Newsletter of the Columbia Audubon Society | April 2021 | Volume 63, Number 8
by Jim Gast, President
We have a three-year term board position to vote on . The only candidate is Greg Leonard, but you will be given an opportunity for a write-in candidate. Instead of voting at the April general meeting, we will be voting on-line and by regular mail.
On Monday, April 19th, those members who receive The Chat on-line will receive a link via email that will direct them to a ballot. The deadline to vote for these people is 11:59 PM on Friday, April 23rd.
For those members who still get The Chat via mail, a paper ballot will be mailed to you on Saturday, April 17th. The ballot must be postmarked on or before Friday, April 23rd to be counted.
Both options give you the opportunity to write-in a candidate. If you want to submit a write-in candidate, make sure that person is a member of Columbia Audubon Society and that the nominee is willing to serve.
Ethan Duke Discusses Bird Sounds and Songs for April Program
Please join us for our regular monthly membership meeting on Wednesday, April 21st, at 7:00 pm. via Zoom. (See calendar listing for the Zoom link.) Our friends at the Missouri River Bird Observatory will present another great program for us. This month, MRBO Co-Founder/Director Ethan Duke will be talking about “Bird Songs & Sounds” and sharing tips and useful tools for learning them. Ethan has extensive experience in research and monitoring of several species, including Pileated Woodpeckers, Veeries, and Cerulean Warblers. This program will be a great “prep session” for spring migration birding.
Canton Estates Subdivsion Planned for the Souteast Corner of Bearfield and Gans Roads
Because the property is adjacent to the Gans Creek Wild Area at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, the board voted to speak out against this development at the City Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council meetings.
The major concern is the development is too dense (113 units on 65 +/- acres including 104 houses on approximately 40 acres) and that the increase of impervious surfaces could lead to problems with stormwater run-off. Water running off the property would pick up mud and flow into the park and potentially into Gans Creek, which is an Outstanding State Resource Water. Clear-cutting all the trees and removing all the other vegetation during the preparation work also creates stormwater problems, especially during heavy rain events.
Other issues include an increase in traffic, noise pollution and light pollution, loss of habitat and the potential for non-native and invasive plants.
In case you missed Sarah Kendrick’s bird identification talk or want to see it again the URL is https://youtu.be/QSs7cFnnMFo. Over 150 people particiapated in the program. Thanks again to Lauren Williams and the Columbia Public Library for co-sponsoring this program..
On-line Ornithology Course
Professor emeritus Dan Tallman of Northern State University posted notes from his college-level ornithology class on-line at http://ornithologycourse.blogspot.com/2009/12/. The blog gives a general view of birds and birding.
by Lottie Bushmann
These Columbia Audubon Society field trips are co-sponsored with the Missouri Birding Society (MBS, formerly Audubon Society of Missouri) as events in the MBS 2-week Spring Meeting activities taking place around the state.
MBS, founded in 1901, is the independent statewide organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of birds and other wildlife; to education and appreciation of the natural world; and to effective wildlife and habitat conservation practices.
Many members of local Audubon chapters are also members of MBS as a means of meeting birders from other parts of the state, learning more about birds, and supporting services like Mobirds-L (the listserv), and conservation partnerships.
See the MBS website at https://mobirds.org/ASM/ on or after April 12 for additional information and to register as a participant for these field trips. Field trip and Zoom session registrations will not be activated until April 12. Scroll down the home page to see the information and register.
You do not have to be a member of CAS or MBS to go on the field trips or view the Zoom presentations for the MBS Spring Meeting.
All trips will require birders to wear masks and to socially distance as much as possible.
Saturday, May 1, 8:00-12:00
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Devil’s Icebox Parking lot
We will meet at the parking lot and divide into smaller groups and head out on various trails including: High Ridge Trail, Spring Brook Trail, the boardwalk, Sinkhole trail, Shooting Star and Karst Trail. We’ll bird until we’re ready to head back to the parking lot. We encourage folks to bring a bag chair and a sack lunch and share their birding stories when back at the lot.
Tuesday, May 4 8:00-12:00
Birding at CANS—Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary
We’ll walk and enjoy this special nature area right in the middle of Columbia. In addition to our resident birds, we’ll be on the lookout for migrating warblers. John Besser and Lottie Bushmann will lead. We’ll meet at the parking lot at 3607 Bray Ave. There are no restrooms available at this site. The walking is light to moderate–some paved trails and some natural trails.
Tuesday, May 11 8:00 – 12:00
Birding at 3M Wetlands
We’ll meet at the Forum Nature Area parking lot and walk to 3M. It is approximately 2 miles of walking on level trails. There should be lots to see and beginners are encouraged to attend. Lottie Bushmann will lead. In addition to our resident species, we’ll be on the lookout for migrating warblers and vireos. Restrooms are available at the parking lot. Wear shoes that may get wet (up to 2-3”).
Saturday, May 15 8:00-12:00
3M Wetland Bird Walk especially for beginners!
We’ll meet at the Forum Nature Area parking lot and walk to 3M. It is approximately 2 miles of walking on level trails. There should be lots to see and beginners are encouraged to attend. Edge Wade and Lottie Bushmann will lead. In addition to our resident species, we’ll be on the lookout for migrating warblers and vireos. Restrooms are available at the parking lot. Wear shoes that may get wet (up to 2-3”).
by John Besser
What’s in a name?
