Newsletter of the Columbia Audubon Society | September 2018 | Volume 61, Number 1
-by John Besser
Well, it’s time for me to take on the slightly prestigious but mostly thankless job of chapter president. Past President Laura Hillman was able to convince Bill Mees to take over as Vice President and program chair (a job I didn’t want), while I take over as president (a job Bill didn’t want). Thanks to Laura for finding this solution, just as she has found solutions for many other problems during her two terms as CAS President. Other changes in the board of directors this year include the invaluable Nancy Bedan taking on the role of secretary and Greg Leonard starting a three year term as board member with valuable fresh blood and new ideas.
My first message to the membership of Columbia Audubon Society is this: CAS is an awesome organization that does great work on behalf of birds and bird lovers! Our value to the community was recognized last spring when we received the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement Award in the area of Environmental Stewardship. This prize was a particular recognition of the success of the prairie restoration project at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary and Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary, but I think this is just one of many areas where CAS continues to outdo itself.
As we look forward to the coming year, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the many ways CAS meets the needs of our membership and our community:
John Besser, CAS President
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 August 29, 2018. Please contact a board member with any questions.
Although CAS normally takes a break over the summer, several events did take place. In early summer, Lottie Bushman held a kids’ program on bird song at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia that drew 15 attendees between the ages of 8 and 15; this culminated in a sound scavenger hunt within the library. Lisa Schenker did a program about basic bird ID with a similar attendance. On July 12th, Eric & Joanna Reuter held an hour-long Introduction to Bird Song program, drawing 47 people. On August 8th, an evening bird walk aimed at listening to bird vocalizations was held at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary, drawing 21 people on a steamy evening. On August 26th, a field trip to Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area drew 8 people in very dry conditions.
Last winter CAS hosted a well-attended book discussion of The Genius of Birds at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia; we’ll be repeating the event this winter on Wednesday, January 16th 2019. This time, we’ll focus on the 2014 book Welcome to Subirdia, in which Seattle-based author and researcher John M. Marzluff explores the surprising biological diversity supported by cities and towns and discusses how individual and collective decisions can help human landscapes become more tolerant of and integrated with the natural world. Read more at the official event listing and buy a copy, or check one out from the library.
This past spring, a new board was elected, featuring several new faces and several experienced folks changing their position. A full listing of all board members and committee chairs (including contact information) is available on the CAS website, but some board members submitted extra information about themselves to The Chat so that members could learn about more about their representatives:
President (and Wild Haven manager): John Besser
I grew up in western Wisconsin, where I developed an interest in birds and nature at an early age. I moved to Columbia in 1982 and eventually got a job at what is now the Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC, now part of the US Geological Survey) and have worked there ever since. My research focuses on understanding the effect of pollutants – especially toxic metals — on aquatic organisms. My wife, Cathy Richter, also works at CERC. We recently became empty-nesters, as our daughter Valerie went off to college in fall 2018.
I have been a member of CAS since about 1996. For most of this time, my involvement has been focused on management of our nature areas, particularly Wild Haven and the Albert Area. More recently I was part of the team behind the prairie restoration project at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary. Now that I am President, I look forward to getting more involved in CAS’s other initiatives and looking for ways we can use our talents and resources to make the Columbia and mid-Missouri a better place for birds and for people who enjoy nature.
Vice-President (and CANS manager): Bill Mees
Bill is now retired after 32 years as a pharmaceutical sales representative for Eli Lilly & Co, following a B.S. in Pharmacy from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Colorado. He moved to Columbia in 1973; he and his wife Jan have two sons and five grandchildren. He’s been a CAS member for 10 years; after retiring, he enrolled in two Osher bird watching classes taught by Bill Clark and Edge Wade and has accompanied them on Wednesday CACHE eBird trips ever since. He believes in the importance of CAS’s mission statement and the recent partnership with the Science Department of Columbia Public Schools. His most recent life bird was a Red-necked Phalarope seen at Eagle Bluffs CA on August 26, 2018.
Secretary: Nancy Bedan
Nancy has been a member of CAS since moving to Columbia in 1998. She has worked in the publications, communications, and strategic planning fields. She loves all things “nature” and outdoors, such as birds, plants, hiking, gardening, and biking.
Treasurer: Eric Seaman
One of the three Erics has been the Treasurer since 2007 and an active member in CAS since 2003. His day job is one of austere glamour in municipal sewage at Jefferson City. He and his wife, Denice Adkins, live in Columbia. This Eric has never seen the creature known as “bigfoot”, but has talked to several people who believe they have.
Past President (and bird counts): Laura Hillman
Third-year member: Lori Turner
Second-year member (and field trips): Eric Wood
I started birding with my mother in the summer of 2008 and started birding on my own quickly thereafter. I joined CAS in the fall of 2008 and have been a Board Member and Field Trip Coordinator for two years. Birds have always been my primary interest but I’ve recently expanded to other interests such as butterflies and have come to realize that these interests are really just an excuse to get out and walk in the woods and to enjoy and view nature.
