Newsletter of the Columbia Audubon Society | Summer 2021

Thu. May. 27, 2021

Boone County Migratory Bird Count Results- May 8, 2021

by John Besser

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected just about everything Columbia Audubon Society  has done over  the past year, but we have fought to maintain some of our traditions, including the Boone County-wide bird count held on the traditional ‘Big Day’, the second Saturday in May.

Our ability to conduct this count during the pandemic has a lot to do with the availability of eBird, which allows numerous teams of socially-distanced birders to share their checklists with the chapter’s eBird database, ‘casbirddata’. Once the data is in this account, it is pretty simple to download all the data for the count day and tally up the species and total numbers of birds seen countywide or in each count areas. Now that the count data is compiled, CAS has our own archived digital version of the data, and all the data is still available to Ebird users,.

Table 1. Summarizes the results of the 2021 count. We received 92 checklists from 14 count areas, representing 141 party-hours in the field. Our species total was 183, with a total count of almost 19,000 birds.

The most impressive feature of the species list is undoubtedly the 30 Warbler species, which includes species that often seen in central Missouri, including Cape May Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, and Swainson’s warbler. Also impressive were the 13 species of shorebird and 11 species each of waterfowl, sparrows and flycatchers. On the other hand, it’s disappointing to see only a single Eastern Whip-poor-will reported from Boone County.

The number of species observed in each county area varied widely depending on quality of habitat in the level of count efforts. The two areas of the highest species count were 10A, which includes Eagle Bluffs (135 species), and area (117 species), which includes most of the heavily birded City of Columbia. I’ve attached a spreadsheet that lists the species seen in each of the count areas.  So check out the total for your area, and think about what species may have been missed and where to find them during the next Boone County migration count!

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this count happen

Species Count
NAME COUNT
Snow Goose 1
Canada Goose 599
Goose sp. 1
Mute Swan 3
Wood Duck 52
Blue-winged Teal 718
Northern Shoveler 11
Gadwall 4
American Wigeon 6
Mallard 98
Green-winged Teal 2
Ring-necked Duck 1
Duck sp. 6
Northern Bobwhite 8
Wild Turkey 26
Pied-billed Grebe 3
Rock Pigeon 29
Eur. Collared-Dove 13
Mourning Dove 209
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 14
Common Nighthawk 2
Chuck-will’s-widow 3
E. Whip-poor-will 1
Chimney Swift 21
Ruby-thr. Hummingbird 40
Virginia Rail 3
Sora 49
American Coot 135
Semipalmated Plover 10
Killdeer 37
Dunlin 8
Baird’s Sandpiper 1
Least Sandpiper 300
Wh-rumped Sandpiper 133
Pectoral Sandpiper 491
Semipalm. Sandpiper 37
Wilson’s Phalarope 8
Spotted Sandpiper 39
Solitary Sandpiper 5
Greater Yellowlegs 14
Lesser Yellowlegs 421
Gull sp. 5
Black Tern 1
Dbl-crested Cormorant 31
American Bittern 2
Great Blue Heron 227
Great Egret 180
Snowy Egret 1
Cattle Egret 2
Green Heron 4
Turkey Vulture 618
Mississippi Kite 1
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper’s Hawk 3
Bald Eagle 19
Red-shouldered Hawk 28
Broad-winged Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 42
Buteo sp. 1
hawk sp. 1
Great Horned Owl 3
Barred Owl 7
Belted Kingfisher 4
Ylw-bellied Sapsucker 4
R-headed Woodpecker 74
R-bellied Woodpecker 131
Downy Woodpecker 71
Hairy Woodpecker 10
Pileated Woodpecker 28
Northern Flicker 11
American Kestrel 6
Peregrine Falcon 8
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 64
Acadian Flycatcher 17
Alder Flycatcher 4
Willow Flycatcher 4
Least Flycatcher 49
Empidonax sp. 8
Eastern Phoebe 49
Gr. Crested Flycatcher 149
Western Kingbird 3
Eastern Kingbird 110
Scis. tailed Flycatcher 3
Flycatcher sp. 6
White-eyed Vireo 51
Bell’s Vireo 8
Ylw-throated Vireo 30
Blue-headed Vireo 13
Philadelphia Vireo 3
Warbling Vireo 66
Red-eyed Vireo 114
Vireo sp. 1
Blue Jay 201
American Crow 172
Fish Crow 55
Crow sp. 1
Blk-capped Chickadee 118
Tufted Titmouse 252
Horned Lark 19
N R-winged Swallow 149
Purple Martin 30
Tree Swallow 231
Bank Swallow 420
Barn Swallow 680
Cliff Swallow 921
Swallow sp. 2300
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 19
Re-breasted Nuthatch 1
Wh.-breasted Nuthatch 43
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 166
House Wren 34
Sedge Wren 1
Marsh Wren 34
Carolina Wren 35
European Starling 410
Gray Catbird 55
Brown Thrasher 33
Northern Mockingbird 7
Eastern Bluebird 69
Veery 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush 8
Swainson’s Thrush 181
Hermit Thrush 1
Wood Thrush 33
American Robin 388
Cedar Waxwing 1
House Sparrow 171
House Finch 39
Pine Siskin 56
American Goldfinch 279
Chipping Sparrow 63
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Field Sparrow 69
Lark Sparrow 20
Wh-crowned Sparrow 194
Harris’s Sparrow 1
Wh-throated Sparrow 90
Savannah Sparrow 34
Song Sparrow 29
Lincoln’s Sparrow 9
Swamp Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 41
Sparrow sp. 4
Yellow-breasted Chat 41
Ylw-headed Blackbird 6
Bobolink 219
Eastern Meadowlark 91
Orchard Oriole 31
Baltimore Oriole 110
Red-winged Blackbird 1125
Br-headed Cowbird 273
Common Grackle 327
Great-tailed Grackle 5
Blackbird sp. 125
Ovenbird 10
Worm-eating Warbler 3
Louisiana Waterthrush 25
Northern Waterthrush 27
Golden-winged Warbler 9
Blue-winged Warbler 7
Black & white Warbler 22
Prothonotary Warbler 32
Swainson’s Warbler 2
Tennessee Warbler 78
Nashville Warbler 66
Connecticut Warbler 1
Mourning Warbler 1
Kentucky Warbler 34
Common Yellowthroat 163
American Redstart 59
Cape May Warbler 2
Northern Parula 120
Magnolia Warbler 16
Blackburnian Warbler 6
Yellow Warbler 108
Chestnut-sided Warbler 29
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 16
Pine Warbler 1
Ylw-rumped Warbler 29
Ylw-throated Warbler 19
Prairie Warbler 3
Blk-thr. Green Warbler 13
Wilson’s Warbler 7
Warbler sp. 3
Summer Tanager 68
Scarlet Tanager 6
Northern Cardinal 634
Rose-br. Grosbeak 68
Blue Grosbeak 12
Indigo Bunting 421
Dickcissel 201
Sun. May. 23, 2021

