January 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 Street, Owensboro


Directors’ meetings are the first Monday of each month


Timber Rattlers are Program for January 8


Some critters are easier to hate than others.  The Timber Rattler has a bad reputation that is being found to be without basis in an ongoing study under the auspices of The Louisville Zoo at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.  At our next meeting we will learn about how the snakes have been fitted with transmitters and what has been learned in the early stages of this study.  A great thing about The Audubon Society is its commitment to education with an unending exploration of a wide range of topics.  Learning about an animal that is dwindling in numbers and that lives in our state is important today and for future generations.


A Pigeon Postscript Page 20 of the November-December issue of Audubon “The Charge of the Bird Brigade” listed a few more kudos that we can add to the beneficial characteristics of the pigeon talked about at our November meeting:


During World War II, thousands of homing pigeons were members of all branches of the Allied forces.  Pigeons contributed to the saving of many lives and the success of certain vital military operations.  Scotch Lass flew from the Netherlands to England through heavy enemy fire with 38 rolls of microfilm.  William Orange saved the lives of 100 soldiers by flying 260 miles with intelligence about a planned sneak attack.  At war’s end, 31 birds were honored with the Dickin Medal – the equivalent of the Victoria Cross – for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  Even today, a hospital in Plymouth, England, uses pigeons to transport blood samples to its laboratory across town, saving money and beating the traffic, too.


Community College Campus Bird Count


A Look Back at the End of Year One by Charles Morris


The thought that comes to my mind as I look back at the twelve months of counting birds at the college is that I am pleased.  It was a real pleasure for me to be asked to co-chair this project with Julian Wilson and I accepted the job with enthusiasm.  I regret the few times that I had to be absent due to working out of town.  I again use the pleased as I think about the number of our members and their friends who have so faithfully ambled around the campus each month with binoculars, spotting scopes, and notepads.  The number of species, 69, and the patterns of individual birds counted is impressive, but it is much too early in this project to have a feeling of fait accompli, no voicing of “Aha!” yet.  What we do know is that there is more life amidst the parking lots, the hustle and bustle of students and faculty, and all the construction than we expected to find.  We know after just one year how wise it was for a part of the grounds to be kept as natural as possible.  Out tax dollars are working to educate a large segment of the population that is unable to leave town to study at another campus.  That does not mean, however, that the students must be the only wildlife on campus.  We now know that because a small area is being left unmowed, planted in wild flowers, and undrained, a significant number of species is making the campus their home and a stopping place on their migration path.  Knowledge is power and it is not only on the O.C.C. students who are learning on the campus, our chapter has learned a lot about the flora and fauna that is managing to go about life in spite of development and because of a tiny spot of habitat preservation.


Bird Seed Sale Report


The amount of the donation we can expect from The Pet Food Center is not known at the time the newsletter goes to press.  What we do know is that we had an excellent number of volunteers who manned our booth and assisted buyers of bird seed.  Some of the workers stayed in place well beyond their allotted work periods.  At their next two meetings, the directors will study out chapter’s financial position now and as it is expected to change during next year’s activities.  They will make a decision about when we will again conduct a seed sale or other fund-raiser based on our wealth, or lack thereof.


One of the best parts of working the seed sale is exchanging experiences with people who stop at our booth.  This story was told to us by an early morning shopper and we think it merits passing along to our members.  A few days after the tornado struck Owensboro a year ago, a lady who lives on the eastern edge of the city and who enjoys feeding and watching birds noticed a sight that answered the questions we all pondered about what the winds and flying debris did to the birds.  She stared wide-eyed in horror as she saw a male Cardinal at her feeder with a 3 to 5 inch splinter of wood piercing its breast.


Day after day she watched the injured bird with the wooden sliver still protruding from its body as it flew, hopped, ate and drank in her yard.  She told us the bird is alive and, apparently, quite well with the arrow-like projectile still visible.  She said she derives great pleasure each day she sees this small survivor and is reminded of the scripture passage: His eye is on the sparrow.


