JUNE 2010

Volume XXXVI, Issue 6

ATLANTA AUDUBON SOCIETY
I N S I D E
Oil in the Gulf .......................2 From the Exec Dir ................3 Time for Hummingbirds.......3 Field Notes - March .............4 Field Trips.............................5 A Million Thanks..................6 Volunteer Opportunities.......6 Echols Scholarship Winner..7 Earth Day Kids Fest.............7 Spotting Scopes..................8 Sculpting Workshop ..........10 Classifieds..........................10 Future of AAS..........................11 Membership........................11 Bird Brainer........................12

Becoming a Better Birder Now!
Saturday, July 24, 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM
You can spend countless hours in patient observation… You can spend endless hours on your own trying to untangle the endless information… …or you can spend three hours with ornithologist Georgann Schmalz, learning to Become a Better Birder! “Becoming a Better Birder” covers aspects of birding that a novice birder usually needs to learn by experience in the field and often does not. Participants will spend time learning good techniques of birding in the field such as understanding which part of the tree a particular bird prefers to forage or how to pick up as many visual cues as possible while a bird flits in

Georgann Schmalz

and out of the foliage. Class instruction will also include choosing good optics, books and sound devices. Participants will not only develop good identification skills under Georgann’s expert guidance but will also experience the satisfaction that better birding can yield. This class is a must for any new birder who feels somewhat overwhelmed by the birding skills of more advanced birders! AAS Education and Conservation Office 4055 Roswell Road , Atlanta, GA 30342 $35 Friends of AAS/ $45 Non-members welcome Registration required. Please register for this class by visiting www.atlantaaudubon.org and downloading the “Registration Form for All Workshops” document.

Summer Learning and Fun at AAS

Introduction to Bird Photography
August 21, 1:00-5:00 PM August 22, 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
Learn how to use your SLR camera to capture creative bird photographs, and begin your journey to become the nature photographer that you’ve always wanted to be! During this eight-hour workshop, you will receive photographic instruction from Georgia’s first IBA
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Basics of Colored Pencil
Saturday, July 17, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM

ATLANTA AUDUBON SOCIETY
4055 Roswell Road Atlanta, GA 30342

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at recreating some of Audubon’s vivid bird depictions with colored pencils? Drawing with colored pencils requires a different approach than with black and white. Let Atlanta artist Carol Sutherland lead you through another fabulous drawing workshop! Carol’s experience and qualifications are apparent in the quality instruction that she
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678.973.2437
www.atlantaaudubon.org

GOS RARE BIRD ALERT

Learn to shoot Roseate Spoonbills like the pros! Photographer: Bill Stripling, courtesy of the National Audubon Society

770.493.8862

Board of Directors 2010
OFFICERS
President Carol Hassell 770.945.3111 chassell@mindspring.com President-elect Vacant Co-Treasurers Ellen Miller 404.847.5260 ellen.miller@eclipsys.com Tom Painter 404.524.8833 tompainter2007@yahoo.com Recording Secy Mark Jernigan 404.298.8825 markajernigan@bellsouth.net

Oil in the Gulf -- What You Can Do
Atlanta Audubon has been receiving a lot of calls and emails about the oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. To learn how you can help, and for information on how the oil is affecting birds, go to the National Audubon Society website, www.audubon.org. National Audubon is working on the problem and has issued the following:

National Audubon Action Alert
The tragic oil platform explosion off Louisiana’s Gulf coast is rapidly becoming an environmental disaster. The loss of 11 oil workers may be just the beginning of this tragedy as millions of gallons of oil head for land, putting birds, wildlife and the coastal environment in grave danger. Audubon staff across the country are marshalling resources and personnel to respond to the looming disaster. Audubon Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi staff and chapters are working to prepare for impacts to birds, wildlife and important habitat as the spill makes its way toward land. Audubon is coordinating volunteer efforts and you can help! From cleaning oiled birds to counting birds to picking up trash on beaches before the oil hits - there are many things that you can do to help. If you are interested in volunteering, please go to www.audubon.org and click on the “How You Can Help” link. National Audubon will get back to you soon with more details. While every hand is needed and welcome, it’s vital that volunteers offer their help through coordinated efforts like this so that the greatest good can be focused where it is needed the most. Please avoid going to affected areas or handling wildlife until you are part of coordinated responses. Even well-intentioned people can inadvertently interfere with important recovery efforts. Other sensitive areas with nesting birds that may not be impacted by the spill will not welcome random volunteers, however good the intention. Audubon has our people on the ground and is working with state and federal agencies leading the response - we can help find the best volunteer job for you. Additionally, Audubon is working with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology to recruit citizen scientists to help document bird distribution at Gulf coast sites, and the effects of the oil spill. We encourage birders along the Gulf coast to record their observations of birds and submit this information to www.ebird.org, a real-time, online checklist program. This vital documentation of the location and abundance of birds will help us identify high priority areas for protection and restoration as the oil comes ashore. Documenting site use by birds as the situation evolves will also help Audubon and Cornell scientists assess the effects of this spill on Gulf coast habitat. This is critical to providing a sound foundation for restoration and long-term protection. The eBird team is developing tools that will allow us to feed live data from birders into educational material on the spill. Your efforts can make an important contribution. Please help! Note: Be sure that your observation activities pose no danger to nesting birds and other wildlife, or to yourself. Please do not disturb birds or damage habitat when surveying birds. It is critical that birders stay out of nesting areas for plovers, shorebirds, terns, wading birds and other colonial nesters. Counting them from a distance can still provide valuable information on the importance of these sections of the Gulf coast. And for your own protection, leave the area at once if you smell or see oil.
Snowy Egret and Laughing Gull are just two of the many bird

DIRECTORS
Conservation Dave Butler 404.580.3917 dabutler700@comcast.net Education Vacant Field Trips Stanley Chapman stancha@aol.com Communications Vacant Public Relations Beth Giddens 770.792.3712 beth.giddens@att.net JoAnn Jordan 678.488.8022 jordan.joann@gmail.com Volunteers Vacant

