Newsletter of the Columbia Audubon Society | April 2024 | Volume 66, Number 8

Mon. Apr. 1, 2024

Note from the President

by Lori Turner, President

Notice of Election


Pursuant to Article IV D section 2 of the bylaws, notice is given of an election for candidates for the board of directors to be held at the general meeting on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.  The meeting starts at 7:00 PM and will be held in the Amp room of the Boone Electric Community Building at 1413 Rangeline St.

The candidates for office are:

Lottie Bushmann            President

Emma Buckingham       Vice President

Vicki Park                      Secretary

Eric Seaman                   Treasurer

Greg Leonard                  Director

Before the election, nominations will be taken from the floor.  There must be a quorum of 20 members for any election to take place.

Mon. Apr. 1, 2024

Meet the CAS Board Candidates!

by New Officer Candidates

At the April 17th membership meeting, members will vote on our new slate of candidates. Here’s a little information about the three new officers!

President, Lottie Bushmann:

“I came to birding later in life. My spark bird was a Cedar Waxwing. A flock flew into my yard and in that moment when I first laid eyes on one, I have wondered what other birds I had been missing and the course of my life was changed. This Audubon group sent me to Hog Island where I had a life changing experience. It changed the way I understood the world and gave me permission as a teacher to help my first graders see the world through birds and by extension all of nature. I’ve also met so many wonderful folks through birding. During Covid I took to birding every day at the 3M Wetlands here in Columbia. I really love the intimacy of knowing a place so well that you figure out where the local birds hang out and nest from year to year. Come to a First Friday walk sometime and I’ll show you too. When I’m not birding I’m likely working on a knitting project, weaving on one of my looms, reading a good book or working on my yard.”

Vice President, Emma Buckingham:

Emma is a faculty member in the Department of Classics, Archaeology, and Religion at the University of Missouri. Her primary expertise lies in classical archaeology, but from the age of five, she’s nurtured an interest in birding. This hobby began in the neighborhoods of Houston, Texas, where she grew up, and was fostered in the Rio Grande Valley where her grandmother lived. Emma’s passion for birding has taken her to many bird hotspots both internationally and within the US. For a time, she even competed in the Great Texas Birding Classic. Aside from birding, Emma engages in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities during her leisure time, including fencing, running, hiking, caving, and cycling, among others. Her favorite birding spot in central Missouri is the Turkey Pen Hollow Trail at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, and her favorite bird is the Lammergeier.

Secretary, Vickie Park:

“In 2019 I retired from a thrilling, fast paced and meaningful career as an Emergency Medicine physician.  I then rather suddenly and quite inexplicably dove head first into the magical world of birding.  Although I have had a lifelong interest in science and nature, I have never been a morning person.  Come to find out, the wee morning hours are prime time for birding.  My favorite color is white.  Quickly followed by hot pink and peacock blue.  Not birding colors, as I have been more than once told.  And rather unfortunately, my unique skin microbiome is a hefty magnet to mosquitoes, stinging insects and ticks. To which I am highly allergic.  Birding makes no sense for me.  And yet, I am fully and completely captivated.”


Mon. Apr. 1, 2024

Spring Birding and Other Events

by Joanna and Eric Reuter, Field Trip Coordinators

February 10, 2024 field trip at Woodpecker Hollow.

Spring brings lots of opportunities for birding and other outdoors fun. Check the CAS events listing for details of upcoming field trips; additional trips will likely be added for peak migration season in late April and early May. If you’d like to lead a trip, or if you have an idea for one, let us know:

Some last-minute trips are a possibility, especially if the BirdCast migration forecast looks promising a few days out. If you haven’t already,  sign up for the email list so that late-breaking announcements of new trips will come to your inbox.

Here are some additional events that might be of interest to CAS members, though they’re not official CAS events:

Monday webinars: The Missouri River Bird Observatory (MRBO) hosted an exceptional collection of webinars this winter, and they are continuing their online learning series with four webinars in April. Visit the MRBO Webinar webpage to sign up for the upcoming webinars, and to find links to the archived Winter Learning Series webinars, all of which are available for free online viewing.