Birding for Beginners


Twenty-five Scouts turned out for our introduction to birding session last month.  We had 6 chapter members there to explain the basics to the girls.  Brenda Little began the class for fledgling birders at the Girl Scout Camp with a quick description of the items needed to make bird watching fun and successful.  Mike Henshaw explained the characteristics to look for in trying to identify a bird.  Eric Williams exhibited several different books and taught how to use field guides.  Bill Little conducted a short workshop about how to use binoculars by teaching the youngsters how to focus on life-sized paper birds tacked up on the walls of the room.  Rob Rold described the annual Christmas Bird Count and other citizen science efforts sponsored by the Audubon Society.  Mary Kissel wrapped up the class by conducting a brief practice bird count on the camp grounds.  In only 45 minutes the girls counted 10 different species and individuals estimated at about 1100.


The Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count Year 101


East Daviess County


It rained so hard early Saturday the 16th, that the count leader, Bert Powell, told 4 people who phoned him that the event was cancelled.  However, by the 8 AM start time, the rain had become only a drizzle and the 10 people gathered in the Yelvington Fire Station were raring to go count birds.  Sherry Henshaw, Brenda Eaden and Rose Ann Radzelovage provided a lunch of bean soup, ham and cold cuts sandwiches, and fudge for the damp and hungry canvassers.  The team of counters was so fired up that 6 of them went out after lunch and continued counting until there was not enough light to continue.  The final tally was 51 different species and 1961 individual birds identified.




Snow did not deter fourteen stalwart, diehard birders on the first day of the new millennium.  They formed 5 teams to fan out over western Daviess County using Janet Howard’s home as their base of operations.  Janet provided lunch for the group.  Thank you, Janet!  The preliminary tally shows an excess of about 55 species but the number of individuals counted is not available at press time.


Please visit our Web site at audubon.wku.edu.  Along with other Kentucky Audubon chapters, we are a work in progress and your patience is appreciated.  Programs and Field Trips are listed for the next 6 months on our Web page.


January Field Trip


Eagle Watching is on tap for January 20th.  The western part of Kentucky is where the greatest numbers of these majestic birds are being seen.  If you are interested in going to the Paducah area for a day or an overnight trip, please phone or email Rob Rold at 684-3209 or rerphoto@bellsouth.net.  Rob and MikeHenshaw will be attending a meeting in the vicinity with the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Department for planning a birding festival in our area.  They will serve as your source of information and your chapter contacts for this trip.  The Kentucky Audubon Council is meeting in Louisville January 20th (see the enclosed Kentucky Audubon’s Caws for more information) and some of our members will be attending that meeting in order to represent our chapter.


The Price is Right


A 72 page booklet identifying 135 trees native to our area is available for just the cost of a postcard & stamp by writing: “What Tree is That?”, The National Arbor Day Foundation, Nebraska City, NE 68410.  If you wish not to receive future mailings from NADF, it would be a good idea to wait until you receive the booklet and then send a request for your name to be removed from their mailing lists.  Otherwise, the “free” price of the booklet will be paid by a lot of trees that get cut to make the paper to bambard you with mailed solicitations subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer who pays $.34 to $.78, Chump change?, for postage while a lot of mail we call “junk” gets delivered at a fraction of the first class rate.


From the President’s Perch


Charles Morris used the word pleased several times as he wrote about the Community College bird counts in the year just ended.  That is the same word that comes to my mind as I look back over our chapter’s activities of last year.  I am so pleased with the willingness of our members to help wherever and whenever they are needed.  I am pleased with the diversity of our membership; we are a group with different political ideas, different careers, different faiths, different hobbies, and different age groups who share a childlike enthusiasm for learning about and enjoying nature.  I realize that we are racially too much alike, but we are actively trying to interest members of minority races in our programs and activities.  I’m pleased about the number of truly enjoyable events that our chapter has offered for outdoor fun and learning.  I’m also pleased about the future of our chapter.  I look forward to the last 6 months of my Presidency as we work toward putting the next group of officers and directors in place to lead the club.  Our club is a very enjoyable group of people who are proof that lifetime learning is really great.  We are entering the New Millennium is fine fettle.  I’m proud to lead such a group.


                        All the best, L.arge A.vian


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 (270) 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.

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