Note from the President

Happy New Year and welcome to 2021. One of the things my wife and I have been doing on New Year’s Day is recording the first bird we see of the year. Sometimes it’s a challenge. In 2018,  the temperature was -7° F when we started our feeder count. The first bird we saw was

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Columbia’s 2020 Christmas Bird Count is a Success!

Saturday, December 19 dawned clear and sunny, providing a lift for the dozens of birders who rose early to participate in the CAS Christmas Bird Count. Unfortunately, the day soon turned overcast, humid, and cold, making the day difficult  for both birds and birders. Despite the unpleasant weather, eBird checklists rolled in steadily throughout the

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CAS Board Meeting Highlights for December 16, 2020

Upon review and board approval, final meeting minutes are posted to the Minutes page. Following are highlights of the unapproved minutes from the last meeting: Motus Tower The Missouri Department of Conservation sign shop will manufacture the memorial plaque for the Brad Jacobs Memorial Motus Tower with funding from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. Nature

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Activism for Bird Conservation

Start off the new year speaking up for birds, and take actions to stay informed on state, national, and global issues! According to the National Audubon Society, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to over 200 bird species. While this refuge is almost 3,000 miles away from us here in Missouri, it’s critical land

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Note from the President

I hope all is going well with you and that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. December promises to be a busy month with the CoMoGives campaign starting on December 1st and the Christmas Bird Count on December 19th. Instead of our usually chili tallying supper we’ll be having a ZOOM meeting to discuss the day’s birding.

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ComoGives Campaign Begins Dec. 1

CoMoGives officially begins December 1, 2020. This online platform provides 142 nonprofit groups, including Columbia Audubon Society, an opportunity to raise funds for their organizations. In 2019, 90 donors contributed over $10,000 to CAS through CoMoGives. Our goal for the 2020 campaign is $10,000. CoMoGives is the only fundraising effort for CAS. CAS is proud

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20201219

Christmas Bird Count Details

All Day

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly everything we do during 2020, and the Christmas Bird Count is no exception. Given the risks associated with face-to-face gatherings, The National Audubon Society has given local chapters like CAS the freedom to decide whether to conduct their local count or not. There is a strong sentiment among the

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In Memoriam: Francis Garland Russell, Jr.

On Thursday November 19, 2020, Columbia Audubon Society lost a true friend, Francis Garland Russell, Jr. If you’ve walked the trail on the west side of Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary you have probably seen Garland’s house, just beyond the cedar lined fence row.  The land we call Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary was donated to us

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Nature Areas Update

Anyone who owns property knows there is always something to do, whether it is mowing, weeding, or picking up sticks. As the owner of Columbia Audubon Wild Haven and Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary, it’s the same for the Columbia Audubon Society (CAS) At your house you call them weeds. At CAS they’re called invasives. Several

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CAS Board Meeting Highlights for November 17, 2020

Upon review and board approval, final meeting minutes are posted to the Minutes page. Following are highlights of the unapproved minutes from the last meeting: Motus Tower update So far $1235 has been donated to the Brad Jacobs Memorial Motus Tower, with the remainder being supplied by CAS. Jim Gast has sent thank-you notes to

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News and Notes

November Zoom Program Features Mike Powell with the Greenbelt Land Trust Please join us via Zoom for our next membership meeting and program at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, Nov. 18th. Mike Powell, Executive Director of the Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri, will provide an update on Greenbelt projects, help us understand how land trusts work,

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Welcome to our new Membership Chair and Conservation Chair!

