Newsletter of the Columbia Audubon Society | Summer 2023

Wed. May. 17, 2023

Boone County Migratory Bird Count Results

by John Besser, Nature Areas Committee

Boone County, Missouri, birders have maintained the tradition of a spring migration count, although no state or national migration count currently exists. This countywide effort, which takes place on the traditional Big Day (second-Saturday in May), is an opportunity for many birders in the area to team up to find and count birds in their designated part of the county. There are currently 15 designated count areas in Boone County, and many of these areas have sizable teams of counters. It all amounts to substantial effort and a thorough snapshot of the birds in Boone County during the peak of Spring migration.

As we are in the era of eBird, checklists from all these groups birding are shared, and the overall number of species and numbers of individuals of each species are easily determined using the eBird ‘Trip List’ feature. Barring any late submissions, it looks like our 2023 species total is 162, compiled from a total of 81 checklists.  The is the lowest total for the last five years, with totals for the previous 4 years ranging  from 169 to 183.

Remarkably, 16 of the 81 checklists had unique species not reported elsewhere on the count. Some of these special sightings included Upland Sandpiper, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Chuck-Wills-Widow, Mourning and Canada warblers, and Henslow’s Sparrow. Eagle Bluffs had nine unique species of shorebirds, plus Peregrine Falcon, Black Tern, and American bittern.

To explore the entire species list, the total counts for each species, and the locations they were found, follow this link to open the eBird trip report:

Thu. May. 11, 2023

Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area Updates

by Missouri Department of Conservation

In a recent meeting with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia Audubon learned that Eagle Bluffs CA will be providing regular updates on the status of the pumps. MDC has provided CAS and MBS with a lot of information that can be found in the link. See here

Mon. May. 1, 2023

Note from the President

by Lori Turner, President

I’m sorry if you had to miss our April presentation, Forest Park Owls: Hiding in Plain Site. Those in attendance listened as Mark H.X. Glenshaw told stories from his 18 years of studying the pair of Great Horned Owls in Forest Park that he lovingly named Charlie and Sarah. I don’t want to give any spoilers so I’ll just say that he covered how he found the pair and what they’ve been up to since 2005. If you plan a trip to St. Louis it will be worth your time to schedule an Owl Prowl with him at Forest Park. You can email him at to see if he’s available.

Please join us May 21st from 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm for our CAS picnic at Kiwanis Park, West Side Odor Shelter.  We’ll go birding at Kiwanis Park beforehand, and then get together for dinner. CAS will provide plastic ware and plates and soda, but otherwise it’s a BYOB. If you want to make this a green event, bring your own flatware and dishes. It’s a potluck, so bring food to share with our friends.

See you there!!

Mon. May. 1, 2023

Nature Areas Notes

by John Besser, Nature Areas Committee


Signature white oak at Wild Haven Nature Sanctuary


Lots of activity at the two primary nature sanctuaries, CANS and Wild Haven. If you haven’t been out lately, wildflowers and migration are in full swing!

At Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary (CANS):

  • We have been watching the emergence of various seedlings on the west side of the creek, which was seeded in winter 2021. The first new species to bloom in this area this spring was Indian Paintbrush.

    Deer exclosure at CANS

  • Bill Mees recently installed two 9-foot deer exclosures on the east and west sides of CANS. Comparing vegetation growth inside and outside of these exclosures will give us a better idea of the impacts of deer browsing on plants in the nature sanctuary.
  • A second honeybee hive was installed in the west side of CANS by Fred Durenberger, who has maintained the hive on the side for several years.


At Wild Haven Nature Area:

  • Area manager David Neely cleared vegetation around the chimney swift tower to make the structure more attractive for nesting swifts. He also reinstalled the plaque on the tower, which recognizes the many years of volunteer work by former manager Harold Anderson. David has also taken the lead on cleaning up several old dump sites on the property. But there is still more work to be done, so look for an announcement of an upcoming workday.
  • Anemones on the trail at Wild Haven

    A spring bird and wildflower walk on April 22 attracted 12 participants in spite of the cold and blustery weather. Bird highlights included a Yellow-throated Vireo, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Yellow-throated Warbler. We also found many spring wildflowers, including Trillium, Dogtooth Violet, Bellwort, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and Virginia bluebells.

