February 2001

The Goldfinch

The newsletter for the Daviess County Audubon Society

Meetings Sept.- June, each second Monday at 7 PM at The Technical College

1501 Frederica

Directors’ meetings are the first Monday of each month


Cut it out, y'all! Less is mower and Mow is less!

The headline is silly, but the issue is serious; serious enough to be our program February 12. A few years ago, a name kept coming to the attention of Audubon members here in the Owensboro area. We'd hear about a lady at the Community College who was taking a stand to protect a small portion of the campus from being treated as lawn. Her name is Dr. Kit Gallagher and she just might be our town's Don Quixote except that her windmills are monster sized riding mowers. Many of us have seen how important is the habitat in the southwest corner of the campus where wildflowers, tall grasses and underbrush have been spared from the mowers. We have the data from our monthly bird counts to back up what Dr. Gallagher believed was worth saving several years ago. You might expect her to be a professor in one of the science areas; instead she teaches English. Come to our meeting to hear this gutsy lady tell us all about her quest. She's a very good friend to 69 species of birds….and counting. Our next campus bird count will be Sunday afternoon at 2 PM on February 18. We meet in the southernmost parking lot before the walk from the water feature around the back boundary, around the ponds, and complete the circle back at the parking lot. Typical time spent is 2 hours.

Got Cable? Meet John Flicker Sunday Night

This Sunday, February 4, at 7:30 PM on Channel 43 there will be an interview with the President of the National Audubon Society, John Flicker. The program is named "NickNews", a childrens' program. Not a problem; all Audubon people are kids, we just live in adult bodies. Here's an opportunity to hear the leader of our national organization. We will try to get a tape of the program, but there are no promises. Audubon folks are not as fond of cable as the outdoors, thus we might have trouble finding somebody to tape for us.

[Cable Service observation: Our call to ask the time of the program was answered with, "Who knows?" by the cable company. Thanks to Carolyn Williams for finding out and filling us in.]

February is Short on Days and Long on Activities February 10 Field Trip

We will be traveling to Central City for the start of this afternoon of bird study. We will meet in the parking lot of the Pizza Hut north of the Western Kentucky Parkway at 1 PM where we will ride share to minimize the number of cars in our caravan. We plan to look for LeContes sparrows, Red-breasted nut hatches, waterfowl in the strip pits, grassland birds, and Short-eared owls at dusk. The club has paid for the permit needed to enter the areas where we will be going. Wear boots or shoes for marshy/muddy ground. Contact Rob Rold at 684-3209 or rerphoto@bellsouth.net or Bill Little at (270) 298-4237 or bandb3@mindspring.com to work out carpooling from Owensboro to Central City. We're gettin' serious on this trip. Eat your Wheaties!

Great Backyard Bird Count February 16-19

Our chapter's goal is to recruit 20 volunteers to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count this year. This count, unlike the Christmas Bird Count, can be done in the comfort of one's home with as little as 15 minutes of time dedicated to the survey. People can also choose to count birds in a public place such as a park or a schoolyard. You can visit the Count's web site http://www.birdsource.org to get prepared for the count period. We will have a brief orientation at our February meeting to get everyone up to speed and familiar with how to report results. Your efforts will help scientists to define the status of winter birds in North America. Please join backyard birders from Nome to Key West. Become a citizen scientist. Spread the word!

On Campus

O.C.C. Count is Feb 18 2 PM, and….For the 4th consecutive year, we will join Dr. Chuck Price at the University of Southern Indiana on Saturday, February 24 at 9 AM to clean out, replace, report damage, and otherwise document the condition of the Eastern Bluebird boxes on the campus trail. After we complete our housekeeping chores, we will find a place to eat before we go to Wesselman Woods to watch birds and see what is happening there. We might stop at Audubon State Park or the slough for some birding if stamina allows. To ride share, meet at Velotta's, the North end of the Highway 231 bridge, for an 8 AM departure.

Frogs are Calling for Loggers

After a year of suspended activity, Frog Loggers are stirring. A meeting will be held in Elizabethtown on March 10th from 11 AM until 2 PM for anyone who wants to learn about the program of monitoring frog calls in Kentucky. The meeting will be held at Nolin RECC Headquarters at 411 Ring Road. Reservations are required because lunch is being provided. RSVP at joesett@ekpc.com or markgumb@ekpc.com or at (859)744-4812. Wanna ride? (270)-298-4237. Do you know how many Frog Loggers Daviess County had year before last? None, not one, nada, zip. Surely somebody feels ashamed of that. Frogs and Amphibians are believed to be declining in numbers and might be sending us a signal that something is very wrong in our world. If a frog stops calling in the forest and no one hears it, is there any problem?