First-year member: Greg Leonard
I have been birding since 2003 but got more serious about it once I started using eBird in 2012. My favorite birds are warblers. I serve on the Audubon Society of Missouri board and have just started service on the CAS board as well. I sometimes lead field trips for CAS and try to make it to most of the meetings. I hope to meet more members this year.
Communications chair (and bird counts): Allison Vaughn
Web Editor (and membership): Doug Miller
News Editor: Eric Reuter
The third Eric has a background in earth science and education, becoming interested in birding while wooing his future wife Joanna back in 2004. After working for the National Park Service, then running a diversified organic farm for many years with Joanna, he now works as a scientific editor for international researchers with a focus on geoinformatics, climate and environmental studies, and sustainability. Editing, publishing, and writing for The Chat are a natural outlet for his interests in education and communication. He and Joanna also enjoy leading CAS field trips and other educational programs aimed at encouraging interest in birding, ecology, and earth science.
Social Media: Kevin Wehner
Outreach/Education: Lottie Bushmann and Lisa Schenker
I (Lottie) am a 1st grade teacher and love being involved with Audubon because I feel passionate about reaching children and families about nature and particularly birds. I take every opportunity I can to educate my 1st graders about nature, in particular about animals and the balance of nature and how important it is. I feel it is never too young to reach them. I feel CAS shares this mission and passion.
Below is a draft list of programs being planned by Vice President Bill Mees for the coming year. Some may be subject to change; all will be posted as official events on the CAS website once details have been confirmed. Contact Bill with any questions.
September 16 (Sunday): Picnic at Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary shelter (4:00-8:00 p.m.: 4:00-5:00 socializing, 5:00 dinner, after-dinner bird/prairie walk).
October 17 (Wednesday): Allison Vaughn—Birding Missouri State Parks (Unitarian Universalist Church, 7:00-8:00 p.m.)
November 14 (Wednesday): Brad Jacobs—Hawks and Difficult IDs (Unitarian Universalist Church, 7:00-8:00 p.m.) Note: second Wednesday of month due to Thanksgiving.
December 15 (Saturday): Christmas Bird Count and Chili Supper (Community of Christ Church, Fairview Rd)
January 16 (Wednesday): Eric & Joanna Reuter—Book Discussion of Welcome to Subirdia (Columbia Public Library, 7:00-8:00 p.m.)
February 20 (Wednesday): Charles Nilon, Ph.D.—Impact of Urbanization on Wildlife (Unitarian Universalist Church, 7:00-8:00 p.m.)
March 20 (Wednesday): Carl Gerhardt—History of Eagle Bluffs CA and Photos of Its Rarest Birds. (Unitarian Universalist Church, 7:00-8:00 p.m.)
Later programs TBD.
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.
– by Shelby Thomas
I am sixteen years old, a junior at Hickman High School, and have been birding since 2015. After watching the movie The Big Year, about a year-long birding competition, I decided to look in our backyard to see what birds were outside. I saw a bird that wasn’t like our usual backyard birds fly to the top of a tree. I Googled its characteristics and discovered that it was a Great-crested Flycatcher! I was amazed that such unique birds could be in Missouri. Since then, I have been looking for new birds to add to my life list. I enjoy birding because it gets me out in nature and has taken me to places I would not have gone to otherwise, such as Wakulla Springs, Florida; Boulder, Colorado; and Port Aransas, Texas.
I enjoyed the Wakulla Springs Boat Tour where I saw neat wildlife, including alligators, manatees, and birds including the White Ibis and lots of herons and egrets. Nearby, we saw Seaside Sparrows, Clapper Rails and a Black Skimmer! In Boulder, we had fun hiking in the mountains, which brought a variety of birds including Virginia’s Warblers, American Dippers, and Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds. There were a lot of birding opportunities in Port Aransas; we even watched Roseate Spoonbills feeding in a little wetlands area in front of our hotel! I also enjoy keeping track of the birds I’ve seen through eBird and challenging myself to see more birds each year. Currently, my favorite birds are the Ruddy Turnstone and the Rufous Hummingbird. My favorite places to bird in Boone County are Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area and the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary because both offer a variety of birds throughout most of the year.
– Editor’s note: this essay is based on a presentation given by Shelby at the spring 2018 Audubon Society of Missouri meeting, which focused on young birders.
The statewide Audubon Society of Missouri will be hosting its annual fall meeting in Columbia this year, a rare change from its usual location at Lake of the Ozarks. This is a great chance for Columbia-area birders to take part in this major event so close to home. The meeting features field trips, speakers, a banquet, and many opportunities to meet and interact with bird enthusiasts from around the state while learning more about birding. Learn more and register at the ASM website; basic details are listed below:
Dates: September 28–30 (Friday through Sunday), 2018
Base location: Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center, Columbia, MO. Events include:
Field trip destinations:
Tuesday, October 2nd | 8:00 a.m.
Sunday, October 14th | 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 17th | 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 20th
Carpool departs from Moser's (4840 Rangeline St.) at 7:50 a.m.
Saturday, November 10th | 9 a.m. until noon
We’ll carpool from the AC Commuter Parking Lot at 8:20 a.m. The lot is on the southeast corner of the AC exit off Hwy 63 on Lenoir St.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 | 7:00-8:00 p.m.