Newsletter of the Columbia Audubon Society | December 2023 | Volume 66, Number 4

Fri. Dec. 1, 2023

Note from the President

by Lori Turner, President

Last year at this time, I wrote about a Columbia resident that had 2 Rufous Hummingbirds at their feeder. As far as I know, that didn’t happen again this year. But, we do have a Limpkin, and as of November 29th it’s still present at Twin Lakes Recreation Area off of off Chapel Hill!
It was first reported to the CAS’ president email on November 9th. I was a day late responding to Dorothy Pittman’s email, reporting a “Speckled Limpkin” at Twin Lakes. She gave a description that described, “…a speckled bird at the edge of Twin Lakes. It was carrying a large clam… It then spent at least 5 minutes hammering on it with it’s beak, and trying to maneuver and open it before giving up…” She took some photos from afar and I asked if she could send them to me. She knew it was something unusual for this park as she has been visiting the park for many years. Wow, it sure did look like a Limpkin but I was skeptical until I found out that multiple people were reporting it on MOBIRDS, which is a listserv maintained by Missouri Birding Society, where Missouri birders can email sightings for anyone subscribed to see.
Dorothy was very excited to learn that she was one of the first people to see the rare bird, so rare that it’s the first known sighting in Boone County. Out of all the places it could be in Boone County, it’s foraging and roosting right next to a dog park!
Dorothy added, “When I was a child I always hugely preferred looking for bugs, birds, fish, turtles….anything that moved….more than playing on the playground. I am now 80 and still go poking around any nature area I can get to, watching everything that moves. So after loitering thusly around Twin Lakes for so many years, and in every season, I was sure that the Limpkin was an unusual bird to be seeing there!” It was indeed, Dorothy and so glad you were able to witness!
If you would like to try to see it in person, it has been foraging along the entire shoreline of the lake, according to Paul McKenzie. He said it roosts in a few specific areas as well. Many people have reported it near the dock and pavilion. You can visit CAS’ Facebook page for excellent photos and check out eBird checklists for where it’s been sighted.
It goes without saying but I’m saying it anyway, keep your distance. This bird is not in its normal range and most likely stressed (especially with all the dogs barking 😉 )
Though I didn’t go searching for the Limpkin myself, I wrote this to point out that you don’t have to be an experienced birder to recognize something that is unusual like this Limpkin, you just need to have a love of nature and get out there and be observant of the natural world around you. Anyone reading this already knows that.

P.S. There’s a Ruby-throated Hummingbird still hanging out in Columbia too!

Love to you all and happy holidays!

Fri. Dec. 1, 2023

Light My Fire: Prescribed Burn at CANS Prairie

by Bill Mees, Nature Areas Committee

The weather is colder. Grasses, wildflowers and forbs are turning brown and drying out. A small dusting of the “white stuff” confirms it. It might be time to conduct a prescribed fire. That is the future for the prairie at Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary.

Columbia Audubon Society has contracted with John Timmermann who specializes in conducting prescribed burns. He has prepared the formal burn plan and contacted Columbia’s Fire Department for their review and final approval. This past spring, John conducted the burn on the Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary prairie.

A work session last month found volunteers raking debris from the newly cleared firelines, shown here. Although leaves continue to fall from the surrounding trees, a quick once over with a leaf blower will clear the remaining litter. The strategically located fire lines combined with appropriate humidity, wind speed/direction and moisture will prevent the fire from escaping.

It is only natural to be concerned about fire. At some point in our lives, we were told not to play with matches, lest we start a fire. The south boundary of CANS is literally adjacent to neighboring homes. Setting a prescribed fire necessitates educational signage (see photo) to inform and allay any concerns.

The final step is the hardest: waiting for the exact right weather conditions to conform with the approved burn plan. If you want to help, volunteers will be needed to prevent walkers/bicyclists from using a portion of Scott’s Branch Trail during the burn. The burn will take approximately 2-3 hours. Interested? Call Bill at (573) 445-7781.