Monday April 8: Solar eclipse. Whatever your eclipse viewing plans, be sure to stay attentive to changes in the soundscape of birds, insects, and amphibians during the big event!

Saturday April 13: Native Plant Sale at Bradford Research Center. This overlaps with the CAS Second Saturday walk, but there’s another chance at a local plant sale in May.

Sunday April 21: Columbia Earth Day Festival.

Saturday April 27: Birds, Bees, and Blooms Festival in Arrow Rock. Bird walks, wild edibles walks, and much more!

Friday May 3 to Sunday May 5: The Missouri Birding Society’s Spring Meeting is based in St. Joseph this year.

Saturday May 11, Birding Big Day: The second Saturday in May is Global Big Day, a worldwide birding event sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. There won’t be a CAS “Second Saturday” trip, because this is the traditional date of the CAS-sponsored Migratory Bird Count for Boone County; look for details to be posted to the website. Another May 11 event is the annual bird walk at Prairie Garden Trust, a wonderful nature-watching destination in Callaway County; this walk will be led by Lottie Bushman, and advance registration through Prairie Garden Trust is required. For registration information, and to learn about other nature walks, see the Prairie Garden Trust events calendar.

Saturday May 18: Native Plant Sale at Bass Pro Shops.

Cicada emergence: The cicadas are coming! Their emergence will have a variety of impacts on the ecosystem. For example, many species of birds are expected to feast on the abundance of insect protein, and this could affect the consumption and abundance of other “normal” food sources. There’s a citizen science project for reporting observations of bird foraging during the outbreak.

Thanks to all who have led and participated in field trips so far this year. Let’s hope for some sensible weather and a great migration that ushers lots of long-distance migrants through central Missouri this spring!

Mon. Apr. 1, 2024

2023 Hog Island Scholarship Recipient reflects on her Experience

by Hannah Vonder Haar

Hannah Vonder Haar was a 2023 Columbia Audubon Society scholarship winner and attended Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine last summer. She has worked as an educator in different capacities for 15 years. She has served as an art integration specialist, an adjunct professor, a faculty supervisor for pre service teachers, an elementary classroom teacher and is presently in her 3rd year as an art teacher at West Boulevard Elementary. This year she was the 2024 Columbia Fund for Academic Excellence Outstanding Educator in a Specialized Area Winner.

“I’ve learned in the woods that there is no such thing as random. Everything is steeped in meaning, colored by relationships, one thing with another.” ~Robin Wall Kimmerer

After a full day of travel that began in the wee early hours of the morning, I finally landed at the airport in Maine, only to continue the journey through tornado warnings in an hour long taxi ride, a 30 minute walk through a torrential downpour and finally a ferry ride across the bay with several other passengers. I wondered if I had made a mistake signing up for the Nature Educator Week in Hog Island, Maine.  As we unloaded our gear and were greeted by smiling faces, the calm following the storm revealed a quaint island that looked out over a sparkling ocean. There is something magical about the immediate shift of energy that I felt as I took in the ocean air. In nature, activity is followed by a period of rest and paralleled with my journey, the challenge of my arrival was followed by a transformative experience that has enriched my teaching practices in numerous ways. During my week at Hog Island, I gained valuable insights and techniques to incorporate the wonders of nature into my classroom curriculum.

One of the highlights of the Nature Educator Week was learning photography techniques that capture the beauty of nature in a session led by North Seattle College Professor, Khav Debbs. He began by asking us the age old teacher question, “What is your why?” but applied it to photography. For me the power of nature, slowing down, changing perspective and enjoying the process are at the heart of my love of photography. My love for nature is rooted in the beauty and the connectedness that exists in the natural world and being able to capture something that is fleeting makes it all the more powerful.

After exploring our why and sharing some apps, we set out to independently traverse the island and find moments to capture. I later learned that in addition to a love of photography Khav and I both have a vast knowledge of mycology and he asked me to join him in leading a session later in the week to share my expertise and passion.

My next session at Hog Island emphasized the importance of recording observations and reflections in nature through Journaling. This practice encourages mindfulness and connection with the environment while providing inspiration for artistic creations. Specifically in our session we used sound mapping. This skill set requires the participant to sit quietly outside and make observations of sight and sound. Following careful observation you create a directional map that showcases all of the sounds you hear around you. This is a great way to encourage students to slow down and really get in touch with their spaces and places.