AT LARGE
Joy Carter 404.622.0605 joy.carter@mindspring.com Jay Davis 404.624.4973 webtoad@earthlink.net Pam Higginbotham 770.939.3592 phigginb@comcast.net Harriette Hoyt 770.650.8501 hrhoyt@bellsouth.net David Kuechenmeister 404.822.8089 David.Kuechenmeister@tpl.org Victor Williams Earthshare Representative 770.423.1012 72064.1017@compuserve.com

STAFF
Executive Director Catharine Kuchar 678.973.2437 Catharine.kuchar@atlantaaudubon.org Education Coordinator Emily Toriani-Moura 678.973.2437 AtlantaaudubonED@gmail.com Administrative Coordinator Sally Davis 678.973.2437 atlantaaudubon@comcast.net Website Jim Flynn webmaster@atlantaaudubon.org Wingbars Manager Diane Hawkins-Cox 404.909.9095 hawkinscox@gmail.com Wingbars Editor Susan Milne 404.502.5496 symilne@gmail.com Proofreading Steven Phenicie 770.849.0391 swlphenicie@bellsouth.net Design & Layout Copy Preparation 770.939.2002 incoming@copyprep.com Newsletter deadline is the first of the month for material to be published the following month. Please submit articles as MS-Word to hawkinscox@gmail.com. Email attachments, if possible. Wingbars is the official newsletter of Atlanta Audubon Society and is published 11 times a year. We feature news, upcoming events, meetings, field trips and projects. We hope you will join us. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect policies of the Atlanta Audubon Society.

For the initiative protocol and directions on signing up for ebird, species at risk from the oil leak in the Gulf. go to: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/survey-gulf-coast-birds. Photographer: Bill Stripling,
courtesy of the National Audubon Society

Mission Statement:
Protecting Georgia’s birds and the habitats that sustain them through education, conservation and advocacy.
Atlanta Audubon Society

2

From the Executive Director by Catharine Brockman Kuchar
Experiencing the Joy of Nature Through Art and Journaling
Experiencing the joy of nature can happen in many different ways. We enjoy our feathered friends when we go on a field trip, take a walk in the woods, or simply look out our back window. The art of journaling can be an important part of that experience. According to Clare Walker Leslie, “Nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you.” Throughout history, humans have used journals as a way to record what they were observing, from navigating the world to reflecting on the wonders of nature they witnessed around them. Explorers Lewis and Clark, naturalists John Muir and John James Audubon, writer Beatrix Potter and others have used the journal as an important tool. It can record one’s surroundings, thoughts, feelings, and events while providing an important record of a particular place and time and using scientific observations. I am proud to be working with TogetherGreen on my fellowship project to connect children to nature through journaling. The goal of my project is to inspire kids to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature, while at the same time having a positive direct impact on conservation. So far we have designed special journals and pencils for students. In addition, I have created a curriculum for teachers and a student guide. The journals will be given free to teachers who want to integrate the program into their classrooms or after-school programs. Students will learn how nature journals have been used throughout history by explorers, scientists, pilots, and writers. They will learn basic creative techniques for nature journaling with exercises and activities that can be done both indoors and outdoors. They can use these skills to develop their ability to “focus, observe, record and reflect” on what they experience in the natural world. It will not only help to build their own observational and artistic abilities, but also help them to experience the world around them in a different way. We are currently piloting the program with various groups, including three after-school programs on the BeltLine (a good tie into our BeltLine project from 2009) and various events such as Dunwoody Nature Center camp. We recently ran the program at the Youth Birding Competition at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center where over 50 children participated and had a great time! We are also making connections across the country and internationally with the program. I am working with another TogetherGreen fellow to implement the program into her fellowship work in Montana. In addition, I am working to have a program with students in Russia. We are delighted to be able to offer this exciting program and to help children experience nature in a new and special way.
Sketch by Catharine Kuchar

A TIME FOR HUMMINGBIRDS
An Essay by Jo Ellen Wilburn

MAY 5, 2010 -- It was a week like no other.

The pollen count was obscene and her medication for wheezing was caught in bureaucracy and hadn’t been mailed, let alone arrived. She had let her supply of checks fall to none, search as she did among 15 red boxes of duplicates from ‘05. Checks took two weeks to replace, in this high tech age of instant everything. Waiting was not her long suit. Apparently forgetting to order was. The broker was supposed to be sending her IRA withdrawal, a sizable check to complete a transaction with the car dealer who called twice a day. The dealer was prompt. He would have been perfectly willing to send her home in that shiny new car and “hold the check” she might write until there was actual money behind it.

It had rained hard three days straight. The hummingbird feeder was clean and filled, but the Rubythroats had not been seen. At first wasps emptied it! They were also somehow arriving regularly in her bathroom, and buzzing her head in the den at the computer. Thank goodness for earth friendly bug spray. The world was covered in green. Azaleas had been in full glory before the rain, but the petals were a lovely carpet now. The other bird feeder was busy, the rabbit had reappeared, the chipmunks were darting in panic across the patio. Squirrels were plentiful. Hawks were nesting nearby. Overriding the smaller frustrations, family members were seriously ill and news was grim. Although blessed by spring it was hard to love the earth in all its splendor. She opened a door at dusk to inhale the fresh, washed air. At 8 o’clock, with dusk descending, they arrived. The female was feeding. The male was flying. For 30 minutes in dim light she sat with binoculars at the closest setting and enjoyed Ms. Hummingbird feasting. The Gulf was full of oil, the weather had been stormy, but here they were again. There is a time for all things, and the time of the hummingbirds had returned.

