You are on page 1of 8

Big Bluestem Flyer

Newsletter of the Big Bluestem Audubon Society

Volume 42, Number 5 May-June 2007

May 17, 2007 Thursday, 7:30 pm,
Extension & 4-H Building, I S U, Ames
Climate Change:
Understanding the Science and Monitoring Local Consequences
Dr. Eugene S. Takle
Professor of Atmospheric Science
Professor of Agricultural Meteorology
Iowa State University
Global and regional climate changes have been observed since the 1970s. According to a report issued recently by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since
the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in ... greenhouse gas concentrations.” The report goes
on to say that “Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming,
continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns”.
We will review the scientific basis for climate change and recent changes in Iowa and the US Midwest, examine a
strategy to assess local climatic factors likely to experience future change, and begin to identify species vulnerable to
change and “indicator species” of local climate change.
Dinner* at The Café 5:45 pm
2616 Northridge Pkwy, Ames

*For dinner information, contact Lynne Brookes at 515-434-2028 or at

Field Trips
May 12, 2007
Bird-a-thon (See Insert Sheet)
June 2, 2007
Birders’ Brunch and Birdathon Wrap-up
Meet in the parking lot in the upper Ledges, 8:00 a.m. After a walk down the canyon road, we will meet
in the lower Ledges. Please bring a food item to share.

Unless otherwise indicated, field trips leave promptly at 8:00 a.m. from the public parking lot west of
(behind) the Ames Wild Birds Unlimited, located south of the railroad tracks at 213 Duff Ave. Trip
destinations are subject to change based on recent bird sightings and the desires of the participants.
Contact Jeff Nichols (515-795-4176, ( for more information.

Page 2 Page 6
Officers and Committees Audubon Regional Conference
President’s Corner Teacher’s Treasures
Page 3 Meet a BBAS Member Page 7
Field Trip Report New Members
Page 4 Membership Form
BBAS Backyard Habitat Tour Coupons
Native Plant Society Field Trips Page 8
Page 5 Master Conservationist Program
Recommended Reading
Presidents Corner

There are a lot of enjoyable and important BBAS happenings in May and June, as you’ll read about in
the following pages. Participation is the key to success- especially for the success of the critters we care
about. If you really do care, get involved. Come to the events, donate time and/or money, and bring
family and friends for the fun. We would especially like to meet the many “silent” members “out there!”
Participate- you’ll love it!

First of all is the annual Birdathon event, held May 12th deftly organized by Karl and Carmen
Jungbluth with the dedicated involvement of many Big Bluestem members. This event is the most
important fund raiser for our society allowing us to support bird and other wildlife education activities
in our area, assist with local habitat land purchases, and other activities that are in keeping with our
mission. A listing of how funds- earned mostly through Birdathon efforts- were spent in the last year
and a half was provided in the March/April Big Bluestem Flyer. Please read Karl Jungbluth’s
Birdathon flyer inside.

Another activity coming up is the “BBAS Backyard Habitat Tour” on June 24th (rain date, July 1st). A
number of BBAS member homesites have been generously offered for visitors to explore to learn more
about what sorts of wildlife friendly features they can incorporate into their own backyards. There are
homes in Ames, acreages in Boone Co., and farmsteads outside of Nevada- something for everyone!
Visit a couple of the sites or visit them all! There will be picnic held at the end of the day at an old
farmstead with a wildlife-friendly facelift. The picnic is open to tour visitors and to all BBAS members
whether you can make the tour or not. More info on page 4. See you on the 24th!

And- don’t miss the great field trips ably led by Jeff Nichols. These are announced in each Flyer
newsletter. There are also a number of local and regional events announced in the Flyer, the Audubon
magazine, and in local papers.