Let's vote for America's National Tree

Twenty-five trees have been nominated as candidates to be America's National Tree. The National Arbor Day Foundation is asking people to vote for their favorite tree between now and April 26. Voting is being done via the Internet at www.arborday.org. If you don't have a computer, but have an opinion about one of the nominated trees (examples are dogwood, Douglas fir, magnolia and cottonwood), you can use the computers in the reference department of the Public Library; ask our member, Tom Hicks, to help you, or you can express your opinion at our February meeting, and one of our members will cast a vote for you. Congress will be asked to sanction the winning tree officially after the vote.

The Girl Scouts' Mini Christmas Bird Count Results

About 20 Girl Scouts and their leaders started the New Millennium off right following a sleep-over at Pennyroyal Girl Scout Camp on January 5. They walked the grounds with flashlights to experience the owl census part of the count. Then the next morning they divided into 3 groups after breakfast and tromped through the snow to look for winter birds and complete their first bird count. Our future Citizen Scientists spent 45 minutes on 3 different areas of the camp, and here's what they found in order of most individuals counted of the 12 species the girls identified:

20 Tufted Titmouse

8 Chickadee

8 American Crow

7 Whitebreasted Nuthatch

5 Dark-eyed Junco

4 Blue Jay

3 White-throated Sparrow

2 Downey Woodpecker

2 American Goldfinch

2 Red-bellied Woodpecker

2 American Robin

1 Golden-crowned Kinglet

Group # 1 was led by Bill Little. Group #2 had Charles and Laura Morris as their helpers for spotting and idenfifying birds. Group # 3 listened for the calls of Chickadees, Crows, and Blue Jays, but their leader, Brenda Little declined to repeat her Brown-headed Cowbird imitation to avoid embarrassing the Society.

The Scouts will be joining us at one of our meetings soon and will be selling Girl Scout Cookies at our March meeting. Bring your coin purses.

Henderson Chapter Rebirth

We are happy to report that there are still signs of life in our neighbor Audubon chapter in Henderson. The group disbanded a few years ago when their numbers dwindled and they had problems recruiting officers. 4 of our members have attended meetings for the early planning stages of a birding festival planned for 2002 or 2003 in the area. At these meetings, individuals have sought us out to tell us that they hope to call on us for support as they reorganize their chapter. Until they are able to operate on their own, they want to join our chapter on field trips and at our programs. This is great news for our state because the city where John James Audubon lived and worked should not be without an Audubon club.

Tax Tip On Schedule A of Form 1040, itemizers may include the fair market value of non-cash gifts to Audubon. We are a not-for-profit 501 3 organization. If you provided refreshments for an outing or a meeting, the fair market value would be between $25 and $50. If you used materials to prepare a presentation, the cost of supplies, slides, and such are deductible. If you presented a program for our club, your mileage for program preparation and to the meeting is deductible at the rate of $.14 per mile. If you provided transportation for any of our members at a field trip or other event, the mileage, likewise, is deductible.

Our Treasurer, Rose Ann Radzelovage, will prepare a written documentation of your non-cash donation. All you need do is describe your non-cash contribution, so that she can word it for you and you will have a record to keep with your tax papers.

Thanks for supporting Audubon.

K.A.S. Winter Meeting

The Kentucky Audubon Council met at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest on January 20th. Our chapter was represented by 4 members: Charles and Laura Morris, Brenda Little, and Bill Little who is President of the Council. Buckley Hills sent 5 delegates, Louisville Audubon sent 3 and Little Rivers in Hopkinsville had 1 member present. Tom Uruquart and Lynn Tennefoss from National's staff attended to help launch the Council's fundraising campaign aimed at establishing a state office and hiring a state director. Snow fell all day and blanketed the lakeside view from the meeting room. Bernheim has never been more beautiful than that day wrapped in a deep layer of snow. The meeting was exciting as people from various areas of the state shared ideas about how to reach our goal in about 2 years. The Council provided ham & swiss cheese sandwiches, veggie pitas, chips, brownies and soft drinks. Laura Morris fixed a tray of olives, celery sticks and pineapple-nut cream cheese. It was a great day for the birds.

Please visit our Web site at audubon.wku.edu. Along with other Kentucky Audubon chapters, under the auspices of The Kentucky Audubon Council, we are a work-in- progress and your patience is appreciated. Programs and Field Trips are listed for the next 4 months on our Web page.

