

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014 • 7pm
Unitarian-Universalist Church
2615 Shepard Blvd

Free & Open to the Public

John Nies, Columbia Public Schools educator

Come join us and hear about John’s trip to Hog Island and the Audubon camp there. John was our scholarship recipient. He plans to talk about his experience at camp, how it will affect his teaching this year and the work he is already doing with students in his 5th grade classroom at Grant School.

More Info...

Upcoming Field Trips

Saturday, Sep 6, 2014
Depart: 8am
3M Flat Branch-Hinkson Creek Wetlands (children 7+ invited)

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014
Depart: 8:00am • Start: 8:10am
Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary

Saturday, Sep 20, 2014
Depart: 8:30am
Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area (Songbird Station's Anniversary / Joint Field Trip With River Bluffs Audubon Society)

Saturday, Oct 4, 2014
Depart: 8am • Start: 9am
Prairie Fork C.A., Williamsburg, MO

Saturday, Oct 18, 2014
Depart: 7:30am • Start: 9am
Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Rocky Top Trailhead

Saturday, Nov 1, 2014
Depart: 7:30am • Start: 8:00am
Runge Conservation Nature Center and Binder Lake, Jefferson City, MO

Saturday, Nov 8, 2014
Depart: 10am
Columbia Audubon Society Albert Children's Wildlife Area

Saturday, Nov 22, 2014
Depart: 8am
Twin Lakes and Hinkson Woods Conservation Area

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015
Depart: 7am • Start: 8am
Prairie Garden Trust

Mid-Missouri Friends of Audubon

The following businesses have provided significant financial support to the Columbia Audubon Society. Please remember to support them when you need feeders, bird seed, etc., and remember to thank them for their assistance in funding our projects.

  • Songbird Station, 2010 Chapel Plaza Court, Columbia, MO
  • © 2008-2014 Columbia Audubon Society