Nature Area Notes

by John Besser

NATURE AREA NOTES, May 2021

Progress at Wild Haven

It’s been a busy year at Wild Haven, Columbia Audubon’s largest nature area. All the work that has been put into the area really shows, and we hope it will achieve our goal of making the area more welcoming and increasing public use of the area. Improvements over the last year have been many, including:

  • Leveling and reinforcing the roof of the picnic shelter and mounting the historic ‘Wild Haven’ sign on the gable end
  • Demolishing the decrepit ‘Boy Scout shelter’ near the picnic area
  • Clearing, rerouting, and marking the yellow, white, and orange hiking trails
  • Demolishing the fallen footbridge and repurposing the lumber into many Leopold benches installed around the trail network
  • Removing Autumn Olive from much of the area surrounding the picnic shelter
  • Regular mowing of trails and open areas around the picnic shelter

But that’s not all. In the last few weeks significant additional improvements have been made:

New parking area. Most noticeably, Bill Mees, David Neely, and Wild Haven neighbor Riley Nichols constructed a new parking area at the main gate at wild Haven. This feature was constructed of sections of telephone poles sunk into the ground and cabled together with repurposed electric power line. Now Wild Haven visitors will be able to park their cars off the dusty road without having to have a key to open the gate.

New entrance sign. The ancient and unstable sign over the Wild Haven gate has been moved and a new, highly professional welcome sign has been built and installed near the parking area by Bill Mees.

New trail segment. Last week, several volunteers spent a few hours re-opening ¼-mile segment of hiking trail that loops around the large pond on the east end of the wild Haven property. This trail segment starts near the workshop building and ends onto O’Rear Road. This segment has been cleared to allow easy access to the scenic and bird-rich habitats around the pond, but it is still a work in progress, and we plan to connect the end of this trail to the orange trail on the north side of the road.

Wild Haven Pond

Drop by any time you want to spent some time in a peaceful, bird-rich natural environment.

 Wild Haven Bird Walk, May 16

Common Yellowthroat

Eight people joined me for a bird walk at Wild Haven last Sunday. Although we did not see our target birds — the black-crowned night heron and black-billed cuckoo seen a few days earlier — the area was full of migrating birds and bird song. We walked the new trail around the east pond, then we followed he white loop trail to connect with the yellow trail, which we followed further south along Hinkson Creek. We found a total of 51 species, including 13 warblers. A single Canada Warbler was probably the highlight. It was great to bird as a group again, something that most of us have not done much in the previous year.

All photos by John Besser except for the Common Yellowthroat, which was taken by Jon Rapp

New Wild Haven Parking Area

Wild Haven Birding Hike

Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great summer!

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.

Membership

  • 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.

Conservation

  • 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


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