by Jim Gast

Happy New Year and welcome to 2021. One of the things my wife and I have been doing on New Year’s Day is recording the first bird we see of the year. Sometimes it’s a challenge. In 2018,  the temperature was -7° F when we started our feeder count. The first bird we saw was a Mourning Dove.  I wonder what our first bird will be this year.

Speaking of Mourning Doves, I saw a street sign for “Morning Dove Dr.” off South Rolling Hills Road and had to chuckle.

January Meeting Focuses on Grassland Birds 

Join us for the regular CAS monthly meeting—via ZOOM, of course—on Wednesday, January 20th, at 7:00 p.m. Paige Witek, education coordinator with the Missouri River Bird Observatory, will present a program on grassland birds, some of our most vulnerable species. She will talk about MRBO’s Grassland Birds Monitoring Project and why the work is so important, as well as focus on a few species of grassland birds. We’ll send the Zoom meeting link by email to Columbia Audubon members about a week in advance.This is just the first several great “virtual” programs we have planned for 2021—stay tuned and ZOOM in.

CoMoGives Update

We surpassed our goal of raising $10,000 through the annual CoMoGives campaign. A  BIG thank you to the 109 people who donated $12,350. A special thank you to our CoMoGives committee led by Jan Mees and including Bill Mees, Doug Miller, Nancy Bedan and Lori Hagglund. Another thank you to Lottie Bushmann and Allison Vaughn, who in addition to the committee members, wrote information sent in the emails during the campaign. I’d also like to thank Betsy Garrett for providing the bluebird photo that was on the postcard. We need a new chair for the 2021 campaign. If you are interested, please contact me at

Christmas Bird Count

Columbia Audubon held its Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 19th. Two of the highlights included over 100 Turkey Vultures at Capen Park and 6 Short-eared Owls at Bradford Farm. Thanks to Laura Hillman, John Besser and Allison Vaughn for organizing and compiling and to all who participated. The full results are included in this month’s The Chat.

Where the Birds Are

There are two easy ways to track where people are seeing birds in Missouri. Sign up on the Missouri Birding Society’s (MBS) MoBirds listserv at and sign up for eBird Alerts.

Members of the listserv also provide identification help and give locations where to bird. The listserv serves as an important avenue to receive information from MBS including upcoming events, CACHE and SPARKS updates and webinars.

To sign up for eBird alerts, log into your account and click on the MANAGE MY Alerts on the left-hand side of the page.  You can choose ABA Rarities, Rare Bird Alerts and Needs Alerts.  The ABA Rarities choice is for the whole ABA area (generally the United and States and Canada with some other places); whereas the other two allow you to specify a particular region. You can also decide whether you want to receive the alerts daily or hourly and if you only want an alert for the current year.  I am subscribed to three alerts: Year Needs Missouri (daily), Year Needs Boone County (daily) and Needs Boone County (hourly).