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. 5, No. 1 -- April 2003

Meadowlark Elects New Officers and Directors for 2003-2004 at April Annual Meeting

Meadowlark members elected a new slate of directors and officers at its Annual Meeting, held April 10, at Christ Episcopal Church in Cody. Outgoing President Dave Burke presided at the election. A Motion was offered and seconded to accept the proposed slate by acclaimation. The gathered Meadowlark members passed the Motion unanimously.

The new officers and directors for the 2003-2004 year are:
President: Dennis Saville, 587-2216
Vice President: Mary Klein, 645-3223 (Newsletter Editor)
Secretary: Joyce Cicco, 527-5030 (Membership Chair)
Treasurer: Susan Ahalt, 527-7027 (Program Chair)
Dorothy Bunn, 587-3012 (Field Trip Chair)
Dave Burke (Past President)
Dave Henry
Terry Peters, 548-6814
Chuck Preston, 578-4078
Nancy Ryan, 754-0114 (Publicity Chair)
John Ross, 587-5282 (Conservation Chair)
Sean Sheehan, 527-6306 (Roadless Initiative Chair)
Cheryl Wright, 587- 4119

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Calendar of Upcoming Events (see "Calendar" Web page for most current listings)

April 23 &24, 2003 (Wednesday &Thursday) -- Educational Program for gradeschool children at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), presented by Meadowlark members Neil and Jennifer Miller.

May 8, 2003 (Thursday) -- Program on planting a bird-friendly yard by Amanda Bak; 7:00 p.m., DeWitt Student Center at Northwest College in Powell.

May 10, 2003 (Saturday) -- Field Trip to the TE Ranch with Sean Sheehan. Meet at the Twin Creeks Trailhead (25 miles up the South Fork Road west of Cody) at 7:30 a.m. Bring a lunch, and expect a two-mile hike.

May 10, 2003 (Saturday) -- Tree distribution by the Cody Conservation District, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Cody Auditorium. Meadowlark will have a display at this event.

May 17, 2003 (Saturday) -- Field Trip to the Big Horn Canyon area with vegetation specialist Dr. Suzanne Morstad. Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the Visitor's Center east of Lovell. Hikes will be short and easy. Bring a lunch.

May 22, 2003 (Thursday) -- Field Trip to Bear Canyon, north of the Montana border, with John Roland. Meet in Blair's parking lot in Powell at 6:30 a.m. Bring a 4WD vehicle, or plan on carpooling from Powell. Bring a lunch and water, and plan on a two-mile hike.

June 7, 2003 (Saturday) -- Field Trip to Shell Canyon with John McGough. Meet at 8:00 a.m. in the restaurant parking area, four to five miles east of Shell on Highway 14. Expect short hikes to riparian areas, forest and Shell Falls. Bring a lunch.

There will be no public meetings over the summer. The next scheduled public meeting is on September 11, 2003. All public meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month, September through May, with the exception of December. There is no meeting in December as members are requested to participate in the Clark, Cody, and/or Kane (Lovell) Christmas Bird Counts.

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Big Horn Basin Logs in Most Species at Great Backyard Bird Count
by Mary Klein

In January, I issued a challenge to Meadowlark members: let's log in the most species during the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) from February 14 to 17, 2003!

For the past two years, the Powell zip code, which includes Clark, has come in second in the number of species reported. Casper has come in first. Of cource, Casper has more potential reporters, and more habitat to attract different species (we're a little short on pine-covered mountains here in the Basin!). Also, none of us have much control over which birds winter here: we can put out food, but can't change the weather patterns.

I meant no ill to the folks in Casper: they are good people. The GBBC just became a personal campaign to make Powell/Clark number one. And, we did it! Powell/Clark, zip code 82435, topped the Top Ten Cities List with 30 species, and Basin, Worland and Meeteetse rated 6th, 8th, and 10th respectively.

The Top Ten Cities in Wyoming are:
  1) Powell, 30 species
  2) Clearmont, 22 species
  3) Casper, 19 species
  4) Sundance. 19 species
  5) Carlile, 18 species
  6) Basin, 16 species
  7) Douglas, 15 species
  8) Worland, 15 species
  9) Hudson, 14 species
10) Meeteetse, 14 species

To view the results of the 6th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count, go to <www.birdsource.org/gbbc>. The site contains maps and species counts from all over the country, plus articles on conservation and ecology, tricky IDs and much more.