I begin every one of my art classes with a waterfall on the smartboard and some quiet meditation and breathing to help my students and myself get regulated and have the mental clarity to have a successful artistic practice. I was very excited to see that my next session would be titled Breathwork for Kids. This session led by Kayla Carrington shared new ways to frame breathing practice that I have since incorporated into my art room. Her session reaffirmed my belief that mindfulness and breathing can help educators encourage focus, emotional well-being and resilience among students.

The sessions led by group leaders were informative and transformative, but truly connecting with fellow educators that appreciate the value of nature is what made the week so incredibly special. The food was all prepared locally with a farm to table mentality and every bite was to die for. One evening was spent observing what we named, the Squid Squad, which was a colorful night viewing of seals twisting and turning in the bay as they looked for a bioluminescent dinner. One afternoon was a boat ride out to observe real life precious PUFFINS! And the session on mycology that I ended up co-teaching ended with me showing fellow teachers how to identify mushrooms and create a spore print.

While there was an entire week of laughter and connection with teachers from across the United States, one of the final and most important sessions was an open and honest “fishbowl” discussion about Community Based Environmental Learning through DEI. DEI or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are not always at the heart of place based learning conversations, but as spoken by Robin Wall Kimmerer, “there is no such thing as random” and I do believe I was meant to be part of the powerful conversations that were had and know that connecting with these fellow educators and bringing it back to my places and spaces will create opportunities to make necessary change in our schools.


Mon. Apr. 1, 2024

Hog Island Audubon Camp Award Winners Announced

by Lisa Schenker, Education Committee

The Columbia Audubon Society is happy to announce the recipients of our summer scholarship for educators! The winners will attend a week long summer ecology or ornithology workshop at the National Audubon Society Camp on Hog Island in Maine. Each award covers tuition, room, and board for an intensive multi-day course of field study and instruction in ornithology, ecology, and nature education. This year’s winners are Joe Brown, Boone County’s Nature School lead teacher; Hilary Myers, 8th grade science teacher at West Middle School; and Ragan Webb, Elementary Science Curriculum Coordinator for Columbia Public Schools.

Mon. Apr. 1, 2024

Wild Haven’s New Amenities

by Bill Mees, Nature Areas Committee

Wild Haven Nature Area is 103 acres located at 6900 O’Rear Road.  This impressive property includes a nearly mile long stretch of Perche Creek enjoyed by visitors who hike the Yellow trail.  The four well marked trails branch across the property’s different habitats, each offering different hiking experiences.

The work of Columbia Audubon’s volunteers continues to improve the property’s amenities.  Each improvement offering a more welcoming adventure.  Recently another acre was restored to native grassland, and the re-graveled parking lot assures easier parking.  New maps add to the confidence of first-time visitors to explore and appreciate nature.

The latest improvement is a new and much improved toilet facility (a.k.a. outhouse).   Over the past two years the nature area has been without a toilet.  Originally there were two toilets but their condition had deteriorated and the final coup de grâce was delivered by a falling tree.

Newly constructed outhouse at Wild Haven

Spring’s bird migration and scheduled field trips prompted David Neely and Bill Mees to build a new structure.  The attached photos will give you an idea of what is now available.  We hope this will encourage you to visit the property even if you don’t feel the urge to use the new amenity.

eBird reports for Wild Haven Nature Area are always appreciated.


Mon. Apr. 1, 2024

Invitation from Burroughs Audubon Society to join Webinars

by Burroughs Audubon Society

Columbia Audubon members were recently invited to tune into Burroughs Audubon Society’s monthly meetings and presentations. These are free webinars that may be of interest! You need to register in advance to get the link to the webinar, which you can do here: General Meetings < Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City

Prothonotary Warblers: Swamp Candles in the Midwest

Tuesday, April 16 on ZOOM – 6:30 p.m. Presentation by Ann Tanner, Master Naturalist, who will give an overview of Prothonotary Warblers from a scientific and personal perspective. She will describe the birds’ population trends, range and migration pathways, and ongoing work by Johnson County K-State Master Naturalists and citizen scientists to install nesting boxes in Prothonotary Warbler habitat in eastern Kansas. We invite Missouri citizen scientists to join us in this work. The program will be loaded with photos and personal stories of interactions with these beautiful birds. Ann will also detail plans to band and place nanotags on Prothonotary Warblers in 2024 to track their migratory travels. ZOOM meeting link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Warbler Identification

