Meadowlark Masthead

The Official Newsletter of the Meadowlark Audubon Society of the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming

Non-member subscriptions of printed copies of this newsletter are available for an annual fee of $6.00 to cover postage and printing.
Make your check out to Meadowlark Audubon and send to: Meadowlark Audubon Newsletter; P.O. Box 2126.; Cody, WY 82414.


Vol. 4, No. 1 -- February 2003


Wyoming H.B.0050 - Removing Stray Cats from the Definition as a Predatory Animal in Wyoming Statutes

Wyoming H.B. 0050 - An ACT relating to game and fish and agriculture, removing stray cats from the definition of predatory animal; and providing for an effective date.

This bill would amend two Wyoming Statutes to remove the words, "stray cat," from the definition as a "predatory animal." An animal defined in the law as a "predatory animal" may currently be taken in any manner, with few exceptions.

Meadowlark Audubon urges you to access our Web site at <http://www.meadowlarkwyo.org/issues/> where you will find a copy of the proposed legislation, information on the current laws, and how to contact the bill's sponsors, committee chairmen, and your local senators and representatives concerning this bill. (This information may be removed from the Current Issues Web page when it is no longer relevant.)

Another Web site you might find helpful is <http://www.abcbirds.org/cats/catsindoors.htm>. This site informs its visitors of the millions of birds, and billions of small mammals upon which birds prey, that are lost to feral, stray, and domestic cats. Please read the facts, and then let your voice be heard.

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Membership Meeting (see Meeting Information Page for current listings)

February 13, 2003 - At 7:00 p.m., on Thursday, February 13, at Bighorn Federal Savings and Loan in Cody, retired Game and Fish Fisheries Biologist Richard Metz will give a slide show on his "Fish Study of Newton Lake." His presentation will highlight species, spawning and sport fishing.

Prior to Metz's lecture, upcoming Meadowlark events, trips and projects will be discussed, and refreshments served.

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Upcoming Field Trips (see Field Trip Information Page for current listings)

Saturday, April 5, 2003 - Dennis Saville will lead us to a sage grouse lek. Time and place to meet will be announced later. The time will be early, though, since we need to be at the lek at dawn.

Please note change in date: Saturday, May 10, 2003 - Sean Sheehan will lead us to the TE Ranch again this year. We will meet at the BLM trailhead about 25 miles up the Southfork Road...at the Twin Creek Trailhead. We will meet there at 7:30 am. The hike will be about 2 miles. Bring lunch and water.

Saturday, May 17, 2003 - May 17, Suzanne Morstad will lead a trip to the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area. Participants will meet at the Visitor's center in Lovell at 7:00 am. This trip will be mostly driving, with short hikes. Hikes will be easy. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are not required. Bring a sack lunch and water.

Thursday, May 22, 2003 - John Roland will lead a group to Bear Canyon in the Pryor Mountains. This trip is scheduled in the middle of the week due to the amount of traffic on the weekend. Participants should meet in the Blair's grocery store parking lot at 6:30 am. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are required; car pooling arrangements can be made from the parking lot. It is about a 5 mile drive from Warren, Mont., and then a 2 mile hike into the canyon, 1 mile in and 1 mile out. Bring a sack lunch, plenty of water, insect repellent, and sun screen. Plan to see plenty of birds!!

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Kane Bird Count
by B.D. Wehrfritz

The thirteenth annual Kane Christmas Bird Count occurred on Saturday, December 14, 2002. Sixteen intrepid and faithful birders assembled in Terry Peters' garage southwest of Lovell at 6:45 am to cover the 15 mile diameter circle, which is centered on the now flooded townsite of Kane, east of Lovell. The entire area is rural, with no feeder watchers. We divided into 10 groups to cover the circle.

The weather was remarkably nice; no blizzard or snow storm, no deep snow, no fog and temperatures not only above zero, but above freezing as well! It was a great day to go birding!

