2020–2021 CAS Election Announcement

On May 13, at our final meeting for the fiscal year, the CAS Board of Directors accepted a slate of nominees for the elected positions that will become vacant on June 1. The nominating committee, led by Nancy Bedan with the assistance of Jan Mees and Lori Hagglund, recommended the following candidates: Proposed Slate 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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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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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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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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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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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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Sightings: May through August 2019

The “Sightings” column is a new addition to The Chat, and one that I plan to make a regular feature. It will highlight a sampling of interesting bird observations made since the prior newsletter, with emphasis on the six-county region (Audrain, Boone, Cooper, Howard, Monroe, Randolph) served by the Columbia Audubon Society. If you see

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News & Notes, Summer 2019

– by John Besser, CAS President. Well, you can tell by the heat and humidity that it’s June, and for Columbia Audubon Society that means our fiscal year (FY2018) is over. At our meeting on May 15, the CAS Board of Directors took stock of our accomplishments and responsibilities at the end of the fiscal

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CANS Prairie Update

– by John Besser, CAS President. Yesterday, I paid a visit to the 15-acre prairie restoration project at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary, off Bray Avenue in West Columbia.  I think this is the fourth growing season for this project, and each year we see new plants reaching maturity. Three of the “new” species are

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CAS News & Notes for May 2019

Upcoming Events May birding is just too good to restrict to weekends, so early May has two weekday afternoon/evening field trips scheduled, one on Wednesday May 1 at Hinkson Creek and  another on Tuesday May 7 at Rocky Fork Lakes Conservation Area. The first weekend of May is the Audubon Society of Missouri (ASM) spring

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CAS 60th Anniversary Celebration a Success

-by Eric Reuter CAS celebrated its 60th birthday through a series of fun events during the last weekend of April, made possible by the hard work of committee chair Jan Mees and members Nancy Bedan, Lottie Bushmann, Lori Hagglund, Judy Lincoln, Doug Miller, Lori Turner, and Allison Vaughn. Friday reception Many CAS members convened at

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CAS News & Notes for April 2019

Upcoming events CAS has quite a few events planned this spring. April field trips will be heading to Grindstone Creek, Prairie Garden Trust, Schnabel Woods Natural Area, while May trips will include Hinkson Creek and Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary. April also features a  field trip/workshop on learning to record bird vocalizations and a variety of

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CAS Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary This April

-by Jan Mees What do April 26, 1785 and April 26, 2019 have in common? The former is the birth date of John James Aubudon, while the latter is the date Columbia Audubon Society is celebrating its 60 year anniversary! CAS members Nancy Bedan, Lottie Bushmann, Lori Hagglund, Judy Lincoln, Jan Mees, Doug Miller, Lori

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CAS is now an affiliate member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri

-by Bill Mees and John Besser Last month, the CAS board voted for our organization to become an affiliate member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM). This article provides some context for this decision. What is CFM? The mission of CFM is “to ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of

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CAS News & Notes for March 2019

Spring really is coming – By Eric Reuter Although central Missouri will experience temperatures ~30° below normal in the first week of March, watching birds reminds us that winter is on its way out. In just the past week here in northern Boone County, Joanna and I have observed tens of thousands of Snow Geese

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2018: A Record-Breaking Big Year of Birding in Missouri

By Brad Jacobs, CAS past-president and retired MDC ornithologist For bird-watchers, a Big Year is a personal challenge to find as many bird species as possible. In 1991, Tim Barksdale achieved a Big Year record of 314 bird species for the state of Missouri. Though there have been several attempts to break that record in the

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CAS News & Notes for February 2019

President’s Notebook: Looking ahead, honoring the past – By John Besser This especially wintry January has kept us away from many of our favorite outdoor pursuits, but it gives us a good opportunity to reflect on our past successes and to plan for the future. CoMoGives Rocks! The year 2018 ended on a very positive

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CoMoGives Donations Will Help CAS Programs Grow

– by Nancy Bedan, CAS CoMoGives Committee The Columbia Audubon Society received $9,405 in donations during the 2018 CoMoGives online fundraiser for community nonprofit organizations. Columbia Audubon will use the funds to maintain and expand its education and conservation programs in 2019. The CAS board plans to continue converting pasture land on the west side

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CAS News & Notes for January 2019

Many Thanks to Our CoMoGives Donors! -by Nancy Bedan, CAS CoMoGives Committee The 2018 CoMoGives fundraiser for area non-profit organizations ended at midnight Dec. 31; this was the fourth year of participation for Columbia Audubon. Although we won’t have final totals for the number of donors and dollars received until January, we are very grateful

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2018 Christmas Bird Count results in 93 species

-by Allison Vaughn December 15th was a chilly but clear and calm day for the 2018 Christmas Bird Count. Over 45 participants fanned out across the 15 mile radius to count birds. Although the birding conditions were mild with little wind, full sun, and bearable temperatures, many participants reported that the birds were not very

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Bird Watching in Chile

-by Joanna & Eric Reuter We recently had the good fortune to travel through the southern half of Chile, learning much about its ecosystems, history, and culture along the way. Though we mostly explored on our own using Chile’s excellent bus network and our own feet, a day spent with Raffaele Di Biase of the

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CAS News & Notes for December 2018

President’s notebook:Even December is Birding Season! — 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

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CoMoGives Fund Drive is Under Way

– by Nancy Bedan, CAS CoMoGives Committee Please Consider Making a Gift to Columbia Audubon Mid-Missouri residents can make donations to any of 122 nonprofit organizations through the 2018 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

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