January Field Trip Report

Did you know that the only place outside Alaska that can brag about places to watch Bald Eagles en masse is right here in Kentucky? Our January field trip was a learning experience. We traveled to Ballard Wildlife Management Area and took a van tour under the auspices of the Kentucky Parks Department. Even with crowded conditions inside the vehicle and windows fogged from the body heat of the 14 people packed like sardines, we saw between 25 and 30 eagles. From one vantage point, we were able to count 14 adults and 6 immatures. We were not allowed to leave the van because we were watching from the grounds of a wetlands wildlife area that is closed to the public from October until March each year. We saw thousands of Mallards, about 100 Wild Turkeys, Snow Geese, Black Ducks, and about 100 deer in herds of 10 to 30. What we learned is that in the future we can arrange for a much smaller group to take a day trip, use spotting scopes, maybe even do some photography using scopes, have lunch, and be back home by early evening. Anyone interested in making another Eagle Watching Trip between now and March should speak with Mike Henshaw , Rob Rold, and/or Charles Morris. We have about 4 members who are hoping to go back this month. You can expect 2.5 hours of travel time each way. This is an experience you really don't want to miss.

. From the President’s Perch

Several times in the past few years, I have started up a conversation with someone I've just met and my family's interest in birds has come to be a springboard for a new friendship. I've been able to talk to people of all ages, different career paths, and varied lifestyles about the fascinating hobby of bird watching. Our numbers are growing like crazy. People are manning feeders more than ever at their homes, work places, and schools. I don't think a person can have too many interests, and birding is the best ice breaker I've ever found. It was recently announced that 3000 people a day visited a website that showed the activity around a hummingbird feeder. People whose homes and offices are unsuitable for hanging a feeder for the brightly colored little birds are using their computer screens to watch brilliant colors and darting flight. People are visiting websites that use mini cams to show the nesting rituals of eagles, hawks, and Bluebirds. Bird watching is relaxing, thrilling, challenging, and fun. It is an interest that unites human beings around the world. A new acquaintance who is recuperating from a heart by-pass sent word to me today that the best part of his day is watching a pair of Red-tailed Hawks build their nest in his back yard. Aren't we lucky to belong to a club that piques our interest in nature, offers us a wide range of program topics and field trips, and keeps us abreast of current issues that impact the world around us? I'm very glad to lead a group of people who are reaching out to others to share their joy and interests. It is great to do good work and have fun at the same time.

Thank God for birds! L.A. (Large Avian)

Officers and Directors for 2000-2001 President G. Wm. "Bill" Little, Jr. (270) 298-4237 Vice-President & Program Chairman Mike Henshaw (270) 275-4250 Secretary Margaret Craig (270) 684-4501 Treasurer Rose Ann Radzelovage (270) 683-5972 Membership Chairs Mike Kavolus (270) 685-3305 & Janet Howard (270) 926-3795 Education Chairs Madeline Oetinger (270) 683-7681 & Carolyn Williams 683-5863 Field Trips Chair Rob Rold (270) 684-3209 Conservation Chair Scott Holder (270) 684-1582 Newsletter Editor Brenda Little (270) 298-4237 Webmaster Julian Wilson (270) 684-0829 Publicity Chair Alice Gene "Aggie" Lewis (270) 684-0536 Hospitality Chair Ova Hookey (270) 683-6364 Directors: Kathryn Clay, Pat Connell, and Lifetime Honorary Directors: Elinor Wilson, Joe Ford, A.L. "Bert" Powell, and Mildred "Millie" Powell.


New Members--If you wish to join The Audubon Society, National, Kentucky, and Daviess County, dues are $20 for the first year or $30 for 2 years. This price is for new members only.

If you wish to join Daviess County Audubon Society only, dues are $10 per year. Please pay your dues to Rose Ann Radzelovage, Treas., 2224 Fairview Drive, Owensboro, KY 42303.


Programs planned for 2000-2001

February 12 Mow is Less. How 18 acres at OCC have escaped this mad,

mad, mad, mad world. By Dr. Kit Gallagher

March 13 Birds and Dinosaurs, Common Roots? The latest fossil Evidence.

April 9 Star Gazing in a World of Blinding Light, an Astronomical Challenge.

May 14 Eric Williams worked on the white-eyed vireo during his graduate studies.   He plans to present some of his findings from the study.

June 11 The Brown-headed Cowbird Study at Bernheim Forest .  Dr. Blaine Ferrell is the Presenter.


Field Trips Planned for 2000-2001

February 10 1 PM to dusk progression from Central City's Pizza Hut through marsh, grasslands, strip pits and reclaimed mining area. Goal is to study Le Contes sparrow, water fowl, Redbreasted Nuthatch, and the Short-eared Owl. Eat your Wheaties and wear boots.

March 24 This is AN EVENING FIELD TRIP to the observatory at Brescia College.

April 21 Biking and Birding along the river from Stanley West. Roundtrip distance will be 10 to 20 miles.

May 26 This field trip will emphasize birding by ear as we attempt to find the White eyed vireo

June 23 Birding at Mount St. Joseph. The Sisters are in charge of the weather.

Back to Newsletters