I’m Shelby Thomas, and I am the new Membership Chair. I am currently a freshman in college taking classes at Moberly Area Community College (MACC). I have not yet decided on a major. I began birding in about 2015 and joined Columbia Audubon Society soon after. I have enjoyed getting to know a lot of

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Wild Haven Bush Honeysuckle Hack

We enjoyed a beautiful day and hike of about 1.3 miles one-way to reach the south end of the yellow trail that dead ends at a rocky section of Hinkson Creek.  Our target was on the other side of the creek – a patch of bush honeysuckle (BH) I had spotted three years ago when

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Missouri Birding Society joint fieldtrip with CAS

On Saturday, September 26, there was a joint field trip to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park along with the Missouri Birding Society (formerly ASM). In all, 24 birders including 5 leaders showed up to cover the trails at the Devil’s Icebox parking lot, as well as the Gans Creek and Karst trails. We ended up

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CAS Open House at the Nature School

Twenty-plus Columbia Audubon members attended the Open House at the Boone County Nature School site on Saturday, Oct. 17. Mike Szydlowski and Ragan Webb from Columbia Public Schools and Brian Flowers with the Missouri Department of Conservation led walking tours of the site and provided an update on various aspects of the project along the

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Christmas Bird Count during a Pandemic

Scheduled for December 19, the 2020 Christmas Bird Count- like every other event we have sponsored during the pandemic- will look a little different. We will go forward with the count, but will not host the Chili Supper for compilation. We will send out details soon regarding data collection and compilation. The National Audubon Society

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CAS Participating in CoMoGives Dec. 1-31

Columbia Audubon Society will be participating in the annual CoMoGives community fundraising campaign for area non-profit organizations. The online giving campaign is coordinated by the Community Foundation of Central Missouri. CAS has participated in the CoMoGives annual community fund drive for five years. This is the only fundraising done to benefit the efforts of Columbia

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Vote for the Birds!

  Didn’t think you could have a newsletter this close to Election Day without a reminder to vote, did you? Things to know about voting in Boone County: In-person absentee voting is available at the county clerk’s office (801 E. Walnut) until 5:00 p.m. November 2nd, vote inside in room 236 or utilize the outdoor

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Note from the President

I hope you got out and birded during the beautiful September weather. Fall can be difficult time for me to identify species. A lot of birds are quiet and have a different color than in the spring. I’ve trained myself to look for motion in trees, but the falling leaves can distract me from finding

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Birding Update for Eagle Bluffs

My name is Brady Lichtenberg and I am a wildlife biologist for MDC, and the area manager of Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area. I earned my BS in fisheries and wildlife sciences in 2016. I have been an employee of MDC since 2012, and have been at Eagle Bluffs since 2016. As many of you know,

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Columbia Audubon Society’s Wild Haven Nature Area- A quiet place to see more than birds

On 3 Sep. 2020, following the advice and directions from CAS member John Besser, I went to Wild Haven Nature Area to look for birds and butterflies. It was a very pleasant morning when I arrived at 9:30 and mostly quiet except for the calls of a few local permanent resident bird species. I was

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CAS Board Meeting Highlights for August 19, 2020

Full minutes may be found at: http://www.columbia-audubon.org/meeting-minutes-for-august-19-2020/ Nature Areas David and Jean Neely, Bill Mees and John Besser have finished repairing the Wild Haven shelter. Roxie Campbell has also joined in helping to clear the trails at Wild Haven and placing additional markers to make the trails easier to follow. David Neely, John Besser, Bill

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Conservation Federation Legislative Portal Available

The Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) has been the “Voice for Missouri Outdoors” for the last 85 years. They house the newly redesigned Legislative Action Center (LAC) where Missourians can make an account to learn who their legislators are, stay up to date on conservation-related legislation, and have the opportunity to easily contact their elected

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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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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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CAS Board meeting highlights for June 17, 2020

Complete minutes of this meeting may be found at http://www.columbia-audubon.org/meeting-minutes-for-june-17-2020. Financial Issues CAS had provided the Columbia Public School District with student scholarships for summer programs that have since been canceled due to COVID-19. Lisa Shenker has been in touch with CPS Science Coordinator Mike Szydlowski regarding the disposition of these funds. Lottie Bushmann, Lisa

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CAS Board meeting highlights for July 15, 2020

Complete minutes of this meeting may be found at http://www.columbia-audubon.org/meeting-minutes-for-july-15-2020/. Audit Committee Members of the Audit Committee will be Greg Leonard, Jean Leonatti and Eric Seaman Conservation Chair Brooke Widmar responded to Jim’s e-mail looking for a Conservation chair. She is the Director of Administrative Operations of the Missouri Prairie Foundation and the representative for

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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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