All but one of the 34 "common" birds were seen this year: Horned Larks were missing, much to our disappointment. Three new species for this count circle were also seen: a swan (1, listed as swan, sp.), Eastern Screech-Owl (1, also heard count week) and Marsh Wren (2). Record high numbers of individual species this year included Red-tail Hawk (21), American Crow (1053), and Mountain Bluebird (23). The total number of species was 46 and the total number of birds was 10,271, both well above average. The results have been submitted by Terry Peters and can be seen at <www.audubon.org/bird/cbc>.

The count concluded with a delicious potluck dinner hosted by Elsie Peters and a tally of the final results, including a discussion of some of the species of birds seen. The date for next year's count has been set for Saturday, December 20, 2003.

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3rd Annual Clark CBC Bags Bunches of Birds
by Mary Klein, CBC Compiler

Wednesday, December 18, 2002 -- The morning of the Third Annual Clark Christmas Bird Count dawned a clear and crisp 20 degrees. As the group gathered at Edelweiss, the rising sun was just beginning to cast a blush of pink upon the imposing Beartooth Mountains to the west. Inside in the eternal twilight, the group huddled together, hands wrapped around that final cup of steaming coffee, waiting for final instructions from compiler Mary Klein. Then, out the door into that glorious glowing morning light with just one mission: count those birds!

Exhaust plumes trailed in the chill air as four vehicles crunched across the gravel to canvass the western, Clarks Fork area of our circle: KaCey and John Ross motoring to the northwest; Neil and Jennifer Miller heading west-northwest; Ron and Nova Young driving west-southwest; and Roxy Corbett, Thom and Mary Klein taking the south-southwest route. Up on Line Creek, Millie Terry stepped out her door, pulled on her gloves, and prepared to hike the length of the creek.

After many adventures (but that's another story), the birders straggled back into Edelweiss to compare notes and fill their rumbling bellies. Sated and warm, we headed into the eastern Badlands, joined by Dennis Saville. The birding is not nearly as good in this arid moonscape, but we knew that we would be rewarded with raptor sightings, and possibly some grouse. We were not disappointed.

The thin winter sun was quickly slipping behind Bald Ridge when we met up again for our lasagna supper. We had covered 207 miles by car, and about 6 on foot, scouring the sage flats, bentonite bluffs, and willow river bottoms in our search for 1,672 birds of 36 species.

Good friends, good food, good birding and great scenery -- a perfect day!

Birds seen during the Clark CBC:

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches--460, Canada Geese--345, American Magpies--132, American Tree Sparrows--119, Rock Doves--82, Chukars--77, Black-capped Chickadees--49, American Goldfinches--45, Dark-eyed Juncos--39, Ring-necked Pheasants--37, Song Sparrows--35, European Starlings--30, Common Ravens--29, Greater Sage-Grouse--28, House Sparrows--28, Little brown birds--25, Horned Larks--24, Mallards--17, Common Goldeneyes--16, Red-shafted Flickers--12, Golden Eagles--10, Downy Woodpeckers--6, Bald Eagles--6, American Dippers--5, Townsend's Solitaires--5, Rough-legged Hawks--3, American Robins--3, Great Horned Owls--2, Red-tailed Hawks--2, American Crows--2, Northern Harriers--2, House Finches--2, Belted Kingfisher--1, American Kestrel--1, Prairie Falcon--1, Northern Shrike--1, hawk sp.--1, Eared Grebe--1.

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Cody Christmas Bird Count
by Joyce Cicco, CBC Compiler

The Cody Christmas Bird Count, Cody's 19th annual count of the 103rd nationwide annual event, got underway early in the morning of December 28, 2002, following a night of high winds and gusts which rattled windows and whipped tree branches without mercy. The winds were still with us as the sun rose, but had diminished to an average of 10- to 20-mph in most areas of the count area, a 15 mile diameter circle with its center located approximately one-mile south of the upper reservoir in Beck Lake Park. However, some birders reported difficulty opening car doors against winds gusting to at least 40 mph in outlying and less protected areas.

