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Audubon News

Newsletter of Prairie Hills Audubon Society of Western South Dakota Inc.

December 2020

December 14th- January 5th five-dollar fee has been dropped to encourage more partici-
Audubon's 121th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) pation and the annual published report, (American Birds)
previously available in paper has been made digital.
All official counts will be held between the dates of
Saturday, December 14th, 2020 through Sunday, January nual-summary-christmas-bird-count
5th, 2021.
This year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count will Links to Audubon’s CBC web pages:
mobilize nearly 80,000 volunteer bird counters in more
than 2,600 locations across the United States, Canada, the mas-bird-count
Caribbean & Latin America. The Audubon Christmas Bird
Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of To find a count near you on an interactive map:
bird populations at a scale that scientists could never ac-
complish alone. ?appid=ac275eeb01434cedb1c5dcd0fd3fc7b
The censuses provide valuable data about the num-
ber of bird species & numbers of each species occurring Other links:
within set geographic areas on an early winter day. The re-
sults are compiled into the longest running database in or- SOUTH DAKOTA
nithology, representing 121 years of unbroken data on
trends of early-winter bird populations across the Americas.
When combined with other surveys such as the NEBRASKA:
Breeding Bird Survey, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count
provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations NORTH DAKOTA (It has last years 2019 list:)
have changed in time & space over the past hundred years.
The long-term perspective is vital for conservationists. It =28&title=North Dakota Christmas Bird Counts
informs strategies to protect birds & their habitat, & helps MINNESOTA:
identify environmental issues with implications for people
as well. For example, Science published a study using IOWA
decades of Audubon Christmas Bird Count data to describe
a grim picture: a steady decline of nearly three billion
North American birds since 1970, primarily as a result of Because of Covid-19, the National Audubon Soci-
human activities. Christmas Bird Count data have been ety has asked compilers to cancel all in-person compilation
used in more than 300 peer-reviewed articles. gatherings. Social distancing &/or masking will be re-
Birders of all ages are welcome to contribute to this quired at all times in the field. Carpooling may only occur
fun, nationwide community science project, which provides within existing familiar or social “pod” groups. Activities
ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird must comply with all current state & municipal COVID-19
populations during the winter months. Each individual guidelines. Contact each compiler for details on their count
count is performed in a count circle with a diameter of 15 - traditional gathers/meetings may not be planned.
miles. The volunteers break up into small parties & follow Most of these counts happen every year and the
assigned routes, which change little from year to year & compilers are often the same each year.
they count every bird they see. In most count circles, some
people also watch feeders instead of following routes. WESTERN SOUTH DAKOTA's CHRISTMAS BIRD
What to bring?
Participants should bring lunch, drinking water, WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, SD, CHRISTMAS
warm clothing & footwear. Binoculars, field guides & spot- BIRD COUNT,
ting scopes are suggested, for those who have them. The 12/13/20,
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Staff will distribute hiking and driving routes and datasheet
packets at the front doors of the Visitor Center at 7:30 am Waubay N.W.R. Christmas Bird Count,
Contact: Angela (745-1157, 12/15/2020, Contact: Laura Hubers,,
(605) 947-4521 Ext. 116,
Madison Christmas Bird Count, ,
12/14/2020, Bad weather alternate 12/18/2020 12/16/2020, Contact: Jeffrey S. Palmer,,
Contact: Meghan Dinkins,, (605) 256-5190
Meghan's cell: 760-505-1971, Forest Service 605-374-3592 Aberdeen Christmas Bird Count,
12/19/2020, Contact: Gary T Olson -, 605-
12/19/2020, Bad weather alternate 12/26/2020, - Contact
Ruben -, (605) 224-5517 Brookings Christmas Bird Count,
12/19/2020, Contact: Mary Pearson,, (605-651-1652)
12/19/2020 - Contact: Vic Fondy - (605) 269-2553, rot- Sioux Falls Christmas Bird Count, , 12/19/2020 Contact: Chris Anderson,,
12/20/2020 - Contact: Michael Melius, mmmelius@hot- Yankton Christmas Bird Count, ,, 255-4766 12/20/2020 Contact: Roger Dietrich -,, (605) 660-6247,
12/20/2020 - Contact: Duane or Marie Weber - (605) 673- Mitchell Christmas Bird Count, -
12/26/2020, Contact: Jeff Hansen,,
PINE RIDGE, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT, Sand Lake N.W.R. Christmas Bird Count,
12/23/2020 - Contact:, 605-441- 12/29/2020, Contact: Allen Olson,
9346. SLNWR - 605-885-6284,


