Birder's Guide

MAY 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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15 May 2014 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community gram theme. For example, the Decem- ber 2013 program on raptor identifca- tion was followed by two raptor ID feld trips on the open prairies east of the city. A feld trip on eagles coincided with the Pueblo State Park Eagle Days event. The group's April 2014 program on the re- gion's insects will be followed in June with a trip to one or more areas where insects are seen to be active and plenti- ful. The group also has spring trips to local migrant traps, including the Chico Basin Ranch (CBR). "CBR is a working cattle ranch that prides itself on its many conservation programs," Goff says, "and we get a taste of that as well as a chance to view an ac- tive bird banding station that is run by the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory." Some feld trips highlight local spe- cialties, such as Lewis's Woodpecker, rosy-fnches, Mountain Plover, and prai- rie-chickens. Trips to Brett Gray Ranch, a Nature Conservancy location, offer a valuable look into life on the prairie. Trips to mountain towns, lakes, and parks provide a chance to see such mountain specialties as Clark's Nutcracker, White- tailed Ptarmigan, Gunnison Sage-Grouse, and Flammulated Owl. "We have been able to see the ef- fects of forest fres on habitat and wildlife, both positive and negative," Goff says. Members participate in seasonal bird counts, Christmas Bird Counts, and the Great Backyard Bird Count. In addition to organizing feld trips, Goff actively promotes the use of eBird as a way to not only track ob- servations, but to also "lend our eyes and ears as citizen scientists to the eBird initiative." He has even devel- oped and given a class on eBird basics for his local weekly birding group. See what the Aiken Audubon Society is up to at . Chloe Walker: Backyard Oasis ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– As part of her entry in the ABA Young Birder of the Year contest in 2013, Chloe Walker, now 14, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, decided to do a conservation project to improve the bird habitat in her backyard. The idea sounded fun and interesting, and seemed like a good frst effort for a be- ginning conservationist. Walker fgured she might learn more about habitats and the effects they have on nature right out- side her back door. Plus, it could turn into a life-long interest. "During the period of working on my project," she says, "I added lots of neat and important additions to our yard." Walker replaced the family's concrete bird bath with a running water bird bath, which attracted regular backyard birds and lots of migrating Tennessee War- blers, including a couple of Swainson's Thrushes that worked up the bravery to take a bath. She also installed native Tennessee plants, such as goldenrod, black-eyed Susan, purple conefower, red salvia, butterfyweed, verbena, core- opsis, and muhly grass. Besides adding new features to the yard, Walker began using a recipe for cleaning bird feeders and bird baths more naturally, removed a nest box that was potentially hazardous to birds that might try to nest there, and persuaded Mel Goff—shown here with his wife Jeanne on a feld trip to Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado—serves conservation and the community as the feld trip coordinator for the Aiken Audubon Society in Colorado Springs. Photo © Jeannie Mitchell Chloe Walker, 14, of Murfreesboro, Ten- nessee, combines her love of birds and landscaping by improving the bird habitat in her backyard. Photo © Miriam Walker A Swainson's Thrush takes a dip in Chloe Walker's running water bird bath. Photo © Chloe Walker 2-Conservation Milestones.indd 15 5/22/14 7:34 PM

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