The temperatures during the hours in which the count teams were active ranged from a 37º to 57º F. Some participants, setting out first thing in the morning in their "longies," found themselves considerably overdressed and began to shed layers as the day progressed. But when the winds picked up in the afternoon, and the clouds began to move in, they were happy to have the extra clothing along.

The Shoshone River was free of ice and flowing, though at a very low level, while all the lakes in the area were almost totally covered with ice, with some waterfowl congregating around the tiny patches of open water. Others, especially Canada Geese, were content to rest in the relative safety of the large expanse of ice on Beck Lake. The total of Canada Geese seen during the count was 344 individual birds. Mallards accounted for the largest number of waterfowl of one species, with a count of 1,157 individual birds, down from last year's count of 1,371, but an increase over the previous year's count of 871. American Wigeon accounted for 85 birds, American Green-winged Teal 43, Northern Pintail 6, Lesser Scaup 5, and Gadwall 2. Both Common and Barrow's Goldeneye were spotted, with 29 of the former and 4 of the latter. Only one Common Merganser showed up for the count, a definite change from last year's count of 57.

Most species of the smaller birds totaled lower counts than in the two previous years. For example, this year's count of Black-capped Chickadee totaled 39, last year's count totaled 45, and two years ago there were 78. The number of Townsend's Solitaires seen this year was 15, with 21 last year, and 32 the previous year. Only 10 American Tree Sparrows and 4 Song Sparrows were located this year, as opposed to 74 and 81 of the tree type, and 15 and 28 of the song type for the last two years. However, the American Robin total for this year was 362; last year's count reported 384, but only 86 appeared on the count two years ago.

And speaking of robins, this year one robin was spotted in the company of an unusual fellow traveler, a female Varied Thrush. This was a first for this species in our count circle, and birder Jerry Hogg Hager has documented it with a rare bird report and photographs. Another unusual bird for this time of year was a Spotted Towhee, which has been hanging around much later than normal, according to its observer, Chuck Neal, who has also documented it as a rare bird for the Cody Christmas Bird Count. The rare bird documentation form provides detailed data about the bird, the optics used to view the bird, weather and viewing conditions, behavior of the bird, names of other observers of the bird, and observers' past experience with this species. Both of these "special" birds were seen in bird-friendly backyards inside the Cody city limits, and at last report were still in the area.

Other birds of interest this year included two Cooper's Hawks, 30 Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches, and a lone Marsh Wren which was located in the same spot as last year. The count of 1,582 European Starlings was somewhat up from last year's 1,365, and the count of 293 American Magpies was also up from the 228 of last year. An amazing 90 Brewer's Blackbirds turned up this year, compared to only 6 last year, and 1 the previous year.

The totals seen on this year's Cody Christmas Bird Count were 54 species, with 5,528 total birds reported. Last year's totals were 63 species, with 6,258 total birds, and two years ago, the totals were 59 species, with 6,123 total birds. For anyone interested in seeing the entire count results, they may be accessed from the database at the collaborative Web site of Audubon and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. One Web site where results may be accessed is <www.birdsource.org/>.

Organizers Joyce Cicco and Susan Ahalt wish to thank the 37 participants in this year's count, along with Rev. Warren Murphy and his Christ Episcopal Church which allowed the group to use their meeting room and kitchen facilities for the tally of the count results and the chili supper which followed. The chili was prepared by Joyce Cicco and dinner rolls were provided by the Sunset House Restaurant. Salads, chips, cookies, and other goodies were provided by the count participants themselves, and monetary donations helped pay for the chili ingredients, disposable dinnerware, beverages, copying, and postage. Thanks also to Chuck Neal for presiding over the tally, where a representative of each count group reported its results and the unofficial species total and grand total were computed for the day's count. And thanks to the participants themselves for making their best efforts to cover their count areas thoroughly and to correctly identify all the birds they found.

