Note from the President

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been birding and a member of Columbia Audubon since the early 1990s. I worked at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park for 24 years in a variety of positions, including park superintendent, and retired in 2016. I had an English Literature professor who divided his class into

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Work Continues at Nature Areas during COVID-19

How many times have you heard that we are living in unprecedented times, wear masks, social distance, and quarantine?  I’m not even going to imagine having a swab stuffed up your nose.  All this could really put a stop to almost any planned activities, but not so with Columbia Audubon Society. The spring warm-up experienced

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Birding 3M Wetlands during Quarantine

In 2013-2014, Columbia Parks and Recreation Department approached Columbia Audubon Society and asked if we could provide a match to a grant for wetland restoration along the MKT. We were unclear of their demands, but it ended up that they were in need of plant lists and interpretive panel text and photos. Columbia Audubon stepped

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Lights Out Campaign to help birds during migration

Columbia Audubon Society is excited to be a partner in the newly formed group, Lights Out Heartland, a regional offshoot of National Audubon Society’s Light Out program. The purpose is to raise awareness about light pollution’s negative impact on bird migrations, and work with businesses and individuals to reduce access light during peak migration periods. This new Heartland chapter

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CAS Programs and Fieldtrips

CAS Adapts Programs, Meetings to Current Conditions Columbia Audubon will not be able to meet at our usual location, the Unitarian Universalist Church, for the foreseeable future, so meetings and programs will take various forms this year. Weather permitting, we plan to hold actual meetings—outside, with masks and social distancing—in September and October. We’ll rely

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Wednesday, November 18

Greenbelt Land Trust Presentation

7pm

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m., via Zoom:  “The Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri—What It Is and How It Works”   Mike Powell, executive director of the Greenbelt Land Trust, will explain how land trusts work and highlight ways that CAS and GLT can work together. A Zoom link will be sent to members a few days

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Saturday, October 17

Boone Co. Nature School Open House

2-4pm

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2-4 p.m.:  Open House at the Boone County Nature School Site   CAS members will be able to visit the site of the new Boone County Nature School and learn about the status of the project. CAS contributed $30,000 for construction of a “council house” at the site, and we hope construction of

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News and Notes for May 2020

President’s Corner by John Besser, President Birding in the time of covid-19. Restrictions on ‘social distance’ this spring have had many serious social and economic consequences, and cancellations of Columbia Audubon Society (CAS) meetings and field trips are far from the biggest problems we face. Still, spring migration is the most cherished time of the

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Watch for Nesting Activity this Spring and Summer

by Joanna Reuter During the pandemic, many of us are likely to find that birding involves regular visits to local spots rather than far-flung adventures to distant destinations. One way to make the most of this is to pay special attention to nesting patterns and savor the benefit of being able to follow a year

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Meeting Minutes for March 18, 2020

COLUMBIA AUDUBON SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING March 18, 2020 Present: Bill Mees, Eric Seaman, Doug Miller, Allison Vaughn, Greg Leonard, Nancy Bedan. John Besser and Eric Reuter participated by phone. Vice President Bill M called the meeting to order at 6 p.m. Spring Meeting Schedule:  John B said church officials don’t want large groups

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E-mail Vote, February 21–27, 2020

COLUMBIA AUDUBON SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS SPECIAL E-MAIL VOTE February 21-27, 2020 On Feb. 21, 2020, CAS President John Besser called for a final board vote, by e-mail, on the proposed $30,000 donation to the Boone County Nature School project for construction of the Council House facility. He noted that the board had good discussions

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News and Notes for April 2020

President’s Corner By John Besser CAS cancellations and “social distancing”. It sure seems like more than a month since the last Chat. Our world is changing rapidly in response to the spread of the pandemic coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Changes in our little organization seem pretty trivial compared to the upheaval around

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Interacting with Nature during a Time of COVID-19 Concern

by Joanna Reuter Spring is unfolding much as usual with the arrival of migrants, the blooming of wildflowers, and the chorus of frogs and toads. Yet the joys of spring are tempered this year by concerns about the coronavirus and what harm it will inflict on the human communities we cherish. The strong desire to

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Sightings: March 2020

by Joanna Reuter Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area Sadly, the 25th anniversary celebration scheduled for March had to be canceled due to a combination of miserable weather and coronavirus caution. Here’s a photographic celebration highlighting some March observations: The eagles are nesting: Cheryl Rosenfeld captured an excellent photo sequence of a Horned Grebe eating a fish.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

CANCELED April meeting: Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri

7:00 p.m.