June 2010

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March Field Notes
March was another rather lackluster month for birding in Georgia. There were some carryover sightings from Feb. but by and large there were few new sightings with the exception of large numbers of AMERICAN GOLDENPLOVERS seen at various locations throughout the state. The Atlanta area reported 130 species (average = 123.9) to bring the year-to-date total to 149 (average = 142.4). The Georgia area came in with 222 species (average = 205.8) to bring that year-to-date list to 250 (average = 239.6).

by Terry Moorez

on 23 March (PMcL). KO was the fortunate observer of an adult and three young AMERICAN WOODCOCKS on 7 March along the CRNRA. A CLIFF SWALLOW was early in Rockdale Co. on 14 March (NF, KB). KB found 50+ BREWER’S BLACKBIRDS in Bartow Co. on 21 March. A BALTIMORE ORIOLE was seen in the Morningside area on 26 March (EB). It was first seen in that area on 24 Dec. GEORGIA AREA GEESE THROUGH GROUSE – A ROSS’S GOOSE was found in the Milledgeville area on 6 March (J&MA). The TUNDRA SWAN previously reported from Floyd Co. was seen there at least until 7 March (RC). Two COMMON EIDERS previously reported from Sea Island were still there as of 22 March (LH, BF). The last date for a female WHITEWINGED SCOTER at Piedmont NWR was 26 March (JSe, HG). MM and JSp had good numbers of RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS at Carter’s Lake with a peak count of 37 on 18 March. Also in the Carter’s Lake area on 18 March were a RUFFED GROUSE (JSp) and an EARED GREBE (MM). PELICANS THROUGH CRANES – TK had 22 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS in the Brunswick area on 1 March. Interesting birds at the Walter F. George Dam were a BROWN PELICAN on 6 March (JFly) and a GREAT CORMORANT at least until 15 March (RoB). There were four reports of SANDHILL CRANES totaling about 400 birds. The last report was of 82 at Carter’s Lake on 23 March (JSp). JSp also had two WHOOPING CRANES in Gordon Co. on 23 March. The location of the birds was kept secret and as far as we know the birds left safely. PLOVERS THROUGH GULLS – There were a number of reports of AMERICAN GOLDENPLOVERS from the Albany area, Dougherty Co. and Gordon Co. The peak count was 47 in Dougherty Co. on 26 March (DMo). There were a good number of AMERICAN AVOCETS reported from the Jekyll Island and Brunswick areas with the peak count of 150 coming from Jekyll Island on 24 March (TK). A STILT SANDPIPER was a good find at the Altamaha WMA near Darien on 14 March (CL, JSe). BS obtained photos of a young ICELAND GULL on Jekyll Island on 5 March for a very rare sighting. DOVES THROUGH WARBLERS – A WHITE-WINGED DOVE was reported from the Darien area on 6 March (DV). Three SHORT-EARED OWLS were seen at the Cobb Owl Fields on 7 March (JSp). The last report of the RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD in Valdosta was 25 March (J&KSw). A GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER was rather early at Darien on 24 March (DC). RaB

reported several RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES in Fannin Co. on 1 March. The previously reported NASHVILLE WARBLER at Augusta was again seen on 6 March (LS et al.). The last date for the Valdosta VIRGINIA’S WARBLER was 24 March (J&KSw). Interesting warbler sightings included an OVENBIRD at Reed Bingham State Park on 21 March (WS) and a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT on Jekyll Island on 17 March (LT). SPARROWS – WS had an outstanding count of 23 BACHMAN’S SPARROWS at the Chickasawhatchee WMA on 20 March. In the Albany area the previously reported HENSLOW’S and LE CONTE’S SPARROW were last seen on or about 22 March (AA). JFle reported a very nice count of 30 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS in Laurens Co. on 13 March. TANAGERS THROUGH ORIOLES – An early SCARLET TANAGER was reported from Gilmer Co. on 21 March (NS, MG). A WESTERN TANAGER was seen in the Athens area on 20 and 27 March (AM, MN). An INDIGO BUNTING joined a male PAINTED BUNTING at a Glennville feeder on 15 March (GW). A male PAINTED BUNTING which was first seen in the Savannah area in Dec. was joined by a female on 22 March (SB). A YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was seen in the Brunswick area on 13 March (BLa). The best counts of BREWER’S BLACKBIRDS were 60 in Laurens Co. on 13 March (JFle) and 22 in Jefferson Co. on 27 March (JFly). Three BALTIMORE ORIOLES were seen in the Savannah Area on 20 March (SB). CONTRIBUTORS – Jerry and Marie Amerson, Alan Ashley, Greg Bailey, Sandy Beasley, Tom Blakely, Ken Blankenship, Bill Boyd, Charlie Bostwick, Eric Bowles, Ray Brown, Roy Brown, Renee Carleton, Doris Cohrs, Tom Crews. Leslie Curran, Melvin Dees, David Erickson, Nathan Farnau, Bill Flatau, James Fleullan, Jim Flynn, Terry Forbes, Dan Furbish, Hugh Garrett, Mary Gauge, Jim Hanna, Bruce Horn, Earl Horn, Liz Horsey, Tim Keyes, Rick Krause, Carol Lambert, Bill Laws, Bill Lotz, Ruth Marley, Hal Massie, Angie Maxted, Patty McLean, Mark McShane, Max Medley, Mary Meyer, Steve Mitchell, Darlene Moore, Peggy and Terry Moore, James Neves, Mark Nipper, Karen Osborne, Parrie Pinyan, Wayne Schaffner, Beverley Schneider, Nedra Sekera, Jeff Sewell, Joshua Spence, Sylvia Spotts, Lois Stacey, John and Kate Swiderski, Lydia Thompson, Terry Valentine, Dan Vickers, Gene Wilkinson, and Stacy Zarpentine.