BIRD COUNT, 1/2/2021, Contact: Chris Anderson,,
12/29/20 Contact: Nancy Drilling,, 605-254-2550, 605-791-0459. (contact in advance)
Huron Christmas Bird Count,
Date to be decided, Contact: Ryan Thompson,
1/2/2021 - Contact: Jessica Howell, 605-375-3218, jhow- *Lake Andes Christmas Bird Count,
not happening this year . Contact: Mick Hanan,
SPEARFISH, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,, (605) 487-7603 Ext. 107,
1/3/2021, - Meet at McDonalds at 7:30 a.m. MT
Contact: Daniel Bjerke, 605-381-049, Some Counts in other states, that are nearby to
Western South Dakota
Not happening this year Meghan Dinkins, meghandink- More counts, in nearby states that are near SD’s bor-, ders, can be found on the home page of our web site, - Scroll down home page’s
*PIEDMONT, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT, events list to Dec 14th, - events are in chronological
Not happening this year, Contact: Gene Hess:
order. Here are just a few of closest out-of-state CBCs.,
Sundance, WY, Christmas Bird Count,
=========== After Christmas - perhaps 12/27/2020, but please verify
EASTERN SOUTH DAKOTA's CHRISTMAS BIRD Contact: Jen at 307-283-2467,,
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Gillette, WY, Christmas Bird Count, Volunteers should first make sure to read through all of
Date to be determine, Contact: Dustin Downey, 307.756.3941, the materials including the full protocol manual. The Climate
504.453.4139,, Watch protocol is different than any other birding program.
Volunteers survey appropriate habitat for the target
Scottsbluff, NE, Christmas Bird Count, species within their square and conduct 12 point counts of five
12/14/2020, Kathy DeLara,, minutes each within one morning, volunteers can opt to just sur-
vey for the target species or opt to record the number and species
Harrison and Crawford Christmas Bird Counts are cancelled this of all birds seen or heard within 100 meters. Participants send
year. Bruce Walgren,, 307-234-7455 the data to the National Audubon Society - there are 4 ways to
send data.
Medora, ND, Theodore Roosevelt N.P. South Unit, Christmas
Bird Count, 12/19/2020,, How data will be used
(701) 623-4730, ext. 1417, Kevin Melzo, Audubon’s 2019 climate change report, ‘Survival By
Degrees,’ reveals that up to two-thirds of North American birds
Theodore Roosevelt N.P. North Unit Christmas Bird Count are vulnerable to extinction due to climate change. For example,
12/20/2020, Kevin Melzo,, 701-623- the beautiful Mountain Bluebird is vulnerable because in the vast
4730 ext 1403 majority of its summer range, the climate conditions that this bird
needs—temperature, amount of rainfall, and other environmental
Miles City, MT, Christmas Bird Count, factors—will shift northward and eastward. This bird may be able
Tentatively 12/21/2020 but please verify, Contact Jennifer to move into new areas over time, or it may struggle to adapt.
Muscha, To test the report’s predictions, Audubon has developed
Climate Watch, which aims to document species’ responses to cli-
======================== mate change and test Audubon’s climate models by having volun-
National Audubon’s Climate Watch teers in the field look for birds where Audubon’s climate models
January 15th-February 15th, 2021 predict they will be in the 2020s. This information helps Audubon
Our November Zoom meeting was on Climate Watch. target our conservation work to protect birds. See the Climate
We record our meetings to the Zoom Cloud and you can watch Watch results page here to see Audubon’s early reports and re-
them for a few months after the fact. The links to watch our old sults from the data received by Climate Watch volunteers so far!
meetings are near the top of the home page of our web site. Link to the Climate-watch program on the National
Climate Watch is sponsored by the National Audubon Audubon Society web page:
Society (NAS) & takes place during two distinct seasons—winter
(January 15-February 15) and summer (May 15-June 15). Like Climate watch instructions for participants:
the Christmas bird count this is a chance to help create “citizen
science” for birds mate-watch
Climate Watch focuses on these target species: Eastern Climate watch for beginners webinar, - this has much of
Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Western Bluebird, White-breasted the same info as our November meeting;
Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown-headed Nuthatch,
Pygmy Nuthatch, American Goldfinch, Lesser Goldfinch, Painted RAYAQMI66eaa8hCFL_fNZn0k3a8uNjHkvp4-
Bunting, Eastern Towhee, and Spotted Towhee. These birds are EZzq7vlq_?startTime=1588186808000
easy to identify, have an enthusiastic constituency, and ===============
Audubon’s climate models for these species offer strong predic- SD ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
tions for range shifts for us to test. In future years, Climate Watch Dec 31st, 2020 - Deadline to submit nominations
may include additional target species threatened by climate to SD Game, Fish and Parks (SD GFP) staff to consider species
change. for listing, up-listing, down-listing or delisting as endangered or
We believe that western bluebird and painted bunting threatened.
are not normally in SD. All the other birds occur in all or parts of SD Game, Fish and Parks (SD GFP) staff will consider nom-
SD. Visit this page to see where these birds are in SD, and which inations for future proposals to the GFP Commission, for
are near you: listing/delisting species under SD's Endangered Species Act. The
Climate Watch focuses on areas of predicted change for nomination form includes information GFP staff needs to con-
these 12 species across the continent. Audubon provides volun- sider new listings or de-listings. Link to the nomination form:
teers with online mapping tools with a grid of 10 km x 10 km
squares showing species-specific predictions for each square ess.pdf?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_ca
based on the climate models. Normally a Climate Watch Coordi- mpaign=gfp-news&utm_content=
nator would help select your location and survey square, but we Completed nomination forms must be submitted by 12/31/20 to
don’t have a Coordinator yet in SD. If you are participating on
your own, use the online maps to decide in which square to do ------------------
your surveys. You will be able to see which squares are already Kristi Noem proposes merging the Dept of Agriculture and
"claimed". Nancy Hilding can send you grid maps and other Cli- the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. We
mate Watch maps for our area. & other conservation groups oppose this and this issue will likely
be fought over in the legislature. Page 3
Prairie Hills Audubon Society (PHAS) is a Chapter of the National Audubon Society; our territory is much of West River SD.
Nancy Hilding - President,, 605-787-466 or 6779, Jim Petersen -Vice-president,,,
Helen McGinnis - Treasurer,, Doris Respects Nothing - Secretary,, MaryJo Farring
ton - Board member, 605-716-2151, PHAS web site : - We have a Facebook page: Our e-mail address is
ts 1
Prairie Hills Audubon Society d coun 5th, 202 STANDARD
ir .
P.O. Box 788 s t m as b 0 - Jan US. POSTAGE
i 2
Black Hawk, SD 57718 Chr 14th, 20 PAID
Dec PERMIT #618