Thanks to all who participated!

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Cheyenne High Plains Audubon Hosts Birding Weekend

Cheyenne High Plains Audubon is inviting everyone for a weekend of birding with their chapter. The events will take place in and around Cheyenne on April 25th and 26th.

April 25 (Friday) -- Coffee and dessert reception at the Community House in Lion's Park, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Starbucks Coffee and Cheyenne High Plains Audubon will co-host a reception to welcome visiting Partners in Flight Western Working Group members and the Audubon Wyoming Board. The Community House overlooks Sloan's Lake, the centerpiece of Cheyenne's first Important Bird Area, where 24 warbler species have been sighted.

April 26 (Saturday) -- Early Birding, 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. Join Cheyenne High Plains members for a bird walk around Lion's Park. Meet in the parking lot by the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens Greenhouse.

April 26 (Saturday) -- All Day Birding Field Trip, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Jane and Robert Dorn, authors of "Wyoming Birds", will lead a trip to the high plains and lakes west of Laramie. Meet at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens Greenhouse, dress for the weather and bring a lunch.

April 26 (Saturday) -- John James Audubon Birthday Dinner, 6:30 p.m. Meet at Avanti's Italian Ristorante, 4620 Grandview Avenue, where you can order from the menu or choose the $11.00 buffet. Vicki Herren will speak on "Birding in Foreign Countries: Deciding Whether to Do It Yourself, or With a Guide."

April 26 (Saturday) -- Audubon Wyoming Board Meeting, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 108 E. 18th Street.

If you plan to attend any of these events, please R.S.V.P. to Barb Gorges at 307/634-0463 <bgorges2@juno.com>. She can also give you directions and information on lodging.

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Salt Lake City's Hogle Zoo a Surprise Birding Hot Spot
by Mary Klein

Last newsletter, Grace Nutting wrote about the "Jinka Jinka Bird": the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. (Thom and I have always thought that it sounded like the "Josie Josie" bird; Sibley describes "Gido Gido"; but who can accurately assign words to something as ephemeral as a bird's call?) The point is, these tiny birds make a huge sound, and are nearly impossible to spot, except for a fluttering streak high in the pines.

I got lucky this winter. I had time to kill in Salt Lake City, so went to the Hogle Zoo. This delightful little zoo spans both sides of a small, tree-lined canyon, filled with a quick moving stream. Even in the middle of January, birds were abundant. I spotted movement in a wide-spreading pine, and went to investigate.

Not more than three feet from me was the smallest bird I had ever seen (next to a hummingbird.) Tiny, olive-green with wing bars, the kinglet remained in the low branches for several minutes, allowing me to look my fill. What a rare treat!

I recommend touring the Hogle Zoo if you are in Salt Lake. The animal exhibits are nicely done (don't miss the aviary; check out the meercats; have you ever stood above a giraffe?) For just $7.00, you'll enjoy a lot of exotic creatures, and possibly be rewarded with some great impromptu birding.

The Hogle Zoo is located on the northeast side of Salt Lake City, just off Foothill Drive in Emmigrant Canyon. It is open year-round.

Have you discovered a good birding spot? Write it up and send to Mary Klein at 2900 Highway 120, Clark, WY 82435 <eweiss@nemontel.net>.

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The First Federal Bird Preserve

In 1901, The American Ornithologists' Union persuaded Florida lawmakers to protect nongame birds; but the State didn't have the manpower to enforce the laws, and the shooting continued. That's when President Theodore Roosevelt, alerted by conservationists to the killing, created the Pelican Island Refuge. U.S. Warden Paul Kroegel, newly hired for $1.00 a month, protected the birds from poachers.

--Smithsonian Magazine, March, 2003

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Bird Quiz -- Questions
Courtesy of Project Feeder Watch <birds.cornell.edu/pfw>

1. American Robins locate earthworms by:
a. sight
b. sound
c. touch
d. smell

2. What is the most commonly reported bird at feeders in North America (according to Feeder Watch data)?
a. House Sparrow
b. Downey Woodpecker
c. Dark-eyed Junco
d. American Goldfinch
Quiz answers follow the next article.