  • Joanna Reuter has been working on new maps of Wild Haven. The first map here is designed as a large-format (11×17 inch) color map of the area showing topography, structures, and trails. This map has been completed and laminated versions have been installed in all the visitor kiosks at Wild Haven. The second map, still in preparation, will be a small-format, black-and-white map of the trail system for use by hikers. These maps will complement the on-line guide  to the new on-line guide to the Moss Trail, produced by Louise Flenner.
  • Hinkson Creek frontage at Wild Haven Nature Sanctuary

    A Stream Team of home-schooled students and parents (led by Sarah Davis) recently sampled Scotts Branch Creek at CANS and Hinkson Creek at Wild Haven. They plan to continue spring and fall sampling of water and aquatic invertebrates at these sites to characterize water quality. This team contributes their data to the network that compiles data from of sampling sites statewide.

Mon. May. 1, 2023

Details for the Migratory Bird Count May 13

by John Besser and Lottie Bushmann

Columbia Audubon Society will continue its tradition of doing a Boone County-wide Bird Count on the second Saturday of May). Our count will be held on the same day the ‘Global Big Day’ promoted by eBird, and all the data from the Boone County count will be entered into eBird, so participants will be able to compare their lists with other Big Day birders.

We divide Boone County into smaller count areas (see map) and area leaders recruit birders to help cover their area. Most of the leaders from previous years will be participating, but there may be a vacancy for an area leader and there is always room for more help in one of the count areas. If you’re interested in participating, please contact Lottie Bushman (

We will compile the number of species and the total number of birds Boone County data using eBird:

  • Submit one or more checklists to eBird
  • Use ‘checklist comments’ to indicate your count area
  • Share each checklist with the Columbia Audubon Society’s eBird account (username ’casbirddata’) or email (
  • For questions about eBird, contact John Besser (
  • NAMC areas


Mon. May. 1, 2023

Council House construction continues at Nature School

by Bill Mees

The March issue of The CHAT informed you that construction had begun on the Boone County Nature School’s Council House.  At that time, the ground had been leveled and concrete forms identified the outline of the yet-to-be poured concrete floor.

Today, there is more progress to report.  Photos taken April 26 show the structure nearing completion.  Cedar shake shingles arrived on the 25th with installation commencing the following day.  The stadium seating is now being built.  Each piece of wood is individually measured, cut to size, and screwed into place.  All of the lumber is cedar which should withstand the whims of Missouri’s ever-changing weather.

The photos show the ground surrounding the Council House has been graded and seeded.  The shore line of the adjacent pond has been cleared of brushy invasive species.  The pond is now more visible from the Council House and trees now have a chance to grow with less competition.

It’s exciting to imagine the completed structure filled with students enjoying programs around the campfire.

Inside the construction of the Council House

Council House construction continues

Mon. May. 1, 2023

April Meeting Minutes-April 19

by Louise Flenner, Secretary

Columbia Audubon Society

Board of Directors Meeting

April 19, 2023

 Meeting conducted at Unitarian Universalist Church

Present: Lori Turner, Louise Flenner, Judy Lincoln, Eric Seaman, Lottie Bushmann, Jim Gast, John Besser, Shelby Thomas, Bill Mees

Time called to order: 6:05 pm

Treasurer’s Report

Eric Seaman reports the Community foundation is one month behind in releasing funds. Full treasurer’s report was sent to Board members via email.

An updated proposed budget for next year has been shared with Board members.  Some funds added to Hog Island grants for teachers.

Nature Areas

Bill Mees reports another new beehive on CANS property. Current hive made it through the winter. Two new deer exclosures, 12’ x12’ x7’ have been put up. The pollinator panel is getting a second edit. DigRite has approved the hole digging spot.

Bill reports they hosted Moberly Area community college class at CANS on April 18.

Sarah Kendrick is looking for Chimney Swift Towers to monitor. She met with Bill Mees and David Neely. She recommended 60 feet of clearance around the existing chimney swift tower at Wild Haven. This work has been done and the sign acknowledging the donation of the tower has been refurbished and installed.

Work on the future prairie continues and it should be seeded this winter.

Riley Nichols is going to start mowing at Wild Haven.

John Besser reports he is working with Joanna Reuter to get laminated maps for the kiosks. He is also working on a Wild Haven trail map with her.