Feel shy about participating? Just show up! We’re quite friendly-- and no one has been bitten (or
pecked) yet!
Lynne Brookes

Big Bluestem Audubon Society

Officers and Committees
Officers Committee Chairs
President: Lynne Brookes 434-2028 Archivist: Hank Zaletel 382-427
Vice-President: Royce Bitzer 233-6741 Bird-a-thon Co-chairs: Karl and Carmen Jungbluth, 432-5057
Secretary: Bruce Ehresman 296-2995 Conservation Chair: Bruce Ehresman (See Officers)
Treasurer: Ed Carbrey 292-2404 Education Chair: Amy Yoakum, 232-2516
Board Members
Shane Patterson 232-4682 Field Trip Chair: Jeff Nichols (See Board Members)
Jeff: Nichols 795-4176 Membership Chair: Jon Bahrenfus 275-3263
Mary Doud 515-795-4176, Program Chair: Royce Bitzer (See Officers)
Kelly Weichers 319-231-6999, Publicity Chair: Mary Doud (See Board Members)
Rose Danaher 641-919-3783, Publications & Electronic Media Co-Chairs:
David Edwards 292-3790
The mission of the Big Bluestem Audubon Society is to enjoy the Joyce Bahrenfus 275-3263
observation and study of birds and natural ecosystems, contribute
BBAS Web Site:
to their conservation and restoration, engage in educational
activities to benefit humanity, and gain a broader understanding
and deeper appreciation of the world we live in.

2 Big Bluestem Flyer May-June 2007

Meet a BBAS Member — Jeff Nichols
Our president, Lynne Brookes, asked me to write up a short bio about myself and especially how I got
interested in birds and involved in BBAS. My family is from Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas, and I
was born in nearby Bentonville on 31 October 1961. My father was a Methodist minister, so we moved
around quite a bit during my youth. Mostly my dad served churches in small (pop. 500-3000) Arkansas
towns, all north of the Arkansas River. While my dad attended seminary and was a student pastor, we
also lived in Kansas City, Missouri, and Tingley, Iowa. We returned to Arkansas in 1969, and I lived
there until moving to Ames in 1999 to work at the National Soil Tilth Laboratory.
When we moved back to Arkansas in the late 1960s, we lived in a small eastern Arkansas town near
where Ivory-billed Woodpeckers have been recently reported. I don’t recall ever seeing any large
woodpeckers there, but I do remember being fascinated by the numerous Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
that fed on the flowering Mimosa trees in town. I developed quite a fascination with hummingbirds, and
read a lot about them. For Christmas in 1971, my parents gave me my first field guide, a small book on
birds in the Golden Nature Guide series, which I still have. I was also intrigued by the Scissor-tailed
Flycatchers and Eastern Meadowlarks I would see while visiting grandparents in northwestern
Somehow, though, my interest in birds waned as I became interested in other things (astronomy,
space exploration, model rocketry, fossils and paleontology, American Civil War history, girls). Perhaps
because I had so many interests, I was a poor student, and I ended up flunking out of high school. I
drove a truck for a wholesale grocery company for a few years, and took the GED exam to obtain the
equivalent of a high school degree. Shortly thereafter, my grandfather asked me to work for him on his
dairy farm. Working on the farm got me interested in becoming a veterinarian, so after two years on the
farm, I decided to attend the University of Arkansas and major in Animal Science. I switched to Soil
Science after taking an introductory Agronomy course. I was a good student and graduated summa cum
laude, then obtained an MS degree in Agronomy. I worked for 7 years as a Research Technician at the
UA, conducting agricultural runoff studies in Arkansas and Texas. I greatly enjoyed this job, but the
position was funded by grants. When it appeared the money wouldn’t be there to continue my position, I
took the job in Ames.
While shopping for a Christmas gift for my mother, I visited the Ames Wild Birds Unlimited store and
picked up a brochure from Big Bluestem Audubon. I thought the field trips looked like a good
opportunity to explore my new surroundings. That you could purposefully set out to find birds and
especially seek out new “life” birds was a novel idea to me, but I quickly became an AVID birder. Wolf
Oesterreich and Joyce and Jon Bahrenfus were particularly influential in introducing me to the activity.
One evening I received a call from BBAS President Karl Jungbluth, asking me if I’d lead (I thought he
said) “A” field trip. I said OK, not realizing I was agreeing to be the Field Trip Chair. In retrospect I’m
glad I accepted the offer, as I’ve enjoyed leading the trips and sharing the birding experience with
others. I also met my wife Mary Doud at a Birder’s Brunch field trip, and she and I have traveled widely
in the US looking for birds. My favorite birding is exploring new areas looking for new birds, especially
with friends.