The April meeting has been CANCELED due to COVID-19. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Original event notice: Mike Powell, Executive Director of the Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri, will speak about his organization and  present data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology regarding land trusts and bird conservation.

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Meeting Minutes for February 19, 2020

COLUMBIA AUDUBON SOCIETY Special Membership Meeting February 19, 2020 CAS President John Besser convened the special membership meeting at 6:05 p.m. The meeting was held to discuss a proposal by the Board of Directors to donate $30,000 in CAS funds for construction of the Council House facility at the new Boone County Nature School. After

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

POSTPONED March meeting: Robin Hirsch-Jacobson

7:00 p.m.

This meeting is postponed until further notice. The March meeting will feature a presentation by Robin Hirsch-Jacobson, Associate Professor of Biology at William Woods University. Robin works with undergraduates, teaching hands-on field labs where students are able to learn about ecology and the natural environment though observation and experimentation. Robin will speak about: work with

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News and Notes for March 2020

by Joanna & Eric Reuter March field trips & events As the weather improves, the field trip calendar will become busier. We’ll start the month off right away with a “birding without binoculars” walk at Stephens Lake Park on the afternoon of Sunday, March 1. The month’s highlight will be the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area

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Planning for Spring Plantings of Natives

by Joanna Reuter If you have a yard and/or a garden, this is a good time of year come up with a plan to make the space more enticing to wildlife such as beneficial insects and birds. Get inspired: Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in your Yard is a new

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Sightings: February 2020

by Joanna Reuter Northern Boone County Blackbird Roost Activity continued at the blackbird roost in northern Boone County where birds numbering in the millions have been congregating each evening to roost for the night in a field of miscanthus (a tall grass that is a biomass crop). Watching the birds come in has been described

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News and Notes for February 2020

President’s notebook: Special General Membership Meeting, 6:00 pm Wednesday February 19 by John Besser We will have a special general membership meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Church on February 19 at 6 PM, one hour before the scheduled presentation by Bill Palmer. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss and vote on a proposal

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Updates in Missouri Ornithology (January Meeting Summary)

by Joanna Reuter At the January meeting, ~40 attendees were treated to an informative and enjoyable presentation from MDC State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick, who discussed three major topics: Missouri Bird Conservation Plan You’ve probably heard news about bird populations declining. It’s really important to have a solid understanding about which birds are declining and why,

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Sightings: January 2020

by Joanna Reuter Audrain County swans & more A large pond/small lake on private land in western Audrain County, just east of Highway 151, has been a magnet for Trumpeter Swans the last few years. Even in years with deep cold, the water has remained free of ice, and nearby corn fields offer sustenance. County

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Meeting Minutes for January 15, 2020

COLUMBIA AUDUBON SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING January 15, 2020 Present:  John Besser, Bill Mees, Eric Seaman, Greg Leonard, Lottie Bushmann, Eric Wood, Jean Neely, Nancy Bedan, Eric Reuter, Laura Hillman, Joanna Reuter Nature School Proposal:  The meeting was devoted to discussion of the Boone County Nature School project and the proposal to commit $30,000

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Meeting Minutes for December 18, 2019

The special meeting of the Board of Directors convened at 6 p.m. at the Columbia Public Library for a presentation by representatives from the new Boone County Nature School project. Present: John Besser, Bill Mees, Doug Miller, Eric Seaman, Laura Hillman, Eric Wood, Jean Neely, Allison Vaughn, Nancy Bedan. Representing the Nature School project: Roger

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Meeting Minutes for November 20, 2019

COLUMBIA AUDUBON SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING November 20, 2019 President John Besser called the meeting to order at 6 p.m. Present:  John Besser, Nancy Bedan, Lottie Bushmann, Laura Hillman, Greg Leonard, Bill Mees, Doug Miller, Eric Reuter, Joanna Reuter, Eric Seaman, Allison Vaughn, Eric Wood, and Jean Neely, newly appointed board member Board Vacancy: 