ATLANTA AREA
DUCKS – CL had a nice count of 250 GADWALLS at the E.L. Huie Land Application Facility (ELHLAF) in Clayton Co. on 4 March. Two CANVASBACKS were seen at Lake Varner in Newton Co. on 1 March (MMcS). JFly counted 142 REDHEADS at Lake Lanier on 1 March for an excellent count. SM had 46 REDHEADS at Peachtree City Lake on 4 March. Five WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, first reported on 19 Feb. at Lake Varner, were seen as late as 13 March by JN. GREBES THROUGH OSPREY – An EARED GREBE was a good spot at Lake Varner on 13 March (JN). An early CATTLE EGRET was found at the ELHLAF on 24 March (CL). Single YELLOWCROWNED NIGHT-HERONS were seen at the Mercer Wetlands on 24 March (BB), at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) also on 24 March (CB) and at the Big Creek Greenway on 27 March (GB). A pair of nest building OSPREYS was taking advantage of a cell phone tower in eastern Cobb Co. on 15 March (TC). SANDHILL CRANES – There were a total of ten reports of SANDHILL CRANES totaling about 5200 birds. The peak count came from Bartow Co. with approximately 4000 birds. Most of the flocks were seen between 1 March and 9 March with the latest report coming from North Fulton Co. on 22 March (PP). PLOVERS THROUGH ORIOLES – A BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER was a rare find at the ELHLAF on 22 March (JH). AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were found in excellent numbers in Bartow Co. with 35 on 21 March (KB), 50 on 22 March (HG) and 34

Terry Moore, 13000 Bucksport Ct., Roswell, GA 30075 – tsmoore@bellsouth.net

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Atlanta Audubon Society

Field Trips

Compiled by Stan Chapman

Sketch by Anne McCallum

Field trips are open to the public and free (unless otherwise noted). We welcome everyone from beginners to advanced birders! Please check the Atlanta Audubon Website (www.atlantaaudubon.org) for additional June field trips that may be scheduled.

If you would like to lead a field trip, volunteer to help with the Field Trip Committee, contribute ideas for places to go, or give feedback about leaders or trips, please e-mail Stan Chapman, Field Trips Coordinator, at stancha@aol.com. Note: For up-to-date information about field trips, go to the AAS website, atlantaaudubon.org. It is wise to check this website to make sure no changes have occurred in the schedule of trips. Most months, some trips are added after this newsletter is published. There hardly ever are cancellations, but any would be announced on the website. All trips are open to the public. No reservations are necessary and the public is invited. The only fees that apply are those charged for entrance to any venue. Saturday, June 5, 7:30 AM Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, near Juliette, GA Lloyd “Pappy” Snyder (cell phone 678-256-4463) Meet at 7:30 AM at the park and boat ramp off Juliette Road in Juliette. Birding Focus: Nesting species, including Redcockaded Woodpecker, Acadian Flycatcher, Kentucky Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Orchard Oriole, and Bachman’s Sparrow, among many others. Notes and Directions: Bring insect repellent and protection against ticks and chiggers and wear waterproof footwear. This trip will run well into the afternoon hours, so bring water and snacks. Directions from Atlanta: Go on I-75 south and take exit #186 (Juliette Road). Turn left at the end of the exit ramp and follow Juliette Road for 9.2 miles. Shortly after crossing the railroad tracks in Juliette, turn right into the park and boat ramp JUST BEFORE you reach the river bridge. The group will assemble and look for birds in this park before carpooling to nearby Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge at approximately 7:45 AM. good for beginners, children and families, who are invited on all AAS trips. A few extra pairs of binoculars will be available to borrow. Directions: From south of Atlanta, take I-75-85 north to Pine St. (exit 249B). Go straight on Pine, cross Peachtree St. and then turn left onto Piedmont Ave. Travel about one mile to 12th St. From northwest of Atlanta, take I-75 south to Exit 250 and follow the signs to 10th Street. Turn left onto 10th and follow it 1/2 mile to Piedmont Ave. Turn left onto Piedmont, and follow it for 1/2 mile to 12th St. From northeast of Atlanta, take I-85 south to Exit 84, and follow the signs to 10th Street. Turn left onto 10th, and then follow the directions above. From MARTA, get off at the Arts Center station, walk south to 14th St., turn left (east) and walk two blocks to Piedmont Ave., and then turn right and walk two blocks to 12th St. park fee applies. Directions from Atlanta: Take GA-400 north from the north side of I-285, until it ends at US-19 in Dahlonega. Follow US-19/129 north for approximately 30 miles until you come to GA-180 east. Turn right and follow 180 for 7.3 miles until you get to GA-180 spur to Brasstown Bald, which is on your left. Follow 180-spur for two to three miles until your reach the parking area for the mountain.

Saturday, June 12, 8 AM Dawson Forest Wildlife Management area, Atlanta tract, Dawsonville Ruth Marley Meet at the parking lot on the right just past the main entrance gate. Birding Focus: Dawson Forest encompasses an area of fields, wetlands and woodlands along creeks, with target specialty birds including Kentucky, Prairie, and Blue-winged Warblers, Sunday, June 6, 8 AM Yellow-breasted Chat, Field Sparrow and Indigo Brasstown Bald near Hiawassee, Bunting. Directions: From Atlanta, take GA 400 north Towns County Bill Blakeslee 36.6 miles from the north side of I-285.Turn left on Meet at parking lot for park and visitor’s center. to Dawson Forest Road at the North Georgia Birding focus: Brasstown Bald is the highest Premium Outlet, which is 6.6 miles past Highway point in Georgia and has some breeding birds 369. (Hwy. 369 is at the first stop light along 400.) Saturday, June 5, 8 AM hard to find in lower-elevation areas, including Drive 3.9 miles along Dawson Forest Road to GA Piedmont Park, midtown Atlanta the Common Raven, Ruffed Grouse, Winter Wren, 9 to the stop sign, and continue straight for George King Veery, and Canada Warbler. If the group is lucky, another 1.5 miles to the gate into Dawson Forest. Meet at the Piedmont Park Conservancy building, it will see several of these. Other species quite Past the gate, go past the power cut to the first corner of Piedmont Ave. and 12th St. regular there at this time of the year include the turn on your right. The large parking lot is on the Birding Focus: Migrants and permanent Chestnut-sided and Black-throated-Blue Warblers right. The group will meet at the entrance to the residents. and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, among others. horse park area at the far end of the parking lot. Notes and Directions: This trip is especially Note and Directions: A $5.00 per vehicle state

Question:

2010 Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Tour
Saturday, the 11th of September
We are planning an incredible tour centered in Buckhead, at and around our education center and offices at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Look for more information in upcoming editions of Wingbars and get ready to read about the surprises we have in store for this year’s tour.