J.J. Audubon - Brown Creeper/Pygmy Nuthatch

PHAS is run by volunteers. To reduce mailing expenses & use of volunteer time, PHAS is trying to send as many announcements by e-mail as
possible. Please help us keep you informed by giving us your phone number and e-mail address. We are recruiting new Board members, contact

any current board member if interested.
mountain lions in January which is an issue PHAS has
Inside the newsletter you have notice of the followed very closely for 15 years & we will be in-
Christmas Bird Counts in our area, that occur from forming you about that, once we have details.
Dec 13th-January 5th. We would normally co-host a cracker barrel in Pied-
You will also see an article inside on National mont on the second Saturday in February (2/13/21) -
Audubon’s Climate Watch program, which has it’s this is an annual event. However due to Covid19 we
winter season Jan 15th-Feb 15th. We need folks in all are not sure if this meeting will be held, cancelled,
of SD to volunteer for Climate Watch. transposed to a Zoom meeting or hybrid face-to-
PHAS will skip a formal meeting in the last week face/Zoom meeting. This will be decided by the five
of December, as attendance during holidays is usually co-sponsors in January.
poor. We plan to have a Zoom member’s meeting in The SD legislature starts on Jan 12th. During the
the last week of January, February and March but we legislature we sometimes have an informal weekend
don’t have the details locked down yet. meeting(s) to discuss bills and what is happening in
We hope either January or March meeting to be Pierre (or not). We don’t know yet if we will do this,
about beaver ecology and the meeting in February to but if we do it will be by Zoom. We may schedule
be about Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Game, Fish and Parks other informal meeting(s), that are announced only by
conservation activities & perhaps some other tribes e-mail and/or on website to work on campaigns we
wildlife & parks management as well. follow. Please send us your e-mails if you want to
The Sierra Club anticipates having a meeting about keep up with all our activities. 4

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