Fri. Dec. 1, 2023

CoMoGives Underway!

by Allison Vaughn

CoMoGives officially began on Giving Tuesday – November 28th and runs through December 31st. We are excited to be part of this annual online fundraising drive once again that helps local nonprofits raise money to help our community.
In 2022, 117 donors contributed over $11,000 to CAS through CoMoGives. Our goal during this year’s campaign drive is $10,000. CoMoGives is the only fundraising effort for CAS.
CAS is proud to be an all-volunteer organization and the donations made help send students and teachers to nature camps, supports habitat improvements and programs to assist in research and citizen science projects.
Please visit the CoMoGives website at to make your online donation.
Things to remember:
• The minimum gift is $10.
• You can make a gift in honor or memory of a friend or loved one.
• Each donor receives an email with a tax-usable receipt.
• Donating through CoMoGives is a tax-saving option for Qualified IRA Holders.

If you prefer to support CAS but are not comfortable with online giving, you can make check payable to Columbia Audubon Society and mail to:
Columbia Audubon Society
P.O. Box 1331
Columbia, MO 65205

Your participation, in any amount is greatly appreciated!

The CAS CoMoGives Committee wants to wish you and yours a very happy and healthy holiday season,

John Besser, Lori Turner, Kevin Wehner, Allison Vaughn

Fri. Dec. 1, 2023

Christmas Bird Count and Chili Supper: December 16

by Lottie Bushmann

CBC (Christmas Bird Count) and Chili Potluck, Saturday, Dec. 16th.

With all our section leaders in place for this year, the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a go! Thankfully, birding is a safe, outdoor activity and we have plenty of birders in Columbia that plan to do just that. We will send out our teams on Saturday Dec. 16th. Please contact your section leader if you have worked with someone in the past to get details for your job. If you haven’t participated recently (or are a newbie!) please email me at and we’ll get you on a team. All experience levels are welcome.
• Columbia Audubon has a strong tradition with participation in this amazing citizen scientist project. Plan to use safe practices if riding in a car.
• We’ll use ebird to compile our data as well as a count during the Chili Supper. Simply share your ebird lists from the day with the username: casbirddata.
• Not interested in going out to bird but would like your feeder birds included in the count? If your home is within our 16 mile count circle, you can submit an ebird list and share it with casbirddata. If you’re not sure if your home is in the area, email me and I’ll help you figure it out. Not an ebird user? You can still participate by emailing me a list of your yardbirds and I can submit an ebird list on your behalf. This is another fun way to become involved and make your birds count.
• We’ll top off the day at 5:30 with a chili supper at Fairview Community of Christ Church, 1111 S. Fairview Rd., where participants can chat about their day and share stories. We’ll look at species totals and see how this year stacks up against previous years. The Chili Supper is potluck. We need contributions of chili, bread, veggies and desserts. If you weren’t able to sign-up to bring a contribution, you can email Judy Lincoln at to find out what we still need to round out our dinner.

LOOK FOR CBC RESULTS in the January CHAT newsletter.
QUESTIONS? Ask John Besser ( or Lottie Bushmann (

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

Second Saturday Birding: Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary

Saturday, December 9, 2023 | 9:00 a.m.

Christmas Bird Count and Chili Supper, Saturday, December 16

Saturday December 16 | All day

First Day Hike at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Monday, January 1, 2024

First Friday Bird Hike: 3M Wetlands

Friday, January 5, 2024 | 8:00 a.m.

Second Saturday Birding: Three Creeks Conservation Area

Saturday, January 13, 2024 | 1:00 p.m.

Self-guided moss walk: Wild Haven Nature Area

Date/time of your choice

First Friday Bird Hike: 3M Wetlands

Friday, February 2, 2024 | 8:00 a.m.

Second Saturday Birding

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Great Backyard Bird Count Feeder Crawl

Saturday, February 17, 2024 | 9:00 a.m.

First Friday Bird Hike: 3M Wetlands

Friday, March 1, 2024 | 8:00 a.m.

Second Saturday Birding (leader needed)

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Heron Rookery Count at Gans Creek Recreation Area

Friday, March 15, 2024 | 8:00 a.m.

First Friday Bird Hike: 3M Wetlands

Friday, April 5, 2024 | 8:00 a.m.

Second Saturday Birding: Rudolf Bennitt Conservation Area

Saturday, April 13, 2024

First Friday Bird Hike: 3M Wetlands

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