Which American woodpecker migrates the farthest?
See page 6 for answer

Volunteers: We need you! If you are interested in volunteering for this year’s tour, please contact Jacqueline McRae at jacqueline.mcrae@comcast.net.

June 2010

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Volunteer Corner • Volunteer Corner • Volunteer Corner • Volunteer Corner • Volunteer Corner • Volunteer 

olunteer Opportunities

We Need You! Can You Help With Any of These Important Volunteer Opportunities?
Holiday Banquet Host Committee Needed It is that time of year again to plan the 2010 AAS Holiday Banquet and Silent Auction in December. We need a chairperson, or co-chairs (this could be a couple), to help host our event. In addition, we need other committee members who can help with planning, event execution, securing silent auction items, decorations, etc. Please help us make our holiday banquet a reality. We would like to secure at least 7-8 committee members and 1-2 chairs to help host this event. We will not be able to hold the event this year without a committee in place. If you are interested, please contact aas.info@atlantaaudubon.org. Coordinator to help us publicize AAS events and programs (“The Squawk”) “The Squawk” is a new quarterly tri-fold brochure to publicize our events. We are looking for a volunteer, once the brochures are printed, to count out sets of copies for our volunteers around town who distribute the pieces. The volunteer will work with our core of about 15 volunteers to arrange for them to pick up the brochures and get them to the various bird stores, etc. This is a quarterly job and would involve about 2-3 hours per quarter. If interested, contact Catharine Kuchar at Catharine.Kuchar@atlantaaudubon.org or Emily Toriani-Moura at atlantaauduboned@gmail.com. Volunteer Recognition Coordinator AAS really appreciates each and every volunteer. We would like to put into place a Volunteer Recognition Program to acknowledge all the amazing volunteers who make AAS’s work possible in the community. We need to be able to publicly recognize their contributions to our work. To make this possible, we need a volunteer who will take on this project. The volunteer would work with staff to create a plan and then work to execute the ideas. This is a one-year volunteer position and would require about four hours a month of service and can easily be done from home. If you are interested, please contact aas.info@atlantaaudubon.org. Speakers Needed We get many requests from garden clubs, schools and other groups to speak to them about birds and wildlife and we really need some volunteers to help at these events. We are planning to hold a training session for our new speakers and we are creating “ready-to-use” presentations for our volunteers. Our speakers really enjoy getting out in the community and spreading the word about Atlanta Audubon Society and our feathered friends. If interested, contact Victor Williams at victor_w13@yahoo.com.
We Need You to Make Next Year’s AAS Photo Contest Possible!

A Million Thanks!
Atlanta Audubon Society is an amazing organization because of its volunteers! As always, we extend our unending gratitude to ALL of our volunteers, but we would like to send a special thank you to the following individuals this month. Many thanks to Kit Robey for presenting a special program about birds at the Trinity School. Ellen Miller contributes to AAS in many ways from sitting on our Board of Directors to helping out at the recent Youth Birding Competition at a special AAS journaling session for students. Thanks, Ellen, for everything you do! Cynthia Bohannon-Brown has been doing a wonderful job organizing our festivals this spring. Cynthia, thanks for helping with this very important job!

Photo Contest Committee Members (and Chairperson) Needed
Are you interested in photography? Do you enjoy AAS’s yearly photo contest event held in the spring? Would you like to help us continue this 31-year tradition? If so, please sign up to be on our Photo Contest Committee forming now. We need someone to be our Chairperson for the event—overseeing the committee itself— along with committee members. We are looking for individuals who can give technical assistance (judging, organizing and managing the photos themselves), help with publicity (writing Wingbars articles, etc.), help with event planning, and so on. Without a chairperson and committee in place by September of this year, we will be unable to hold next year’s photo contest event.

The eastern race of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker migrates to the West Indies and south to central Panama.

Answer:

6

Atlanta Audubon Society

Meet This Year’s Louisa Echols Scholarship Recipient!
Each year the Louisa Echols Scholarship is awarded to a young adult who will attend an Audubon camp in order to enrich his/her knowledge of birds and their natural ecosystems. Through a partnership with the Georgia Ornithological Society, Atlanta Audubon Society will send University of Georgia (UGA) senior, Katie Moore, to the 2010 Maine Audubon Hog Island Field Ornithology camp. Katie is from Wrightsville, Georgia, and is a student in UGA’s Warnell School of Natural Resources. Under Dr. Bob Cooper’s advisement, Katie is working on a senior research project which studies the response of Whip-poor-wills and Chuck-will’s-widows to increased levels of urbanization. This promising ornithologist has always had an interest in birds, and these two nightjars in particular. One of Katie’s top priorities as a birder is to share interest and awareness of birds with others, as she has been able to do through participation in several outreach programs. While at camp, she hopes to learn more about ornithological field work so that she may become more qualified for intense study of birds in the future.
Scholarship recipient Katie Moore

Katie, we congratulate you for your desire to learn and we encourage your future ornithological endeavors. We can’t wait to read your report on your camp experience in the September issue of Wingbars!

