Newsletter of the Columbia Audubon Society | April 2021 | Volume 63, Number 8

Thu. Apr. 1, 2021

Note from the President

by Jim Gast, President

April Election

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.

 March Program

In case you missed Sarah Kendrick’s bird identification talk or want to see it again the URL is 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 The blog gives a general view of birds and birding.

Thu. Apr. 1, 2021

Upcoming Fieldtrips, Joint Fieldtrips with Missouri Birding Society in May!

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 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”).

Thu. Apr. 1, 2021

Nature Area Notes

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.

Looking ahead:

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.]
Thu. Apr. 1, 2021

Legislative Action: Note from the Conservation Chair

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:

Learn more about HJR 55:

– Conservation Federation of Missouri’s Legislative Action Center:

– Columbia Daily Tribune:

– The Joplin Globe:

Thu. Apr. 1, 2021

CAS Board Meeting Highlights for March 16, 2021

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:

Nominating Committee

  • Brooke Widmar reports that no additional nominations for Director have been received. An e-mail election will be held in April. Brooke will create a Google form for members to cast their vote; notice of the procedure will be in the next Chat.


  • Shelby Thomas reports that so far there have been no responses to the proposed revised membership levels. On a related note, the Bylaws committee is considering instituting an honorary membership that does not include the right to cast votes; also possibly specifying that a “Family” membership would include exactly two votes. Considering the previous Family level was twice the Individual level minus a discount, a revised Family amount might be somewhere in the $40–$45 range.

Nature Areas

  • Bill Mees reports John Besser and Jim Gast met with deputy sheriff Eli Norwood at Wild Haven to discuss vandalism. (The plexiglass pin board was damaged, in addition to the other incidents of theft and vandalism in the past.) Recommendations included (solar) motion-activated lights, “no trespassing” signs, and encouraging more public visitation. Bill’s contact number has been given to the police dispatcher to help keep us more easily informed of suspicious activity at the nature area.
  • Bill has called the Missouri One Call System in preparation for beginning the parking area project at Wild Haven. Another work session has been scheduled to continue burning brush piles and to pick up litter.
  • Bill reports a meeting with Mike Snyder of Columbia Parks & Recreation, Allison Vaughn, Jim Gast and John Besser regarding prescribed fire at Bonnie View and CANS. Parks is in favor of a fire project; they’re looking for a contractor to conduct the burn on both park and CAS property. We’re targeting a burn in November or December 2021.
  • Bill reports that hardware for the CANS interpretive panel has arrived. Jim Gast, John Besser and Allison Vaughn approved the installation site. The panel design is complete; all photos were from CAS members.
  • Bill and Mike Szydlowski (Columbia Public Schools science coordinator) spoke with a Fairview Elementary 3rd grade class about their plans to create a prairie.
  • A Mizzou journalism student conducted an interview with Bill at CANS that resulted in a 90-second “audio postcard” broadcast on KBIA.
  • Bill is proposing a new Wild Haven sign to replace the old one, possibly constructed of cedar boards with cut-out letters screwed on, affixed to two posts; such a design could cost as much as $400 in materials. The placement of the new sign is still being contemplated.

Outreach and Education

  • Lottie Bushmann will escort a Cub Scout pack to CANS one evening in April.
  • Jim Gast will be presenting a program for the Centralia Garden Club.
  • Lottie has not yet met with Mike regarding possible alternatives to Hog Island for teacher education.


  • Brooke Widmar reports the Prescribed Fire legislation has passed through hearings in the Missouri House and Senate; it’s being prepared for a floor vote.
  • Another pending bill, HJR55, would modify the structure of the Missouri Conservation Commission. Bill Mees asked if there was a consensus that CAS should go on the record opposing the legislation. There was. Brooke will monitor the bill; we will have a statement prepared for local representatives in case the proposed legislation successfully passes out of committee.

The board approves that CAS publicly oppose HJR55.

Canton Subdivision

  • Jim Gast reports on a proposed high-intensity 65-acre development of 113 homes next to Rock Bridge Memorial Park. This location borders the Gans Creek Wild Area, separated only by the oil/gas pipelines. Nancy Bedan suggests that CAS come out on record opposing the proposal and designate representatives to testify at city meetings. Jim Gast will draft talking points for the board to review; Jim and/or Brooke will represent CAS at city meetings; the talking points will go into the April chat to encourage members to contact city representatives.

The board approves CAS opposing the Canton Subdivision project as currently proposed.

Spring Missouri Birding Society meeting

  • Lottie Bushmann reports on upcoming joint CAS/MBS field trips as part of the MBS spring meeting in late April and early May. These will be socially-distanced, masked, small groups at Rock Bridge Memorial Park. Doug Tallamy will present a program about native plants as part of the main MBS meeting.

Sponsoring Noah Strycker

  • Nancy reports on an event that CAS might help sponsor: a talk by noted birder Noah Strycker at a Mizzou Botanic Garden event in October. The program would be free and open to the public. Nancy proposes using up to $500 of the CoMoGives windfall to help underwrite the event; the Missouri Birding Society may also provide funding. In exchange for the financial support, we are asking for prominent mention as a sponsor. It is hoped such a sponsorship will provide greater exposure and forge stronger connections to people associated with Mizzou. The event is still in the early stages of planning, and MBG has not requested a specific amount.

The board approves providing up to $500 to support the Mizzou Botanic Garden event, on the understanding that our sponsorship would be highly visible.

2021–2022 Budget

  • Jim Gast reports that he and Eric Seaman are working on next year’s CAS budget. They are requesting that board members submit any proposed changes before the April board meeting. The budget will be approved at the May board meeting.

Columbia Audubon Society is supported in part by a generous contribution from

2010 Chapel Plaza Court, Suite C • Columbia, MO 65203 • 573-446-5941

Upcoming Events

April Meeting: Bird Songs and Sounds with Ethan Duke of MRBO

April 21, 2021 | 7pm

Fieldtrip with Missouri Birding Society-Rock Bridge Memorial SP

May 1, 2021 | 8:00am-12:00pm

Joint Field Trip with MBS: Birding at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary

May 4, 2021 | 8:00am-12:00pm

Joint Field Trip with MBS: 3M Wetlands

May 11, 2021 | 8:00am-12:00pm

Joint Field Trip with MBS: 3M Wetlands-Great for Beginners!

May 15, 2021 | 8:00am-12:00pm

Wild Haven Bird Walk: Sunday May 16, 8:30-11:30 am

Sunday, May 16, 2021 | 8:30-11:30am

May Meeting: Picnic at Wild Haven! (Hopefully)

May 22, 2021

Wild Haven Picnic/Open House: May 22

Saturday, May 22, 2021 | TBD