— by John Besser
As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, many birds have moved on to warmer climes to spend winters with their tropical relatives and many Missouri birders have moved back inside to get re-acquainted with their families. But even in this ‘SAD’ time of the year, there are plenty of opportunities to spend quality time with the birds, and with the Audubon family:
On Saturday, December 15th, CAS holds our biggest birding event of the year, the Christmas Bird Count. The CBC has been an Audubon tradition for more than a century and a CAS tradition for about half of that time. Columbia usually produces the largest pool of CBC volunteers in Missouri, as well as one of the highest species tallies. This event goes forward rain (or freezing rain, or snow, or sleet, or bitter cold, or howling winds…) or shine. Results of decades of Christmas counts from hundreds of count circles has proven to be a treasure trove of ‘citizen-science’ data for scientists tracking changes in abundance and distribution of North American birds.
But it is really the camaraderie of birding with old friends in a familiar piece of the count circle that makes it so popular. To top off a day of bird-counting, we will gather for a pot-luck chili dinner (6 PM, at the Community of Christ Church on Fairview Road) to share stories of the day’s sightings and to merge counts into the official totals for the Columbia CBC circle.
Birders of all levels of ability are welcome to join the Christmas count — in the field, in your car, or at home watching the backyard feeders with hot cocoa in hand! If you haven’t already signed up for this year’s count, contact CBC organizer Laura Hillman (email@example.com).
After the CBC, most of us will really head indoors for the holidays, but come New Year’s Day, the urge to start the 2019 year-list will be strong, and Rock Bridge State Park is organizing four ‘First Day’ hikes for January 1. For more details visit https://mostateparks.com/events/park/rock-bridge-memorial-state-park
CAS will be leading the First Day bird walk on the Karst Trail. I hope I see you there — and at the Christmas Count!
The Christmas Bird Count will be held on Saturday, December 15 this year. The 13 areas that make up a circle surrounding Columbia will be surveyed by members of CAS and other interested birders. The teams will spend most of the day out in the field, some starting before day break. In the evening everyone will converge upon the annual Chili Supper where — one by one — each team will call off the number of each species they found and the computer will tally the number of robins, the number of blue birds, etc. — leading to a final total of all birds found. The data is then sent to the National Audubon Society where it’s compared with nearly 60 years of data previously collected by CAS. The data can also be compared to other areas of the US. However, the competition between the 13 areas the night of the Chili Supper may be the most exciting. The count is open to all interested birders. To potentially get a spot on a team email your name and phone number to Laura Hillan at firstname.lastname@example.org so she can match you up with a team needing more members. The Chili Supper — open to everybody — begins at 6 p.m. at Fairview Road Community of Christ Church, 1111 S. Fairview Road in Columbia. Table service and hot and cold drinks will be provided.
Official meeting minutes will be posted to the website after approval at each subsequent board meeting, meaning they are delayed from immediate publication. Below is an unofficial summary of business discussed on November 14, 2018. Please contact a board member with any questions.
November 2018 Board Meeting Unofficial Summary
Official meeting minutes will be posted to the website after approval at each subsequent board meeting, meaning they are delayed from immediate publication. Below is an unofficial summary of business discussed on Nov. 14, 2018. Please contact a board member if you have questions.
Board members discussed management of existing funds.
The annual CoMoGives fund drive for area nonprofits will begin on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, and continue through Dec. 31. The CAS goal this year is $8,000. Copies of the “Giving Guide” booklet and are available to distribute to friends and neighbors. A postcard appeal will be mailed to Audubon members and past supporters in early December.
The celebration committee has reserved space at the Boone County Historical Society for a gathering on Friday, April 26, John James Audubon’s birthday, and confirmed the appearance of Audubon “enactor” Brian Fox at educational events on Saturday. Fox will present a program for children at the Columbia Public Library on Saturday afternoon, April 27; the program is co-sponsored by CAS and the library. He will also provide a program at Fairview School that morning, and perhaps lead a nature walk at Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary (CANS) for Audubon members. CAS and the library will each pay half of his $1,000 fee. The celebration committee is working to find additional sponsors for the events. John Besser and Bill Mees are reviewing files of CAS historical information.
Laura Hillman reported that she has contacted area coordinators for the Dec. 15 Christmas Bird Count but hasn’t had much response. She believes most coordinators are continuing. Board members discussed potential count coordinator vacancies and replacements. Board members discussed the possibility of using E-Bird lists to input the count data, but Laura said the data needs to remain in the standard CBC format. John Besser has discussed arrangements for the CBC chili dinner with Lori Hagglund, who coordinated the event in the past. He will circulate the food signup sheet.
Doug Miller will compile the December Chat for Eric Reuter. Submit articles to Doug by Nov. 25. Doug provided CAS information cards and encouraged board members to continue distributing them.
John Besser suggested deferring this topic until there is adequate time for discussion.
In January, CAS will be leading a public book discussion about Seattle-based author and researcher John M. Marzluff’s 2014 book Welcome to Subirdia. Now is a great time to buy or borrow a copy (the library has two) and get started on this interesting book about biodiversity in urban areas. We hope you’ll join us in January prepared with questions, comments, and ideas inspired by the book.
Carrying out our mission through education, conservation, and outreach takes a wide variety of resources, from the valued time of dedicated volunteers to the financial support of members and donors. We welcome and appreciate all participants and supporters of our work through their generous donations of time, money, or other resources.
The Chat is published online on the first of every month from September through May. Submissions are welcome, including photographs, stories, and suggestions for content; please contact News Editor Eric Reuter. The submission deadline is the evening of the 25th of each month.