Festivals in Review: CNC’s Earth Day Kids Fest
by Cynthia Bohannon-Brown, AAS Festivals Coordinator
On Saturday, April 17, Chattahoochee Nature Center celebrated the conclusion of Environmental Education Week with its Eighth Annual Earth Day Kids Fest. It was billed as “a day of fun, learning and celebrating” and it lived up to that promise for numerous children and adults in attendance. Acting as the event’s official greeter, the superhero, Captain Planet, promoted homegrown food production through his very own Learning Garden. This year’s Kids Fest showcased CNC’s new LEED-certified Green Discovery Center. This earth-friendly facility contains a theater, an interactive exhibit hall, and a nature store. Inside the Chattahoochee River Resource Gallery, visitors experienced a watershed environment through hands-on activities that stressed water conservation. On the grounds of the nature center, patrons participated in numerous activities that supported environmental stewardship. On Beaver Pond, some daring guests tried canoeing for the very first time and had the chance to observe the festivities from the water. Professional football player Ovie Mughelli guided children through the Recycle Relay constructed from used tires and other recycled materials. Billy Jonas’ improvisational band motivated many would-be musicians with its collection of instruments created from discarded objects while the live animal presentations held other visitors’ attention. Many non-profit organizations supported the CNC this year. The Girl Scouts of America were wellrepresented at this event, as was the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Atlanta Audubon Master Birders Marilyn Harris and Mary Kelly helped families identify native birds through recorded birdcalls and photos. The creation of backyard sanctuaries appeared to be on the minds of many attendees. Luckily, the CNC’s nearby native plant sale provided the flora needed to attract both native and migratory birds. After the day’s events were over, University of Georgia’s Insect Zoo took the top prize as the Best in Fest. As the attendee’s favorite event, UGA won a $500 prize and bragging rights. The event’s coordinator, Nikki Parker, shared that close to 1,500 people visited Chattahoochee Nature Center for this annual festival. From the sound of things, informed visitors and our awesome planet truly were this year’s biggest winners. For additional CNC Earth Day Kids Fest photos visit http://cbbstudios.smugmug.com/Ecoevents.
Captain Planet at the CNC’s Earth Day festivities Photographer: Cynthia BohannonBrown

To see the photographs in this issue of Wingbars in their original glorious color, go to www.atlantaaudubon.org and click on “Our Most Recent Newsletter.”
June 2010 7

The Audubon Guide to Spotting Scopes
By Wayne Mones
From an insert in the March-April 2010 issue of Audubon magazine Bird-worthy binoculars are the single indispensable birdwatching tool. If you don’t already own a pair, read “The Audubon Guide to Binoculars” (November-December 2009 of Audubon) and get yourself properly equipped to get in the game. As a serious member of the birding tribe, you will, sooner or later, want a spotting telescope and tripod. The higher magnification and stability will allow you to see field marks and fine details of distant birds that you cannot distinguish with your binoculars. Choosing the right model is more complicated than choosing binoculars, because there are more choices of style, size, and eyepiece. You should know what to look for and be aware of the trade-offs before pulling the trigger. Since a spotting scope is a major investment, and since you will probably buy only one (okay, maybe two—three at the outside) in your lifetime, you will really want to get it right. Although this guide includes a few recommendations, it is not a comprehensive buying guide. Our goal is to help you make an informed choice. Choosing the right scope can be a complicated process, with plenty of options—and pitfalls. But make the right choice and you’ll reap the rewards for years.

Sizing Up the Options
Most manufacturers offer scopes in at least two sizes. The most popular small ones have objective lenses ranging from 60-65mm in diameter. The bigger typically have 80-85mm objective lenses. Smaller scopes are lighter, more compact, and easier to carry. Big scopes admit more light and provide a marginally superior image in the dim light of sunrise and sunset. Their increased brightness and resolution are most evident when using a zoom eyepiece at high magnification and in digiscoping (using a digital camera to take photographs through your spotting scope). Big scopes are bulkier and heavier than small scopes and may need a heavier tripod to be properly supported. The weight difference is negligible in the newest magnesium-bodied scopes offered by some makers, but the large models from other makers can outweigh their little brothers by up to a pound and a half. Since you could be carrying your scope for several miles at a time, consider the weight difference when making a decision. Four years ago I sold my 80mm scope and aluminum tripod, which together weighed 121⁄2 pounds, and bought a new 65mm compact scope with a carbon fiber tripod—a combination that weighs in at just over 6 pounds. The difference may not sound like a lot, but my wife swears that trading down has made me a much nicer person. If you are planning to use yours primarily for viewing rather than digiscoping, a small scope will give you all the brightness and detail you will need for 95 percent or more of your birding. But if you plan to do a lot of digiscoping, I suggest an 80-85mm model. A big scope will yield better photos, and the larger aperture will allow your camera to select a faster shutter speed.

Playing the Angles
Your first decision will be whether to purchase a scope with a straight body (with the eyepiece in a straight line with the objective, i.e., the lens at the tube’s fat end) or one with an angled body (with the eyepiece offset at a 45-degree angle). I strongly recommend that you opt for the latter, because the angled variety is, in many situations, easier to use and more convenient to share. (Keep in mind that while binoculars are not for sharing, spotting scopes definitely are.) You can set an angled scope at a comfortable height for the shortest person in your group and it will still accommodate the tallest. Angled scopes allow you to aim skyward at a bird in a tree, soaring hawks, the mountains of the moon, or the rings of Saturn. They have an adjustment that lets you rotate the scope body to position the eyepiece to the side or bottom. This feature enables you to raise your scope’s height and rotate the body to look down a hillside or to look over high vegetation. If you do most of your viewing from a blind or a car, you will prefer a straight scope, but angled is best in most situations.