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Strong Eagle Population in Basin
--Cody Enterprise, March 26, 2003

Bald eagle and Golden eagle populations are thriving in the Big Horn Basin, according to the results of the 2003 Mid-winter Eagle Survey.

"This year's survey indicated eagles were more widely distributed throughout the basin than in some previous years," eagle survey coordinator Dennis Saville of the BLM said.

A total of 105 volunteers surveyed about 205,000 acres during the January 18th count.

Although the Bald eagle number of 122 was less than last year's 138, Saville said the count was consistent with past tallies. The data indicates a "consistent wintering Bald eagle population for the basin, even during mild winters," he added.

Volunteers reported seeing 48 immature Bald eagles, which translates to a mature-immature ratio of 2.5:1, indicating a healthy and stable population," Saville said.

During the past 10 years, the numbers of nesting pairs of Bald eagles and successfully fledged young have grown. And a new nest site has been spotted along the Big Horn River.

The ratio for mature and immature Golden eagles, a resident species, was a "healthy 3.3:1," Saville said. The counts were 70 adults and 21 immatures.

The collected data is sent to public agencies and private organizations, adding to the information about population dynamics and trends.

This spring, the BLM will be gathering information about Sage grouse, spring raptor nesting, Mountain Plover nesting and prairie dog towns, and also constructing and installing bat shelters to aid in mosquito control. Volunteers interested in these projects should call Dennis Saville at 307/578-5900.

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Bird Quiz -- Answers:

1. a. sight
2. c. Dark-eyed Junco

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Thinking of Joining or Renewing as a Meadowlark 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-Only 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 pro-rated 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 May, your dues will be $4 for the 4 months of the partial year from May 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 $16.

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

For more information on Meadowlark Chapter-Only memberships and joint National Audubon/Chapter memberships, please see the "Membership Information" page of this Web site.

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Conservation Tip:

The average homeowner uses 5 to 10 pounds of pesticide per lawn, for a national total of some 25 to 50 million pounds! Many scientists believe these chemicals endanger the songbird population and our groundwater.

If even 10% of landowners began using organic pesticides, it would remove 2.5 to 5 million pounds of toxic chemicals from the environment every year.
--50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth, from The Earth-Works Group.

71 Degrees F. -- This is the lethal minimum body temperature below which many species of birds will perish.
--Wyoming Wildlife, January, 2003: "Sky Janitors."

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One Birdhouse is All You Need to Get Started

Do you currently maintain, or wish to maintain, nest boxes? If you answered yes, you should consider joining The Birdhouse Network (TBN): a citizen science project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. TBN is a continent-wide study that gathers and analyzes data collected by "citizen scientists" on cavity-nesting birds across North America.

Nest box landlords record information such as the type of nest box, species using the box, first egg date, number of eggs in a clutch, number of nestlings, and number of fledglings. There are also optional studies that participants can do, such as the "pesticide Study," that looks at the effect of pesticide use on nesting success.

The cost is $15.00 to join, and you can sign up on the web at <http://birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse>. New participants will receive: a welcome packet containing a newsletter, poster, worksheets and instructions; information about building, placing and monitoring nestboxes; biology of cavity-nesting birds, and predators and competitors; access to Birdhouse Online and Nestbox-L; and a subscription to Birdscope, a quarterly newsletter reporting the latest findings in conservation and research from the Lab.

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Someone to Crow About

Cody Meadowlarker Cheryl Wright has published a book entitled High Country Herbs, offering recipes for breads, spreads, soups, salads, dressings, vegetable and meat dishes, as well as tips for growing herbs at high altitudes. Her book is available at the Cody Newsstand.

Cheryl began creating her herbal concoctions when her children developed allergic reactions to preservatives in processed products. Not only did her family prefer her recipes, but friends began asking for them as well. That led to distilling her years of herbal lore in this book.

Cheryl is a Meadowlark Board Member, as well as the outgoing editor of this newsletter. Let's give her a standing aviation!

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