The 36 field observers were Susan Ahalt, David and Germaine Bragonier, Dorothy Bunn, Dave Burke, Joyce Cicco, Dick and Jo Cook, Marshall Dominick, Kay Flora, Jerry Hogg Hager, Kirk and Donna Haman, Dave Henry, Larry and Carolyn Hicks, John Housel, Lolly Jolley, Martha Kinkade, Marion and her son Jay Laffin, Mac and Rita Lewis, Suzanne Morstad, Ester Murray, Chuck Neal, Joe Neal Grace Nutting, Dee Oudin, Edie Phillips, Larry Roop, Sean Sheehan, David Smith, Joe Vukelich, B.D. Wehrfritz, and Cheryl Wright. Feeder reports were also submitted by four of the field observers, and Deb Marmon also participated by counting birds at her feeders. Others attending the supper were Nena Burke, Jym Laffin, and Sara Murray.

Cody's next Christmas Bird Count, the 104th Annual CBC, will take place on Saturday, December 27, 2003. If you would like to participate in the next count, contact Joyce Cicco at 527-5030, or Susan Ahalt at 527-7027.

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Proposed By-Laws Changes

Notice of meeting at which Meadowlark Audubon Society business will be transacted.

The Board of Directors of Meadowlark Audubon has determined that the term limits for officers and directors in the present By-Laws of the organization's Constitution are presenting unrealistic constraints on the ability to retain qualified and willing office holders. In order to allow present and future officers and directors to stand for election and to serve for the length of time both they and the membership choose to have them in those positions, the Board approved a number of proposed changes to the By-Laws at its January 2, 2003, board meeting.

The date of the regular membership meeting at which these proposed changes will be voted on is March 13, 2003. This meeting will be held at the DeWitt Student Center Lounge at Northwest College in Powell. The Student Center is located on 7th Street, across the street from the NWC library.

The Chapter's By-Laws allow for changes to the Constitution and By-Laws, with a 2/3 majority vote of members present in person or by proxy at any regular or special meeting of members so long as notice of the date and purpose of the meeting has been given between 30 and 50 days before the meeting. Publication in the Meadowlark newsletter satisfies this requirement.

The current By-Laws and proposed changes follow:

ARTICLE II, MEETINGS, Section 3. Notice of the annual meeting, special meetings, and regular meetings, at which SOCIETY business is to be transacted, shall be given not less than thirty (30) days nor more than fifty (50) days before the date of the meeting. Such notice is given when deposited in the United States mail, with postage thereon prepaid, and directed to the member at his address as it appears on the record of members, or at such other address as he may request in writing to the Secretary of this SOCIETY. Notice of such meetings may be published in the SOCIETY'S newsletter or other regular publication, provided such publication is mailed according to the provisions stated herein above.

Amend Article II, MEETINGS, Section 3, to read: "Notice of the annual meeting, special meetings, and regular meetings, at which SOCIETY business is to be transacted, shall be given not less than thirty (30) days nor more than fifty (50) days before the date of the meeting. Such notice is given when deposited in the United States mail, with postage thereon prepaid, and directed to the member at his address as it appears on the record of members, at such other address as he may request in writing to the Secretary of this SOCIETY, or to his e-mail address. Notice of such meetings may be published in the SOCIETY'S newsletter or other regular publication, provided such publication is mailed or e-mailed according to the provisions stated herein above."

* * *

ARTICLE III, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section 3. No one individual shall serve for more than four (4) consecutive terms as a member of the Board., except in the case of an individual who after four terms of consecutive service on the Board is elected an Officer, and as such may serve one additional term as set forth in Section 2 of ARTICLE IV hereinafter.

Amend Article III, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section 3, to read: "There is no limit on the number of consecutive terms a member of the Board may serve."