Glass Act
Many models advertise low dispersion glass, which is designated (depending on the manufacturer) as ED, APO, HD, EDG, or FL in the model name. Low dispersion glass is designed to correct certain optical flaws inherent in a “normal” lens. A normal lens disperses light along its optical path, resulting in a failure to bring all the wavelengths to a common focus— which, in turn, can cause a type of distortion known as “chromatic aberration.” CA is most apparent when looking at a high-contrast object at high magnification. It appears as a “halo” (magenta on one side and cyan on the other) at the object’s edges and is particularly irritating when looking at dark birds against a bright background (or the converse). Chromatic aberration is more pronounced in telescopes than in binoculars because of the telescope’s longer focal length. Lenses made from low dispersion glass are designed to eliminate CA and the annoying halo. Such glass increases color saturation, contrast, and brightness. The difference can be extremely subtle and difficult to discern in

8

Atlanta Audubon Society

normal light at magnification up to 30x, but it can be very apparent in low light and at magnification of 40x and higher. When these lenses were first introduced they were considerably more expensive to make than “normal” ones, so buyers were faced with a dilemma: Is it a good idea to spend, perhaps, an additional $500 to correct a fault that isn’t apparent in most viewing conditions? In recent years the price gap has closed to the point where some makers of alpha-class scopes have stopped selling non-ED models altogether. So what should you buy? I suggest the most product you can afford, even if it means stretching your budget a bit. You will amortize the extra cost over the scope’s long, useful life; more important, you will never regret purchasing one that is too good. If you are interested in digiscoping, an ED scope is essential, because chromatic aberration is far more noticeable in photographs than it is to your eye. CA will ruin your otherwise good photographs, especially when they’re enlarged to 11x14 inches or more. If you cannot afford an ED scope, consider a 30x fixed power eyepiece rather than a zoom, because chromatic aberration will be far less apparent at lower magnifications and you’ll also save some money.

Eye on the Eyepiece
Once upon a time all scope makers sold the scope body and eyepiece separately. The zoom eyepiece has since become so popular that many makers now bundle all their scopes with one. These eyepieces (typically offering 20–60x magnification) are popular because they are convenient—

allowing you to find a bird in the wider field at low magnification and then zoom in for more detail. There are, however, some manufacturers that still sell scopes and eyepieces separately, giving you a choice between zoom and fixed power wide-angle models. The best zoom eyepieces are true optical marvels, but they are not as bright and have a narrower field of view than the best fixed power models. They are also considerably more expensive. I believe that high magnification is less important than most people realize. Keep in mind that exceeding 40x is often of marginal value in field conditions because the effects of atmospheric impurities and rising hot air currents (“heat shimmer”) are more apparent in a highly magnified image and because all images degrade at high magnification. I use a 30x fixed power wide-angle eyepiece because I prefer the image it offers to the one offered by a zoom. Beginners often prefer fixed power eyepieces because it is easier to find birds with the scope than with zoom eyepieces. (Nevertheless, I confess to occasionally wishing for a wee bit more oomph.) A fixed power wide-angle eyepiece is a better choice for digiscoping because it is brighter and causes less vignetting (fading at the photo’s edges) than a zoom. The scope makers that bundle their products with zoom eyepieces typically sell a fixed power wide-angle eyepiece as an accessory. You may, in fact, want both—a zoom for that once-in-a-lifetime trip where it’s all about making a once-in-alifetime ID, and a fixed power wide-angle for the most satisfying images in most birding situations and for digiscoping. For a downloadable PDF of this spotting scope guide, along with a few recommendations of specific scopes, go to www.audubonmagazine.org and search for “spotting scopes.”

Summer Learning and Fun at AAS
Bird Photography (continued from page 1) Colored Pencil(continued from page 1)

Coordinator, Jim Wilson. Jim has published several books, including the beautifully illustrated Common Birds of Atlanta, and has been an avid birder and photographer for years. Long-time AAS member and conservation activist Carl Tyler will also discuss setting up your backyard as a bird sanctuary for photography. Jim will cover topics such as lighting, exposure, depth of field, scene composition, accessory equipment, focusing, background and photo editing via computer software. You’ll learn about photo blinds and how to capture the image that best depicts the nature of your subject. The workshop will include both in-class and inthe-field instruction. $50 Friends of AAS/$75 Non-members welcome AAS Education and Conservation Office 4055 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, GA 30342 Registration is required. Please visit www.atlantaaudubon.org to download a registration form. We look forward to seeing you in class!

provides. AAS members participated in her Black and White Drawing workshop series and produced art they did not imagine that they could create. Look for some of their work and comments in the next issue of Wingbars. Learning basic techniques for colored pencil can enrich your drawing experience. Soft buttery wax Prisma color pencils can produce bright, vibrant color (like acrylic or oil), or they can look light and airy if you use a more sketchy approach. The class begins with some color exercises in fundamental skill building, then progresses to drawing a small leaf. The major focus will be a small “color rich” image of a bird drawn with a layering technique. Join us for a day of fun and discovery! $75 Friends of AAS/ $100 Non-members welcome AAS Education and Conservation Office 4055 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, GA 30342 Registration is required. Please visit www.atlantaaudubon.org to download a registration form. We look forward to seeing you in class!

June 2010

9

CLASSIFIEDS
Rates for 2.5” x 2.5” ads are $20/month or $45/quarter. Ads must be consistent with the conservation and birding mission of Atlanta Audubon Society. Ads may be accepted via email, preferably in .pdf format. Call 678.973.2437 if you have questions. Send payment to Wingbars Ads, Atlanta Audubon Society, 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342. Send ads via email to Catharine Kuchar at Catharine.Kuchar@atlantaaudubon.org.

Affordable Housing and Feeders for Birds, Bats and Butterflies
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When You Come To The Mountains Ask about the new Birder’s Guide to Fannin County!

Workshop Creations, Inc.
Order on our website:

We feature Cole’s seed, squirrel-proof feeders that truly are, houses, hummingbird stuff, great books, Audubon optics, & hard to find hardware. Plus – 100’s of Ravensburger Puzzles, Music of the Spheres Chimes & a huge selection of educational toys and games for kids!

Website: www.workshopcreations.com E-Mail: sales@workshopcreations.com Tel: 770-448-5363 Fax: 770-448-5363

Downtown Blue Ridge & Inside Mercier Orchards 611 E. Main St. • Blue Ridge, GA 30513 (706) 258-BIRD (2473) • blueridgebirdseed.com

Just what you need to identify more birds: the best songs, photos and range maps on an iPod or iPhone.