Bill Mees, Nature Areas Chair, wants to put a new name on an old building. The former ‘workshop’ at Wild Haven is now retired, empty, and surprisingly tidy! This structure was built by Lee Jenkins, who donated Wild Haven to CAS, and It dates from the 1960’s or perhaps earlier. It is of solid construction with concrete block walls and a metal roof. Bill has been thinking that CAS could find more uses for this building — perhaps school or scouting programs — and that finding a new name would be a good start. Please contact Bill with suggestions for a new name, or for new uses for this building!
Wild Haven spring cleanup was a big success!
Saturday, March 20 was the first day of spring, and a group of CAS volunteers spent the morning doing some spring cleaning at the Wild Haven nature area. We burned three of the brush piles remaining from the Autumn Olive removal project last fall, and in the process we burned or cleared almost all the remaining deadwood from the picnic area. We also bagged litter from along O’Rear Road. The area looks great! We had a great bunch of volunteers: Dave and Nancy Bedan, David and Jean Neely, Kevin and Jean Feltz, Jim and Cathy Huckins, Jon Rapp, Eric Wood, and Bill Mees. While we waited for the fires to burn down, many of us hiked own the yellow-marked Hinkson Creek trail and were rewarded with views of two exceptionally fluffy Great Horned Owl owlets. We also found some early wildflowers – Harbinger of Spring and Spring Beauties — an early taste of the spring wildflowers that will be on display for Roxie Campbell’s upcoming wildflower walk…
April Wild Haven field day: Guided wildflower hike (Sunday, April 11, 2-5 pm)
Enjoy the beauty of spring wildflowers in bloom as we walk the white and yellow trails (total distance of about 2 miles). We expect to see over a dozen species of wildflowers in bloom and it will be prime time to see the bluebells and trilliums. We’ll also become familiar with the trails, enjoy the scenery along Hinkson Creek and look for birds. Roxie Campbell (Naturalist at Rock Bridge State Park) will provide wildflower identification and information. Meet at the picnic shelter. COVID-19 guidelines will be followed – we will break into smaller groups if necessary.
May Wild Haven Field Day — Bird Walk: Sunday May 16, 8:30-11:30 AM, join us for a bird walk at Wild Haven. We’ll explore the varied habitats along Wild Haven‘s hiking trails. Songbird migration should be near its peak.
Wild Haven Picnic/Open House, Sunday May 22. We’re still planning this event, but we’d like to combine the traditional picnic with tours of the area for members and guests. Check out the progress we’ve made in the net past year: cleanup of the ’workshop’ building, habitat restoration work, hiking trail upgrades, and the reinforcement of the picnic shelter.
[Directions to Wild Haven (or just Google it: 6900 E. O’Rear Road): Take Route B north from US 63. Cross the RR tracks, then turn right on Brown Station Road. Continue on Brown Station past the first stop sign (Route HH), then take the next right turn onto O’Rear Road. After O’Rear turns to gravel and passes Sheridan Road, look for a clearing on the right, a gate, and a sign with the street number ‘6900’. The gate should be open, and you can park on the grass.]
by Brooke Widmar
House Joint Resolution 55 (HJR 55) “Modifies the conservation commission membership composition and requires the election of the commissioners.” The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is governed by a four-person Conservation Commission, made up of members appointed by the governor, each serving year-year terms. HJR 55 wants to change all that, bringing membership from four to nine, having those commissioners be elected instead of appointed, each representing different regions of the state. The Columbia Audubon Society board met on March 16th and voted to take a stance in opposition to this piece of legislation. MDC was created 85 years ago, and this apolitical setup has been a model for other states to either copy or envy. Each year there are a number of bills that aim to change the makeup of MDC, impact funding, or strip the constitutional authority of the commission. HJR 55 would create an imbalance on the commission with an uneven number of commissioners, eight representing the eight MDC regions, and one representing the state as a whole. The regions eight commissioners would represent are geographical regions and not organized by population, giving large regions unequal power and representation compared to the number of voters. Like many of the bills we see trying to attack MDC, they are trying to “solve” something that is not even a problem.
HJR 55 passed through the Conservation and Natural Resources committee earlier in March after the committee was packed last minute, in an unprecedented move by the Speaker of the House. It was referred to the Rules – Legislative Oversight committee, but was not heard and is currently not on any house calendar. If or when it makes it to the House floor, CAS members are encouraged to reach out to their representatives, find yours here: https://house.mo.gov/
Learn more about HJR 55:
– Conservation Federation of Missouri’s Legislative Action Center: https://www.confedmo.org/lac/#/30
by Douglas Miller
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:
The board approves that CAS publicly oppose HJR55.
The board approves CAS opposing the Canton Subdivision project as currently proposed.
The board approves providing up to $500 to support the Mizzou Botanic Garden event, on the understanding that our sponsorship would be highly visible.
April 21, 2021 | 7pm
May 1, 2021 | 8:00am-12:00pm
May 4, 2021 | 8:00am-12:00pm
May 11, 2021 | 8:00am-12:00pm
May 15, 2021 | 8:00am-12:00pm
Sunday, May 16, 2021 | 8:30-11:30am
May 22, 2021
Saturday, May 22, 2021 | TBD