Tuesday, May 21 on ZOOM – 6:30 p.m. Presentation by Morgan Wyatt of the Missouri Department of Conservation. Migrating warblers are a highlight of every birder’s spring season. They’re gorgeous and entertaining to watch, but often frustrating to identify. ZOOM meeting link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Mon. Apr. 1, 2024

Draft Meeting Minutes: Board meeting March 20

by Louise Flenner, Secretary

Columbia Audubon Society

Board of Directors Meeting

March 20, 2024

 Meeting conducted at Boone Electric Cooperative Community Room

Present: Lori Turner, John Besser, Judy Lincoln, Eric Seaman, Eric Wood, Shelby Thomas, Reed Gerdes, Greg Leonard, Louise Flenner

Time called to order: 6:04 pm.

Previous Minutes

One Correction was made in the spelling of Dave Neelys name, corrected from Nealy to Neely.

Judy Lincoln moves we accept the February 2024 minutes with correction. John Besser seconds the motion. The motion carries.

Treasurer’s report:

Eric reports $2000 from last year’s budget will carry over to next year for Wild Haven invasive species control.

$21,165 is the proposed budget for 2024. Vote to approve the budget will be taken at the April meeting.

Nature Areas:

*John showed the Board some pictures of the new outhouse at Wild Haven. Bill Mees and Dave Neely did a wonderful job with this project.

*There is some concern about vandalism at Wild Haven. Particularly now that we are investing more time and money into upgrading it.

*There will be a meeting of John Besser, Bill Mees, and Dave Neely to discuss the future use of Wild Haven.

*There is a birding field trip planned  at Wild Haven on March 23. John is planning a Field Trip at Wild Haven in early June.

*Bill has reported that the original bee colony at CANS died and there will be an effort to set up a new one there, however,  the new hive located on the West side is still active.

*Lori wonders if we could contact Scouts, 4H or local Colleges about service projects.


Allison got an email asking if we wanted to advertise in BoomTown.  Full page is $995, ¼ page is $275 per year. Board discussed having an ad. Will check with Allison to see if she wants to do this.


Shelby says nothing new to report. 97 members. Membership expires in August.

Field Trips:

Slow Birding trip is scheduled at Wild Haven on March 23.

Upcoming trips not yet scheduled include a trip to Rudolf Bennitt State Wildlife Area and Judy Lincoln plans to have a trip to see Chuck-will’s-widow and whip-poor-will at Finger Lakes State Park.


Tonight is a program on invasive species removal.

May 19 will be the annual picnic. It will be a potluck with CAS providing drinks and plasticware, table cloth. Wild Haven will be the location. Eat at 6:00. Birding walk beforehand at 3:00.

September, October and November meetings will be held at Boone Electric.


A Home Schooler event is planned for May 2 at 9:30 at the 3M nature area. Lottie and Lisa requested help with this event. Contact Lottie to volunteer.

Nominating Committee:

No new candidates have been identified since the last meeting. A vote for candidates will take place at the next meeting on April 17 at Boone Electric.

Eric Wood moved we adjourn. Judy Lincoln seconded the motion. Motion carries.

Meeting adjourned at 6:49.

Respectfully submitted by

Louise Flenner

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

Membership Meeting: “Banding Hummingbirds their natural history” by Veronica Mecko and Josh Potter

Wednesday April 17, 2024 | 7:00 PM

April Membership Meeting: Hummingbird Banding, HumGroup and Related Projects

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 | 7:00pm

First Friday Bird Hike: 3M Wetlands

Friday, May 3, 2024 | 8:00 a.m.

Self-guided moss walk: Wild Haven Nature Area

Date/time of your choice

Kiwanis Park: Birding Without Bush Honeysuckle

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 | 7:00 a.m.

May Membership Picnic and Potluck

Sunday, May 19, 2024 | 3:00-7:00 PM