P.O. Box 921455, Norcross, GA 30010

Discover Your Inner Michelangelo
Sat., June 19 10 AM to 2 PM
Would you like to learn more about the travels of the great naturalist and explorer, William Bartram? Would you like to learn how to sculpt a bird out of clay? Then this workshop is for you! Chris Wilson, a wildlife sculptor, will not only talk about his meditations on and inspiration from his ancestor, William Bartram, he will also lead you through the process of creating your own original piece of art. Chris has won over 100 first place awards and 82 Best in Show awards for his sculptures. He has taught art classes at Kennesaw State University (KSU), created over 100 sculptures in public and private collections, and recently finished a commission for “Midnight Watch,” a monumental size bronze owl statue on the KSU campus. Don’t miss this oneof-a-kind opportunity to sculpt a clay bird with such a talented instructor! $85 Friends of AAS/ $105 Non members Location: AAS Education Office at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve 4055 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, GA 30342 Charge: Space is limited and registration is required. Complete and send in the Workshop Registration form on our homepage, www.atlantaaudubon.org, to register. Contact Emily Toriani-Moura at 678.973.2437 for questions
William Bartram and “Midnight Watch”

Bird Songs of Georgia CD now available.
Email Georgann Schmalz at georgannschmalz@windstream.net
or visit www.birdingadventuresinc.com

Would You Like to Save Trees?
And save AAS time and money in the process?
If so, you can “opt out” of receiving your monthly newsletter by mail and instead read Wingbars online. Just send us a message at aas.info@atlantaaudubon.org., and we’ll do the rest. The current issue is posted at www.atlantaaudubon.org at the beginning of the month. Atlanta Audubon Society

Chris Wilson’s Wilson Wildlife Sculpture web site: http://wilsonwildlifesculpture.com/index.html

10

ATLANTA AUDUBON IN 2010: THE FUTURE IS NOW!
By Carl Tyler
Some important advances go unnoticed. The development of the Atlanta Audubon Society may be one. Everyone knows that we have an Executive Director for the first time in the history of AAS. In addition, four staff members now support Atlanta Audubon’s adventures and undertakings. Perhaps most important to our future is our new Mission Statement. Our new Mission Statement lets everyone know that we are focused on birds, but added emphasis is given to habitat. In addition, the statement has three action elements – conservation, education, and advocacy. What does this mean for the Society’s future? Our chapter of Audubon may be large compared to others in Georgia, but it is still relatively small and relies strongly on volunteers. Think about what you can do to further our mission. excellent ideas about ways each of us can prevent cats from increasing the decline of our bird population. (See Dave’s article, “Coyotes, Cats, & Cardinals on page eight in the May issue of Wingbars.) Now that AAS is launching a long-range planning effort, let us know your ideas on how to focus AAS conservation programs in the coming years. with county and state legislators to advocate for an environment in Georgia that is friendlier to birds? Does AAS need to monitor legislation to protect habitat for our state’s birds? Do we need to keep Georgia’s representatives in Washington, D.C. better informed about bird populations and habitat changes? The Board committed AAS to develop a long-range plan. How should that shape the future of Atlanta Audubon? Education is one area of established strength, as is the conduct of regular field trips in metro Atlanta. Our adventures in the field now reach beyond Atlanta to include Merritt Island NWF in Florida, and international trips to Panama and Colombia. But where should we be by 2020, or 2030, or at mid-century? What will distinguish Atlanta Audubon from other birding, conservation, and advocacy groups? That question will take years to answer in full. The time to begin seeking the answer and choosing the pathway is now. Everyone can make a contribution! Step up now to help to plan for the future of AAS. Contact Carl Tyler at harlan.matthias@gmail.com.

CONSERVATION: Concern for habitat drives the work that Charlie Muise coordinates in our Important Bird Areas program. Charlie leads AAS by involving us in bird banding. Keep an eye out for the projects he asks us to help with. Dave Butler energizes our efforts in Conservation. He has

EDUCATION: Our education programs are strong. However, their future directions need further discussion. AAS needs help thinking about what groups in our communities can benefit from AAS education efforts. Can you think of a way to include more teens, college students, and other adults? Can we offer Master Birder classes as part of scholastic and college programs? Are we doing all we can with electronic media to bring education about birds into Atlanta’s homes? What should our Task Force for Long Range Planning think about for the future? ADVOCACY: And what should we do about advocacy? Does our mission statement require that we establish a Board position for that important new element of our future efforts? Should we work

Join Atlanta Audubon Society
Wingbars is mailed only to Friends of Atlanta Audubon. All new National Audubon Society members receive an introductory copy and can continue to receive this newsletter by becoming a Friends of Atlanta Audubon member. Enrollment as a Friend of Atlanta Audubon does not include membership in the National Audubon Society. Thus, you will not receive Audubon magazine. If you are not a Friend of AAS, please take this opportunity to fill out and return the form below. Atlanta Audubon Society Membership Director, 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342. You can also join online: www.atlantaaudubon.org. J Make check payable to: Atlanta Audubon Society Membership Director 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342 J Please charge my credit card:

Renew Online!
You can Simply renew your membership go to online by visiting our website at www.atlantaaudubon.org and www.atlantaaudubon.org linking to the membership page.

and click on We are excited AAS Online! Join/Renew to be able to offer this service (located underto you!logo) the

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June 2010

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Oil spills, climate change, deforestation -- after all the bad nature news of late, sometimes we just need a little something to make us smile. So Wingbars is hoping to bring you an occasional feature -“Bird Brainers.” We’d like readers to send us photos they’ve taken of birds or anything else from the natural world that cry out for a good cutline. Then, when you see the photos in Wingbars, sharpen your funny bone and send us your ideas for captions. We’ll print the best ones. If your photo and/or idea is chosen, you’ll win our undying gratitude for helping us brighten our readers’ day. And your name will be immortalized in print and on the Internet! We’ll get you started. Here’s a screen grab from the barn owl nest box we told you about in the May issue of Wingbars. What might this owlet be saying? Send ideas to Diane Hawkins-Cox at hawkinscox@gmail.com.

Bird Brainers

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