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News and Notes for January 2020

New Year, new events The Columbia Audubon Society (CAS) event calendar will kick off 2020 with an afternoon First Day Hike on the Grasslands Trail at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, in coordination with Missouri State Parks. On January 15, the first CAS meeting of 2020 will feature State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick. She has exciting

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Destination: Audubon, Iowa

by Louise Flenner In September, George and I decided to travel home from our RV vacation on the North Shore of Minnesota by taking the long way home down the western side of Iowa along Hwy. 71.  The destination I was looking for was the town of Audubon, Iowa.  I had noted this place on

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Birds in Big Numbers: Flocks of Blackbirds and Starlings

Part two in an occasional series, Birds in Big Numbers by Joanna Reuter Blackbirds can congregate in enormous numbers, sometimes in mixed-species flocks with starlings and other birds. In eBird’s current dataset, Red-winged Blackbirds hold the world record for the high count of a single species, with an estimate of 40 million individuals during a

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Sightings: December 2019

Raptors: Winter is a good time to view raptors, and many photos demonstrating their winter diversity were submitted to eBird and the Macaulay Library this month from Boone County. Here’s a selection:  The final photo in that sequence is a Prairie Falcon found by Shelby Thomas at South Farm on December 7. This was

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News and Notes for December 2019

President’s notebook: Let’s eBird the Christmas Bird Count By John Besser, Columbia Audubon Society (CAS) President The Christmas Bird Count is probably the longest-standing activity of the National Audubon Society. The genius of this early “citizen science” project lies in its simplicity and consistency over the years. Each group participating in the CBC submits a

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Seeking Members for a CAS Field Trip Strategic Planning Committee

by Eric Reuter, Field Trip Chair As Field Trip Chair, I have been researching liability questions for non-profits engaged in outdoor activities; this has opened a can of worms that must now be addressed. Because field trips are a core part of the Columbia Audubon Society (CAS) mission, the board has approved my formation of

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CoMoGives Fund Drive is Under Way

Please Consider Making a Gift to Columbia Audubon by  Nancy Bedan, CAS CoMoGives Committee Mid-Missouri residents can make donations to any of 138 nonprofit organizations through the 2019 CoMoGives fundraiser during the month of December. These organizations, Columbia Audubon Society included, offer exceptional programs and services to our community. The Community Foundation of Central Missouri

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Columbia Audubon Society Participates in Planning for Boone County Nature School

by John Besser and Bill Mees Those attending the October CAS membership meeting at Fairview Elementary School heard about plans for a new ‘nature school’ from Mike Szydlowski, Science Coordinator for Columbia Public Schools (CPS).  This exciting facility will be located on a 207-acre tract donated by the Hank Waters and Vicki Russell, located off

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Sightings: November 2019

This month’s sightings were once again compiled entirely from eBird and illustrated with photos embedded via the Macaulay Library. (Feel free to submit interesting observations and photos to me directly by email.) Anna’s Hummingbird: This November brought an early-season Arctic blast, not weather that one usually associates with hummingbirds. But, sure enough, a hummingbird showed

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Meeting Minutes for October 16, 2019

COLUMBIA AUDUBON SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING October 16, 2019 President John Besser called the meeting to order at 6 p.m. Present:  John Besser, Nancy Bedan, Bill Mees, Greg Leonard, Lottie Bushmann, Doug Miller, Eric Seaman, Laura Hillman, and Jean Neely, guest and prospective board member Minutes:  Bill M asked that Joanna Reuter’s e-mail address

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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Christmas Bird Count Chili Supper Potluck

6:00 p.m.

