Daviess County Audubon Society's Newsletter February 2002
Meetings September thru June at First Christian Church 7th & J.R. Miller Blvd.
The days are getting longer.  Wildflowers will soon begin to bloom and birds will fill the air with song.

Our program on February 11 at 7 PM will feature a speaker who is one of our own.  Steve Hahus is a Biology teacher at Apollo High School.  He is a new member in our chapter who holds great promise as a leader of future events.

The program Steve will present is built around two of the most beloved parts of Kentucky's natural world that will take center stage in March, April and May.  A slide show of area wildflowers will be like an appetizer for the bloom that soon will cover the floor of our forests and roadsides.  Then there will be a preliminary discussion of the study of birdcalls.  Our chapter is planning to launch this expansion of our birding skills during the next several weeks.  The first benefit is the sheer joy of the music made by the birds.  The second is that our bird census efforts will improve as we add I.D.'s by sound.

Gardening Goes Hand in Glove with Birding
An evening with a seed catalogue is one of the most wonderful things about winter.

Did you know that birding is second only to gardening in the number of people who enjoy the hobby?  If you find yourself dropped into a room filled with strangers, you can be assured that you can find someone to engage with conservation about your garden or a bird watching experience.

Raised beds with intensive spacing of plants have the benefit of easier care because the beds can be tended from a seated or kneeling position and do not require machinery for tilling.  The small space required to grow pesticide free vegetables in raised beds is just a fraction of the area needed for the old planting style in rows with a walkway between each row.

What to plant is a quandary for almost every gardener.  Most gardeners have a love for birds and so it is desirable to  (cont. on page 3)

Inside This Issue

1  The Great Backyard Bird Count How to Participate

What's Happening in Frankfort

3  Recycling Tips for Christmas Cards and Postage Stamps

4  Indispensable Products for Lovers of the Outdoors

Page 1

Great Backyard Bird Count

February 15-18, 2002

Participating is Easy!

Reprinted from the Evansville Audubon Society's Newsletter, The Bluebird

We need every bird enthusiast in North America to count for the birds!  All you need is a basic knowledge of bird identification and access to the Internet at home, a friend's house, local library, school or anywhere you can get access the Web.

Here's what you do:

  • Count the birds in your backyard, local park, or other natural area on one or all four count days.  You can count in as many different locations as you wish, just make sure to keep separate records and fill out a checklist for each area.
  • Watch the birds for at least 15 minutes on each day that you participate.  We recommend watching for a half-hour or more, so that you'll have a good sense of what birds are in your area.
  • How to count:  Your data will be used by scientists to analyze bird populations, so it is very important that everyone count their birds in exactly the same way.  On the day(s) that you count, watch your bird feeders, or take a short walk (less than 1 mile) in your neighborhood or park.
  • For each kind (species) of bird that you see, keep track of the highest number of individuals that you observe at any one time.  Use a "Tally Sheet" to help keep track of your counts.  Your tally sheet might be something like the following:
    House Finch - 3  5  3  1
    High Count = 5
    Blue Jay - 1  3  6  2
    High Count = 6

    Be careful not to count the same bird over and over!  Don't add another Blue Jay to your tally every time you 
see a Blue Jay at the feeder.  You could be seeing the same individual again and again.  If you record only the highest number of individual birds that you see in view at one time, you're sure never to count the same bird more than once!
  • At the end of the day go to "Submit your bird checklist" on our GBBC web site.  Fill out the questions about your location, local habitat, and count duration.  You can submit one bird checklist for each day that you count or for each new area where you count.  For example:
    • If you count 4 days at one location, you'd submit 4 different checklists.
    • If you count 4 days at 2 different locations each day, submit 8 checklists, and etc.
  • Problems getting access to the Internet?  Contact Tom Hicks at The Public Library for help using the library's computers in the Reference Department.
  • Finally, after you've submitted your data, explore our website:  Check our results section to see other reports from your community, and watch as data comes in from others areas.  Have a look through our other pages, and find out other ways you can help birds.  Enjoy!
Winter Shopping.  Products for the Out of Doors.
There is a new hand warmer on the market made Prism, EZHeat Instant Reusable Handwarmer.  A plastic bag filled with sodium acetate has a metal snap disc inside.  When the disc is flexed, the liquid inside the bag becomes a hot crystalline solid form that stays warm for hours.  To reuse, boil the bag for 10 minutes, let it cool, and it is recharged and ready to use again.  The product can be purchased from Mountain Equipment Coop's catalogue or web site.

The Grappler is a well made extended reach tool that is indispensable for litter pick-up.  Its 33" reach will grasp items as small as a cigarette butt and as large as a 2-liter bottle.  The Handler attaches to a plastic 5-gallon bucket to eliminate bending.  Made and sold by Grapplers Inc at 599 East Nugget Avenue in Sparks, NV 89731-5848.  The cost is $30 & $10.  Cost each for 6 or more Grapplers is $24.
The Littles' Grappler in its 12th year of use is good as new.