Field Trip Report

The March field trip visited Dunbar Slough, Finn Pond, and Harrier Marsh in Greene and Boone
counties. The weather was overcast and occasionally windy. The temperature was warm enough that
many herps were active and vocal. We heard American Toads, Western Chorus Frogs, and Northern
Leopard Frog, and saw Western Painted Turtle and a garter snake. The snake didn’t appreciate our
efforts to move him out of the road. Waterfowl were present in good numbers. Especially noteworthy was
a Horned Grebe in breeding plumage. We also observed many Rusty Blackbirds, a pair of Gray
Partridge, and 8 sparrow species, among the 73 species we observed.
Jeff Nichols

May-June 2007 Big Bluestem Flyer 3

Mark your calendars for the
June 24, 2007
Big Bluestem is holding a new enjoyable and educational event this summer, the “BBAS Backyard
Habitat Tour.” This activity will provide an opportunity for people interested in developing wildlife
friendly areas around their homes and to see the kinds of “home habitat” features Audubon members
have developed to encourage birds and other wildlife. Nine BBAS members indicated interest in
providing visit sites including Mike & Linda Meetz, Mary Doud & Jeff Nichols, Karl & Carmen
Some of the places offered are Ames homesites, some are in “natural” settings, and others are farmsite
acreages. By having such a variety of home habitat types, those on tour will be able to learn about
features that they can employ wherever they live. Each person on the tour will receive a packet of
information useful for developing or improving their own backyard habitat. At the end of the day there
will be a picnic held at Lynne and Derrick’s wildlife-friendly old farmstead NE of Nevada.
The Backyard Habitat Tour will be open to BBAS members and interested folks in local communities.
RSVP’s are requested for planning purposes. One group of tour sites will be open for visits in the
morning from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the second group of sites will receive visitors from 1:30 to 5:00
p.m. Visitors will be provided with a map and brief description of habitat features at each place so they
can select and visit those morning and then afternoon sites of most interest to them. Visit all if you can!
Picnic sandwich fare and drinks will be provided. Visitors are asked to bring non perishable chips,
desserts, finger food, etc. to share. BYO lawn chairs/lawn cloths or mats if convenient. Children are
welcome but no pets please. We hope to have a musician for entertainment (bring instruments if you
have them). We plan to have a kaibo set up on the picnic grounds for your use and to evoke rural setting
Sunday, June 24th (from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 when picnic begins) is the date selected, with a “rain date”
of July 1st. Mary Doud, Dave Edwards, and I have volunteered to help organize this event. Anyone who
would like to help with some of the promotional or “day of the event” logistics- please contact one of us.
Backyard Habitat Tour site descriptions, map, and informational packets can be picked up at the May
17th BBAS general meeting and monthly program. If you are unable to come to the meeting, packets will
be available at the Ames Public Libray community events/announcements kiosk (ask for Dawn if they
are not apparent). You could also contact Lynne ( or 515-434-2028), Dave or Mary.
This will be a terrific BBAS community event. We look forward to seeing you out and about!

The Iowa Native Plant Society’s 2007 Field Trips

All field trips are scheduled for Saturdays and begin at 10 a.m. unless otherwise noted.
May 12th Webster County (north-central Iowa)
Deb Lewis, Curator of Iowa State University's Ada Hayden Herbarium, will lead a field trip to Brushy
Creek State Preserve.
June 9th Clayton County (northeast Iowa)
Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge and an upland savanna restoration
July 15th Eastern Nebraska
The Iowa Prairie Conference in Sioux City and the Olson Nature Preserve in eastern Nebraska
July 21st Scott & Clinton Counties (east-central Iowa)
Workshop on ferns and Sherman Park
August 25th: Butler County (northeast Iowa)
September 8th: Pottawattamie County (southwest Iowa)
Contact Mark Leoschke for more information at or at 515-281-5961
Mark J. Leoschke

4 Big Bluestem Flyer May-June 2007

There are many good books, videos, websites, etc. about birds and other wildlife. Plan ahead for next
season and share your favorites with other BBAS members!
Winged Migration
Jacques Perrin, 2001 Sony Pictures Classics 89 min.
Ames Public Library: 4 copies available; Video rentals outlets; Media Bookstores (can purchase used).
“Two Thumbs Up” by Ebert & Roper
Awesome visual and auditory journey into the wonder of bird migration. The viewer takes off with the
geese, storks, pelicans and others of the 23+ filmed species as they soar through the skies over Europe,
Africa, and North America on their ways to spring breeding grounds and back again. The original music
(available on CD) and guiding narration enhance this up close look at the individuals and flocks meeting
the challenges dealt them along their ancient routes of travel. This astoundingly beautiful and moving
film took four arduous years to make. As amazing as this documentary is, the “trailers” are equally so.
Learning how the film was made, how the unique music and aural effects were created, and how some of
the avian stars were prepared for their roles is fascinating. Wonderful to see or re-see as we welcome
our migrators back again to Iowa.
Lynne Brookes

Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds, 2nd Ed.