This is the annual chili supper potluck following the Christmas Bird Count, at which we share food and company while reporting and compiling the results of the day-long count. The potluck will start at 6 p.m. at Fairview Road Community of Christ Church, 1111 S. Fairview Road in Columbia. Table service and hot and cold

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News and Notes for November 2019

From the editor This issue of The Chat comes after the annual Columbia Audubon Society (CAS) Band with Nature program gave around 1,350 students an opportunity to be inspired about birds and nature; these 2nd graders are from 69 classrooms representing 19 schools. In this issue, the two Columbia teachers who attended Hog Island Audubon

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Scholarship Recipients Enthusiastic about Hog Island Audubon Camp

Each year, the Columbia Audubon Society offers two scholarships for teachers to attend the Hog Island Audubon Camp off the coast of Maine. This past summer’s recipients, Emily Reynolds and Andrew Crawford, took part in the program “Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week”; their accounts of the experience are below, illustrated with Emily’s photos. Applications are

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2019 CoMoGives Drive Begins December 1

—by Nancy Bedan, CAS CoMoGives Committee Columbia Audubon is participating in the annual CoMoGives annual fundraiser for area non-profit organizations again this year. The online giving campaign, which runs during the month of December, is coordinated by the Community Foundation of Central Missouri with support from several local businesses. Columbia Audubon has participated in CoMoGives

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Sightings: October 2019

This month’s sightings were compiled entirely from eBird and illustrated with photos embedded via the Macaulay Library. (Feel free to submit interesting observations and photos to me directly by email.) Arrivals: Late September and October brought the return of a number of overwintering birds, including these regulars: Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers: The first-of-season sightings for our region

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Meeting Minutes for August 21, 2019

COLUMBIA AUDUBON SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING August 21, 2019 President John Besser called the meeting to order at 6 p.m. Present:  John Besser, Nancy Bedan, Bill Mees, Eric Wood, Greg Leonard, Eric Reuter, Lottie Bushmann, Laura Hillman, Doug Miller, Allison Vaughn Minutes:  Bill M asked that the minutes be corrected to clarify that CAS

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News and Notes for October 2019

From the editor -by Joanna Reuter The September issue of The Chat was a big one, so I decided to wait until this issue to introduce myself and my goals as editor. Though I’ve been a bird watcher for about three of my four decades, I still cherish the constant potential for discovery. I was

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Congratulations to Bill Mees and CAS: Eco Schoolhouse Horseshoe Award

The Eco Schoolhouse Horseshoe Award uses an artifact from the past to honor those whose actions aim to produce a better future through environmental education. The award is named for a horseshoe found during the construction of the Eco Schoolhouse, a LEED Gold building that was built with community support in 2008 after fire destroyed

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Raptor Rehab Q&A

Judy Lincoln is a volunteer for Raptor Rehab, as well as an active member of the Columbia Audubon Society. She kindly answered a variety of questions about many aspects of Raptor Rehab: What is Raptor Rehab? The University of Missouri’s Raptor Rehabilitation Project, better known as Raptor Rehab, treats injured raptors with the goal of

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Sightings: September 2019

September Broad-winged Hawk migration update.  The Hawk Watch Happy Hour “field trip” didn’t yield much in the way of hawks, but it drew ~20 people and was a good time nonetheless. (Email me if you were there and would like to have the eBird list shared with you). As of the time I’m writing this,

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News and Notes for September 2019

President’s notebook: Welcome back! -by John Besser, Columbia Audubon Society (CAS) President Maybe you didn’t all spend your summer relaxing in the cool mountain air or ocean breezes, but it seems like some Columbia Audubon friends who did are reappearing, along with the returning college students and migrating shorebirds. Of course, our organization didn’t come

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Young Birders Josh and Chelsea Mosteller Share Their Story

Editor’s note: The Columbia Audubon Society helped to sponsor a recent trip to a birding camp in Delaware for two enthusiastic young birders, Josh Mosteller, 18, and Chelsea Mosteller, 14. Here, in an article by each, they share the story of how they became interested in birding and give an account of the camp, illustrated

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Birds in Big Numbers: Introduction to a Series

by Joanna Reuter Seeing lots of birds in a short period of time is exciting. Try to imagine: Many millions of blackbirds. Over a million geese (so many that satellite imagery was useful for estimating numbers). Tens of thousands of ducks. Tens of thousands of American Robins. Thousands of Broad-winged Hawks. Thousands of swallows. Thousands

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Birds in Big Numbers: September Broad-winged Hawk Migration

by Joanna Reuter Although a variety of raptors migrate south in the fall, Broad-winged Hawks do so in groups that sometimes number in the hundreds or thousands in Missouri. Getting to see “kettles” of Broad-winged Hawks riding thermals and/or cruising south is a thrilling and memorable experience. High count: Described as “the most extraordinary wildlife

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