Tue. May. 1, 2018

From the President

– by Laura Hillman, CAS President

I’ve done it again. I will miss both the May picnic and the Migratory Bird Count just to go to China. So I’d better say goodbye now, as my two years as president ends at the picnic. John Besser, the current Vice President, will take over when I leave (as he did when I deserted for Ecuador) but this time he will keep the job for two years. However, I will stay on the board for two more years as the Past President. I have enjoyed being the President for the last two years mainly because I have had a wonderful board to work with. We have tried a number of different events at new locations and at different times. We have focused more on new birders and have gotten new members while providing many excellent birding events for established birders through new field trips as well as the Christmas Bird Count and Migratory Bird Count. The latter has leaders in place for all 13 areas and will lead itself with the expert help of Alison Vaughn and Doug Miller. Have a great summer but keep watching the website for new events.

May field trip schedule

There will be no field trips during the first two weekends of May, due to potential conflicts with the Audubon Society of Missouri spring meeting May 5-6 and the Migratory Bird Count on May 12 (if you wish to take part in this and do not already have a group, contact Allison Vaughn as Laura Hillman will be out of town this year. There will be a work day at Wild Haven Nature Area (see below) on May 6 and field trips at other times (check the CAS events listing for complete information).

April 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 April 18, 2018. Please contact a board member with any questions.

  • The 2018/2019 budget was approved with minor changes from the past year.
  • The May Migratory Bird Count was discussed; some volunteers are still needed.
  • Property management: Neighbors of Wild Haven have raised concerns about trespassers on the property. CAS will communicate with those concerned and invite neighbors to the May picnic. Work days will be scheduled at Wild Haven to prepare for the picnic.
  • Education: CAS will lead several children’s programs at the Daniel Boone Regional Library on June 2nd and 9th along with an adult bird song program on July 12th. CAS is also looking into sponsoring area teacher attendance to an August workshop offered by the Missouri River Bird Observatory.
  • Field Trips: CAS has received requests to offer field trips at other times than Saturday mornings due to scheduling conflicts. Some field trips will be offered over the summer on alternative times or days to explore this possibility.
  • Columbia’s Fairview Elementary School is scheduled to become a nature school with place-based learning, starting with the 4th and 5th grades, in the fall of 2019. The school’s proximity to the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary was a factor in this choice and presents many new opportunities for CAS outreach.
  • CAS member Donna Brunet received approval from the board to begin work on an interactive learning app for CANS based on one that has been created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Look for more news about this opportunity over the summer.

April meeting recap

Approximately 25 people attended the April meeting, at which the proposed 2018-2019 CAS board was elected without dissent. Lorna & Henry Domke then discussed the history and management of Prairie Garden Trust and presented some of their lovely photography from the property. The subsequent field trip on a pleasant Saturday morning drew 20 people who collectively observed 52 species including a number of early warblers (eBird list here). Our thanks to the Domkes for their presentation and their hospitality.

Beginning birder event recap

On Sunday, April 29, a variety of CAS members gathered at the 3M Wetlands pavilion along the MKT Trails in south Columbia to offer guided beginner bird walks to all interested comers. Helped by gorgeous weather, the event was a pleasant success, with a number of new & interested people showing up to learn more about birds and birding from the CAS volunteers. Interesting sightings and experiences by different groups included various warblers and sparrows, a Cooper’s Hawk defending its territory against a Red-tailed Hawk, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers building a nest, and an otter sighting. Thanks to all who attended and volunteered.

“Dig In” event plants 200 trees at CANS

Tree planting at CANS, 2018

Planting new native trees to replace invasive honeysuckle at CANS in spring 2018. Photo by Bill Mees.

– by Bill Mees

The weather was more than perfect, if there is such a thing in Missouri. Volunteers started arriving at 9:00 a.m. for the second phase of the Columbia Audubon Society’s Adopt-a-Trail event. The first phase was removal of all the bush honeysuckle along the quarter mile segment of Scott’s Branch Trail adopted by CAS. The second phase was replacing the honeysuckle with four native Missouri species: Nannyberry, Rough-leaved Dogwood, Witchhazel, and Serviceberry, along with the Green Hawthorn brought by Isaac and his parents Lori and Frank Turner. Even neighbors Dana and Gary Simpson supplied needed water for each seedling. Jan Mees furnished glazed doughnuts and orange juice to fortify the workers. Quick as a wink, that’s 3 hours, over 200 seedlings were planted and watered. An MU journalism student documented the work as her final project for one of her classes. Thanks to all our workers: Laura Hillman; Kris Hagglund; John Besser; Cleo Kottiwitz; Kent Ford; Lori, Frank, and Isaac Turner; Jon Rapp; Jeff, Caleb, and Jensen Mees; Jan and Bill Mees.

Migration forecasts at BirdCast

Trying to decide how to maximize spring birding with limited time available? Check out the migration forecasts at the BirdCast website. These provide a three day outlook of migration intensity in map view for the United States. Real-time migration maps are available for each night based on data from radar. For more information, see this piece on how to use BirdCast or this news story in Science magazine about how and why BirdCast was developed.

Wild Haven Spring Cleanup, May 6 and May 13

On the next two Sunday afternoons, starting at 2:00 p.m. each day, we will be working at the Wild Haven Nature Area on O’Rear Road to get the area ready for our spring picnic on Wednesday, May 16.  Our goals for these workdays are:

  • Collect trash around the workshop building, put in bags, and take it to the landfill.
  • Burn two brush piles (if conditions permit).
  • Cut weeds and pick up fallen limbs around the picnic shelter and parking area.
  • Clean up picnic shelter: rake leaves and sweep tables and benches.
  • Walk hiking trails and clear fallen limbs.

If you can help on either of these days, bring tools such as rakes, leaf blowers, weed trimmers, and chainsaws.

Discussion resources for The Genius of Birds posted online

The March CAS book discussion of Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds featured a combination of group discussion and audio/visual information such as video clips of birds or events mentioned in the book and scientific information. We subsequently received a request for resources and ideas from a library in Massachusetts that was also holding a discussion of the same book, then heard from a local book group with the same request. Given this interest, with the board’s approval we’ve posted a summary of our discussion topics and resource links on the CAS site for use by other groups or individuals interested in reading/studying this fascinating book.

Summer hiatus

The Chat does not publish during June, July, or August. Although CAS will continue to update the website with summer events and field trips (several are planned), and reminder emails will still be sent to those who are subscribed to the relevant email lists, there will be no full newsletter or regular news postings during this time. The next edition of The Chat will come out on September 1st.

Supporting CAS

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.

Submitting material to The Chat

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.