Paul J. Baicich and Colin J. O. Harrison, 2005 ISBN-0-691-12295-4
Princeton University Press- Princeton Field Guides series
Check at ISU library; online or at local bookstores; Firehouse Books- new or used: (515) 232-6609.
An excellent resource with more than 700 color and line illustrations of nests, eggs and nestlings help
the user to identify 670 species breeding in North America from the southern U.S. border to the Arctic
region. The concise descriptive text covers breeding season, typical nesting areas, nest sites, clutches,
eggs, incubation, nestlings, and nestling period. A must have for those that believe the egg came before
the chicken.
Lynne Brookes

Recommended Books
A Parrot Without a Name: The Search for the Last Unknown Birds on Earth by Don Stap
Shadowbirds: A Quest for Rails by William Burt
Hope is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds by Christopher
The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking, and the Search for Lost
Species by Scott Weidensaul
The Birds of Heaven: Travels With Cranes by Peter Matthiessen
Rare and Elusive Birds of North America by William Burt
Restoring North America’s Birds: Lessons from Landscape Ecology by Robert Askins
Also, the University of Iowa Press offers a new title in its "nature in your pocket" series:
Orchids in Your Pocket by William Witt
Mark J. Leoschke

May-June 2007 Big Bluestem Flyer 5

Audubon Upper Midwest Regional Conference
Save the Date! Oct 12 – 14 2007
Birds are calling all Upper Midwest Audubon members, friends and partners to the Embassy Suites in
Bloomington, MN, October 12th-14th!
On Saturday and Sunday, the 13th and 14th, sessions in three critical habitat tracks - grassland,
forest and wetlands - focus on options for "Declining Species, Declining Habitat: Reversing the Trend."
Learn, share, and take new energy home to make a difference. Some repeat sessions and field trips
inside and outside are available on Saturday afternoon for birders and their spouses.
On Saturday evening, scientist and author, Bridget Stutchbury presents: "Migratory songbirds:
canaries in the mine?" Watch for her new book, Silence of the Songbirds. Go ahead, Google her name.
You'll be impressed!
National Audubon Society President, John Flicker, will be the feature speaker on Sunday.
Friday, October 12th, pre-conference attendees explore "The Mississippi River: America's Flyway."
The day is full of informative and interactive sessions on Mississippi River habitat issues and
opportunities and a sternwheeler boat ride on the Mississippi River IBA.
On Friday evening, see an internationally acclaimed BBC/Discovery Channel Documentary
"Mississippi: Tales of the Last River Rat" and enjoy commentary and Q&A with river guide, trapper,
fisherman, hunter, root and herb collector and naturalist, Kenny Salwey. Even if Saturday/Sunday
attendees can't attend all day, they may register for this evening event.
Conference hosts include Audubon Minnesota, The Upper Mississippi River Initiative, Bird
Conservation Minnesota, Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis, Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter,
and St. Paul Audubon Society.
For further information on sponsorship and exhibit space, contact Audubon Minnesota at 651-739-
9332. Conference details will be available on the Audubon Minnesota website
after May 1st. Registration materials will be available after June 1st.

Teacher’s “Treasures” Project

Our Teacher’s Treasures Project (recycled goods) will end May 1. I have ebjoyed coordinating Big
Bluestem’s collection and distribution of recycled materials for grade and middle school teachers.
Although this activity used only a few hours of my time, I am no longer physically able to do it.
My grateful thanks to those of you who generously contributed recycled materials the past two years.
You have helped to create a very successful project. Teachers “gobbled up” the materials and continued
to look forward for more.
I would welcome working with anyone interested in continuing this service. It has excellent potential
for continuation and expansion. Again, my thanks to those of you who participated. The environment —
and the teachers — appreciate you.
Jeanne Edwards

Newsletter Material Deadlines

Because we would like to have the newsletter to each member before the first day of its coverage, the
editor needs to have material at least two weeks before that. Hence the deadline for the next issue
will be the fifteenth of August.