David Neely is working on the dump sites at Wild Haven and plans to get a dumpster to haul off the junk. A work day will be set up some time in the next few weeks.

Stream team will be coming out sometime in the future to Wild Haven to take samples from Hinkson Creek.

Field trip is scheduled for Sat. April 22 at Wild Haven.


Deadline for the Chat is April 28

Allison Vaughn has been contacted by a reporter from VOX who would like to talk with someone from CAS about how people are turning to Birding to be more in touch with nature. She would like someone to volunteer for this.

Field Trips

Still need a co-leader for the May 10 Kiwanis Field Trip.

Lottie is going to get with Songbird Station to offer Saturday field trips during the summer at 3M. Lottie will contact Joanna and Eric Rueter about scheduling this activity.

Lottie will lead a birding walk at PGT on May 6.


CAS sent a letter of support for Alternative A for the Environmental Assessment for wetland mitigation at Swan Lake NWR. A vote was taken via email with the Board. Allison made the motion and Eric Wood seconded. We had 7 votes. John modified the letter from MoBCI, written by Allison, and Lori sent it in the mail on 4/6/23.

Lori brought up the need for a Conservation Chair to keep CAS aware of these initiatives and follow up with comments and support. This became even more clear during the round table discussion she attended with several other Audubon chapters. She suggests keeping Roxie Campbell on the nominating committee to seek someone who would like to be Conservation Chair.


Lottie Bushmann and Lisa Schenker are scheduled to do a program at Cooper’s Landing as part of Missouri River Relief’s event called Mornings at the River.

The Migratory Bird Count is scheduled for May 13. Counts are calculated using ebird checklists. A reminder email about using ebird will be sent out. If anyone wants to be on a team, contact Lottie.

Nominating Committee

Eric Wood agreed to stay on the Board for a three year term. The membership will vote on this at tonight’s meeting.

Reed Gerdes agreed to be board member at large to replace Kevin Wehner.


Old Business

Lori Turner attended a Round table with several Audubon chapters. They want to write a letter to State Senators to support Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). The group talked about collaborating with other Audubon chapters to facilitate letters of support.


New Business

The UU Church has informed CAS that they will need the room we currently use for meetings starting in September. They have offered an alternative site in the basement. Lori Turner presented a suggestion of a meeting room at Boone Electric.  CAS could give Boone Electric $100 to reserve the room in case we choose it and make it a donation if we don’t use it. The Board will continue to pursue possible alternative sites.

The Board discussed Como Gives. It has become a time consuming job to participate in this activity. Suggestions included scaling back the advertising to make it easier. Send out emails to request donations, but forgo the post card mailings. The advantages of having a presence among the not-for-profit organizations that participate and also the opportunity it affords people to support CAS, along with the funds raised were presented as reasons to continue with the program.

Jim Gast moves CAS continue to participate in Como Gives, John Besser seconds the motion. The motion carries.

Next activity is the CAS picnic on May 21st at Kiwanis Park pavilion.

Columbia Audubon Society

General Membership Meeting

April 19, 2023

 Time called to order: 7:00 p.m.

Lori Turner welcomed the members. The members voted in favor of Eric Wood being the Board Member at Large for the next three years.

Judy Lincoln introduced Mark H.X.Glenshaw who is an award-winning naturalist who has closely observed and documented the lives of Great Horned Owls in Forest Park, St. Louis. Mark’s talk, Forest Park Owls:Hiding in Plain Sight, covered basic facts about the species and made use of amazing video that captured the behavior of these birds.

Meeting adjourned: 8:30 p.m.

Members gathered for snacks and socializing following the 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

First Friday Bird Hike: 3M Wetlands

Friday, June 2, 2023 | 8:00 a.m.

Summer Saturday at 3M Wetlands

Saturday June 10, 2023 | 8:00 a.m.

First Friday Bird Hike: 3M Wetlands

Friday, July 7, 2023 | 8:00 a.m.

Summer Saturday at 3M Wetlands

Saturday July 15, 2023 | 8:00 a.m.

First Friday Bird Hike: 3M Wetlands

Friday, August 4, 2023 | 8:00 a.m.

Self-guided moss walk: Wild Haven Nature Area

Date/time of your choice