* * *

ARTICLE III, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section 4. If by reason of resignation or death, or for any other reason, vacancies exist whereby the Board has not the full complement of Directors, the Board may proceed to elect a Director or Directors to fill such vacancies and the Director or Directors so elected shall serve until the next annual meeting of members. When for such purpose, a Director has been elected for less than a full term, such part term shall be disregarded with respect to his qualification for re-election for additional consecutive terms, as set forth in Section 3 herein above.

Amend Article III, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section 4, to read: "If by reason of resignation or death, or for any other reason, vacancies exist where by the Board has not the full complement of Directors, the Board may proceed to elect a Director or Directors to fill such vacancies, and the Director or Directors so elected shall serve until the next annual meeting of members."

* * *

ARTICLE III, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section 7. A majority of the Board shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the Board provided such quorum includes a majority of the elected Directors.

Amend Article III, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section 7, to read: "A majority of the number of elected Board Members and Officers shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the Board."

* * *

ARTICLE IV, OFFICERS, Section 2. The President shall hold office for a two-year term, or until his successor is elected, and shall serve not more than two (2) consecutive terms. All other Officers shall serve for one (1) year terms, or until their successors are elected, and no individual may hold the same office for more than three (3) consecutive terms.

Amend Article IV, OFFICERS, Section 2, to read: "The President shall hold office for a two (2) year term, or until his successor is elected. All other Officers shall serve for one (1) year terms, or until their successors are elected. There is no limit on the number of consecutive terms an Officer may serve."

* * *

ARTICLE IV, OFFICERS, Section 3. The Officers shall be elected for their respective terms by a {majority or} plurality of the voting members of the SOCIETY present, in person, or by proxy, at the annual meeting of members.

Amend Article IV, OFFICERS, Section 3, to remove the brackets around the words "majority or". "The Officers shall be elected for their respective terms by a majority or plurality of the voting members of the SOCIETY present, in person, or by proxy, at the annual meeting of members."

* * *

ARTICLE IV, OFFICERS, Section 4. If by reason of resignation or death, or for any other reason, an office shall become vacant, the Board may proceed to elect, by majority vote, an Officer to fill such vacancy until the next annual meeting of members. When, for such purpose, an Officer has been elected for less than a full term, such part term shall be disregarded with respect to his qualification for re-election for a full term or for additional consecutive terms, as set forth in Section 2 herein above.

Amend Article IV, OFFICERS, Section 4, to read: "If by reason of resignation or death, or for any other reason, an office shall become vacant, the Board may proceed to elect, by majority vote, an Officer to fill such vacancy until the next annual meeting of members."

* * *

ARTICLE VI, OTHER COMMITTEES, Section 1. The President, with the approval of the Board of Directors, shall appoint chairmen of Standing Committees who, in turn, may select their own committee members with recommendations and suggestions from the Board. Terms of office shall be for one (1) year, or until their successors are appointed; but no member shall serve as Chairman of the same committee for more than three (3) consecutive years. It is recommended that Standing Committees shall be composed of no fewer than three (3) members.

Amend Article VI, OTHER COMMITTEES, Section 1, to read: "The President, with the approval of the Board of Directors, shall appoint chairmen of Standing Committees who, in turn, may select their own committee members with recommendations and suggestions from the Board. Terms of office shall be for one (1) year, or until their successors are appointed. There is no limit on the number of consecutive terms Committee chairmen or members may serve."
(End of proposed By-Laws changes)

* * *

The current Meadowlark Audubon Society Constitution and By-Laws, along with the proposed changes, may be seen on the Chapter's Web site at <www.meadowlarkwyo.org> Just click on the menu bar on the left that says, "Constitution and By-Laws."

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Thinking of Renewing Your Chapter Membership as a Chapter-Only Member?

This past year, quite a few Meadowlark members have either changed their membership to Chapter-Only, or have added a Chapter membership in addition to their National Audubon membership which includes the Audubon magazine. Why do that? The recent change in dues share by the national organization has caused the local chapters to receive only a tiny portion of the members' annual dues which are paid to National Audubon. This amount does not even cover the expense of copying the newsletters and paying for the postage.