6 Big Bluestem Flyer May-June 2007

Welcome New members
Clip and Join
Ames Don’t forget gift memberships!
Robert Borgmeyer
Phil Berry
Kathleen Krogmeier Membership Application forms
Jessie Reynolds
New member of the National Audubon Society. You will
Katherine Fromm
receive the Audubon magazine, the Big Bluestem Flyer,
membership card. — $20
Jitka Ourednik
Please make your check payable to National Audubon
Greg Thede
Society and include “Chapter Code H-57” on the check
Jim Biggart OR
Subscribe to the Big Bluestem Flyer for one year and
Denise Throckmorton
participate in some Big Bluestem Society Activities — $10
Restrictions are that you will not be a National Audubon Society
Debra Parker member or have voting privileges, and you cannot be an officer or
Ogden committee chair. Please make your check payable to Big Bluestem
Joyce Koestner Audubon Society.
Harley Lewiston Send your check and this coupon to
Jon Bahrenfus, Membership Chair
1050 J Ave, Ogden, IA 50212
Mary Halter
Roland Name _______________________________________________
Frederick Tjarks Address _____________________________________________
Woodward City_____________________ State____ ZIP_______________
Douglas Johnson
Phone ________________ E-mail _______________________
Please do not use this form for renewals to the National Audubon Soc.

Present the coupons below at the time of your purchase and a donation will be given to BBAS.
Donations will fund the various habitat restoration and educational projects undertaken by BBAS.

Brekke's Town & Country Store, Inc.

Donate 10% 1 1/2 miles east of I-35 on new U.S. 30 and 1/4 mile north
of Your Next Hours: 8-6 M-F, 8-4 Sat. (515) 232-7906
Purchase to
Purchase Donation
Big Bluestem Audubon Society Up tp $15 $1.50
Coupon must be presented at time of purchase $15 and over $3.00
May not be combined with any other offer
Not valid on specially-priced merchandise
$35 and over $5.00
Over $70 $7.50
Offer Expires: 06-30-07
Brekke’s offers Big Bluestem Audubon Society a donation
when bird seed or other bird products are purchased.
Present this coupon with your purchase and a donation will be
given to BBAS.
213 Duff Ave. Ames, IA 50010 (515) 956-3145
Mon-Wed 9:30-5:30 Thurs 9:30-8
Fri 9:30-5:30 Sat 9-5 Sun 12-4 Offer good until June 30, 2007

May-June 2007 Big Bluestem Flyer 7

Story County Master Conservationist Program
Story County Conservation is sponsoring a summer 2007 Master Conservationist Program. The
Master Conservationist Program is for individuals interested in conservation who have had little
training in the conservation field.
Seven Tuesday evening sessions (June 5-26 and July 10-24) will be held from 6:00-9:30 p.m. A
Saturday field day will be held on July 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sessions include lecture,
discussion, and hands-on experiences in the field. Participants will receive detailed Iowa-specific
information, helpful application and management techniques, and views of human impacts and
implications. Lunch is provided during the Saturday field day.
The Master Conservationist Program is limited to 30 adults age 18 years old or older. The registration
fee is $45 per individual or $75 per couple (shared binder). Registration deadline is 4:30 p.m., Friday,
May 25, 2007.

To receive a registration form and additional information,

contact the Story County Conservation Center at 515-232-2516
(Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) or on the web at
No individual will be excluded from participating in programs
and events conducted by Story County Conservation because of
a disability or impairment. To request accommodations to
participate in programs and events, contact Story County
Jerry Keys, Environmental Education Coordinator

Vol 42 No. 5 Printed on Recycled paper May-June 2007

unless you renew.

issue of the Flyer
this will be your last
your mailing label,
after your name on
If you have an “X”

We welcome new members!

Ames, IA 50010-0543
PO Box 543
Ames, Iowa Big Bluestem Audubon Society
Permit No. 131 David C. Edwards, Editor
U. S. Postage Paid Big Bluestem Flyer
Non-Profit Org.