Page 2

February's Calendar

Saturday the 2nd Ground Hog's Day

Monday the 11th at 7 PM

First Christian Church
Monthly meeting with Steve Hahus "Spring Wildflowers" and "Birding by Ear"

Sunday the 17th

South Parking Lot at Owensboro Community College 2 PM
Bird count and 2-hour campus walk

Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday the 15th through 18th

The 5th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count
See "How To" article on page 2.

Saturday the 16th at 8 AM

Meet at McDonald's Highway 60E and the Bypass to Carpool
Field Trip to the Radzelovage Forest near Lewisport

Saturday the 23rd at 8 AM

University of Southern Indiana
The annual Bluebird box cleanout and repair led by Dr. Charles Price.  To carpool or caravan meet at Velotta's at the north end of the Ohio River bridge on Highway 231.  Outing will end with lunch at a nearby pig-out buffet.

Monday the 25th at 7 PM

Joe Ford Nature Center
Board of Directors' Meeting 


and so it is desirable to plant with the idea of attracting more birds, butterflies and pollinators to the garden.  Underwood Gardens at 1414 Zimmerman Road in Woodstock, IL 60098 sells a catalogue, Grandma's Garden 2002, of endangered and heirloom seeds for $3.  Their seeds are promoted as being more enticing to birds and etc. than seeds that have been "tinkered" by man.

Another good idea for inclusion in spring planting is Catnip.  Did you know that this herb is despised by cockroaches and is a better mosquito repellent than DEET, the chemical in commercial repellents that we are told to spray only on clothing, never on our skin.  At Iowa State University tests are underway for learning if the herb's oil when applied to human skin will retain its repulsion for mosquitoes.  With the mosquito's spread of West Nile Virus, not to mention the itchy burning whelps suffered by lovers of the outdoors, catnip's nepetalactone oil could prove to be good as gold.

And the benefits of gardening go on...

Gardening has been found to provide the weight-bearing kind of exercise that is vital for the maintenance of healthy bones.  The lifting and cultivating practiced in the garden, when done properly, apply the push and pull between muscles, ligaments and bones that keep the body laying down new bone.  Exercise alone will not fill the bill for preventing Osteoporosis, a silent disease that afflicts both males and females.  Diet, calcium supplements, Vitamin D, and possibly hormone replacement therapy, some or all, are as necessary as weight-bearing exercise to keep bones in good health.

It almost goes without saying that gardening is one of the best stress relievers known to man.  February is the time to get started in order to get the most out of the gardening season.  Planting time will be here before you know it.

Go cyber gardening

At there are 4000 links where you can find information on almost any gardening topic.  There really is no end to the fun and benefits of gardening.  Winter and rainy days are no barrier to the part of gardening, the planning and imagination, that make it appeal to so many people the world around.

Page 3

The Nose Knows Best Sez the Prez

I found good reading in the February issue of Birders World.  Cynthia Berger writes that, contrary to popular belief, birds do have the sense of smell.  This is nothing to attendees at last month's program by Bill Lynch about Turkey Vultures, birds that smell well if not good.  In 1826, John James Audubon might have used too ripe, over-aged carrion, or he might have misidentified Black Vultures, a bird without a well developed sense of smell, when he state that Turkey Vultures could not smell.  The Black Vulture finds carrion by following Turkey Vultures to the kill.  Nature's ambulance chasers?  Researcher Betsy Bang has found that 23 orders of birds have the equipment they need to smell perfectly well.  "They possess a mucous lining in the nasal passages for odor molecules to stick to nerves to carry 'smell signals' to paired olfactory bulbs, and more nerves that connect the olfactory bulbs to the brain."  As science progresses, we learn more about bird behavior.

In the Legislature

Governor Paul Patton has announced that he will support Greg Stumbo's efforts to place a 1/2 cent charge on food carryout containers.  In the past, efforts to pass a 'bottle bill' have been opposed by the lobby for restaurants and groceries.  With Owensboro being the fast food capital of the world, it behooves us to speak up about our feelings concerning litter.  A sampling of opinions form our membership has found that we agree not all the litter problem comes from fast food cups, bags, etc or beer and soft drink bottles.  But one doesn't have to pick up much roadside trash to know that these things constitute a big problem for our state, its image, and our pride in where we live, thus our quality of life.  To leave a message for any legislature (800) 372-7181.

Seasonal Recycling Tips:  Used US Commemorative and foreign postage stamps:
Audubon National Center/Birds of Prey
1101 Audubon Way in Maitland, FL 32751

Christmas Cards: St Jude's Ranch for Children
100 St. Jude's Street in Boulder City, NV 89005

The Daviess County Audubon Society
306 Hoover Hill Road
Hartford, KY 42347-9522

The Goldfinch February 2002


Join the Daviess Co Audubon Society

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