Last year, the national organization also made a policy change that now allows Chapters the option of offering a Chapter-Only membership. All the dues that are received by the local Chapter for Chapter-Only memberships remain with that Chapter. If you would like to help support our local Meadowlark Chapter, why not consider renewing as a Chapter member in addition to your National Audubon membership? If you are not interested in receiving the Audubon magazine, and do not care to join the national organization, perhaps you would prefer to renew as a Chapter-Only member.

The Chapter-Only membership year runs from September 1st of one year to August 31st of the following year. The dues are $12 per year. The dues for the first partial year are prorated at $1 per month, and after that, your dues will be $12 per year. For example, if you choose to join as a Chapter-Only member in February, your dues will be $7 for the 7 months of the partial year from February to the end of August, plus $12 for the full year from the first of September of this year to the end of August in 2004, for a total of $19.

If you would be interested in joining as a Chapter-Only member or perhaps just making a small donation to our Chapter, please contact Joyce Cicco, Membership Chairman, for details, or you can simply make out your check to Meadowlark Audubon and send it to:

Joyce Cicco,
Membership Chairman
26 North Ridge Drive
Cody, WY 82414

Please see the Membership Page for more information.

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Want to Save $ $ for Meadowlark?
Read Your Newsletter on Our Web Site

In an effort to keep expenses as low as possible, Meadowlark Audubon has set up a Web site and posts The Meadowlark newsletter there for those who would like to read it online. The Meadowlark Web site address is <www.meadowlarkwyo.org>

Be sure to add a bookmark to make it easy to return to the site in the future. This saves copying and postage expense, and also saves paper. In addition, You will find information about upcoming field trips and meetings, field trip reports, good birding locations with directions on how to get there, and much more. If you are not already reading your newsletter online, but would like to, please call Joyce Cicco at (307) 527-5030, or e-mail <jcicco00@tritel.net>, and let us know that you would like to be put on the e-mail list to be notified when a new edition is available on the Internet. You will also receive e-mail notices of upcoming field trips and meetings.

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Nominations for Officers & Directors for 2003 -2004

The Nominating Committee of Meadowlark Audubon, made up of Dave Burke, Susan Ahalt, Joyce Cicco, and Mary Klein, has completed its slate of nominees for the election of Officers and Directors for the 2003-2004 year. The election will take place at the Annual Meeting which will be held at 7:00 p.m. on April 10, 2003, at the Big Horn Federal Savings Bank located at 1701 Stampede Ave. in Cody.

The committee is pleased to announce the following slate of nominees:

Meadowlark Election Ballot for 2003-2004
 
President:............................................Dennis Saville
 
 
Vice-President:....................................Mary Klein
 
 
Secretary:.............................................Joyce Cicco
 
 
Treasurer:.............................................Susan Ahalt
 
 
Directors:
                                        Dorothy Bunn

                                        Dave Burke
                                        Dave Henry
                                        Carolyn Hicks (name withdrawn
                                                                      due to move)
                                        Terry Peters
                                        Chuck Preston
                                        John Ross
                                        Nancy Ryan
                                        Sean Sheehan
                                        Cheryl Wright
 
 

 

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NOTE: Sixth Annual Backyard Bird Count - Feb. 14-17, 2003

National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are once again calling all birdwatchers to participate in the Sixth Annual Great Backyard Bird Count. The event will take place on February 14 through 17, and will add important new information to the understanding of birds' movements and overall health.

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) ask families, individuals, classrooms and community groups, of all ages and skill levels, to count the numbers and kinds of birds that visit their feeders, local parks, schoolyards and other areas during any or all of the four count days. Participants can obtain instructions, and enter their sightings, online at BirdSource < www.birdsource.org/gbbc> . There is no fee for registration.

Those who would like to participate but aren't online can try their local library, or contact GBBC Ambassador Mary Klein at 307/645-3223.

To view the results, birders are invited to visit the web site. There they will also find a vocabulary section, bird watching and feeding tips, bird vocalizations and more. Educators will find the bibliography and geography sections especially handy, and will also find suggestions on how to conduct the count with groups of kids. For those tired of winter and ready for spring, there will be tips on planning and preparing for the spring bird garden.

"The Great Backyard Bird Count is a terrific way for individuals, families, schools and community groups to contribute to a better understanding of birds," says John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab." In return, they learn more about birds in the process. I can't think of a more enjoyable -- and more rewarding way to spend a little time on a late winter day."

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The Touch of Doom - Alien Invaders

You can control alien invaders to your bird-friendly garden without splattering toxic chemicals on prized garden plants by "shaking hands" with the weeds. All you need is a pair of chemical-resistant rubber gloves and a thick cotton sock.

Start by protecting both hands by putting on the rubber gloves. Then mix the recommended type and amount of herbicide to treat the invader.

Pull the sock over one rubber glove. Lightly dampen the palm of the sock-wrapped hand in herbicide and slide it up the stem of each target plant. This will leave a thin coating of herbicide, killing only the plants you touch.

---- Birder's World Magazine February, 2003

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The Jinka Jinka Bird by Grace Nutting

On the north fork of the Shoshone River lives a loud voice disguised as a four inch bird. This tiny ball of feathers sings from May into August. Only the Warbling Vireo starts earlier in the morning. The song is a variable series of "whees" followed by "Jinka-Jinka-Jinka-Jinka! ----Jinka-Jinka -Jinka-Jinka!" The cadence of these notes is so distinctive that used to whistle it to call me in for supper. We know this bird as the Ruby-crowned Kinglet or the Jinka Jinka Bird.

The phrases are very variable and accents differ considerably even within a small area. One summer I spent listening to a vocally challenged individual at the entrance to Elk Fork Campground. This bird could only manage a feeble "purp-purp-purp". Another on Bighorn National Forest sang its phrases backwards.

Ruby-crowns are very catholic in their choice of habitat. This does not mean they attend mass regularly, but rather that they are seen in a wide variety of forest types. I've found them in Juniper, riparian cottonwood and Douglas Fir forest. The density of singing males on the North Fork was generally one per every 100 meters. The most important common denominator for kinglets seemed to be ample thickets such as dogwood, willow or water birch, in the vicinity of mature trees.

A close relative, the Golden-crowned Kinglet is found in conifers higher on the hillsides. In the Pacific Northwest, this bird joins mixed flocks of bushtits, chickadees and nuthatches. They jingle like tiny bells as they proceed through the underbrush, always keeping a screen of twigs between themselves and the birder.

Ruby-crowns display by fanning the red tuft of feathers on the crown. Two males will come face to face, lowering their heads like tiny bison and waving them back and forth. Flashes of iridescent crimson and violet can be seen for a considerable distance. Ruby-crowns also threaten large creatures such as Forest Service personnel by displaying in a similar fashion. The bird vocalizes as it displays at eye level.

During August I noticed that small birds increased their mobbing behavior. Common Ravens or Great Horned Owls would often be seen ringed by chirping sparrows, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Warbling Vireos, chickadees and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Other birders have told me they do this because mating makes them irritable, but I think they're suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome.

For ten years I have worked on the campground maintenance crew for the Wapiti District of the Shoshone National Forest. This often monotonous, filthy job was brightened by the wildlife sightings we made. I took time to show my coworkers interesting birds and mammals on the forest and it made a real difference. On day, however, I found one man looking rather aggravated. "Grace," he said, "this is all your fault!"

"Now what have I done?," I asked.

"It's that bird you pointed out to me this morning! Now I hear it wherever I go! Nothing but 'Hicka, Hicka, Hicka!'"

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