April 25: Finding the World’s Rarest Bird, Our Latest ‘Coal Mine Canary’

Presented by Nick Minor, University of Minnesota 

The Stresemann’s Bristlefront is one of the hardest-to-find birds in the world. So when a small team finally discovered a lone female last December, a flurry of media coverage spread the news around the world. Can this skulking, nondescript bird—whose population size may be just one individual—serve as the poster child Brazil’s Atlantic Forest so desperately needs? 

This is the story of finding the Stresemann’s Bristlefront, presented by Nick Minor, an early career biologist and science writer. A Chicago area native, he’s currently wrapping up a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. As part of his passion for science stories, he co-edits the “News & Notes” column in Birding Magazine, is a regular contributing writer to the National Audubon Society, and does a variety of science communication and multimedia storytelling work. 

Thursday, April 25

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

March 28: Bird Migration

Presented by Jim Egge, Past President, Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis

Bird migration is a subject that has always been poorly understood, but modern techniques of research have given us the tools to gather information about bird flights. Knowledge about what drives birds to move as they do and how they manage to navigate with precision has exploded with new technologies. 

This program will review recent studies and bird patterns to better understand bird populations in North and South America. Some of our favorite birds will be mapped as they migrate out of their breeding grounds to suitable wintering habitat. We think of the birds that breed here as “our birds”, even though we see them for such a short time. 

Jim Egge is a retired chemistry and biology teacher in Roseville, and a past president of Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis. 

Thursday, March 28

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

February 28: Roads to Conservation with MNDOT

with Beth Brown & Christopher Smith – Minnesota Department of Transportation 

Chris and Beth from the Office of Environmental Stewardship of the Minnesota Department of Transportation have the responsibility of conserving and protecting the natural resources along our state’s highways. They will provide an overview of the MN DOT stewardship program and highlight some of the staff’s efforts to protect and nurture plants, fish, birds and other fauna in and around roadside habitat. 

Thursday, February 28

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

January 24: Birding Santa Marta, Colombia

with Bill Marengo & Paul Egeland

Blue-naped Chlorophonia. Photo: Chris Calonje, audubon.org.

The northern most extension of the Andes resides in northern Colombia in the Guajira peninsula. Take a peek at this endemic rich area of the world as Bill Marengo and Paul Egeland share their birding and cultural experiences from their visit to this area that hosts the Santa Marta (the highest coastal range in the world) and Perija mountain ranges.

Thursday, January 24

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

2019 Trumpeter Award Nominations

Each spring for 15 of the past 17 years, MRVAC has presented the Trumpeter Award to one of its members for outstanding long-term contributions to MRVAC. We are soliciting nominations from you; tell us who you think should be our next recipient. Please send in a nomination by Jan. 31. The selection committee, which is composed of the previous years’ recipients, will review the nominations and forward their choice to the Board. The award will be presented at a subsequent meeting. 

There are two ways to get a nomination form: 

Completed applications can be sent to Becky at markbeckylystig@comcast.net or mailed to Becky Lystig, 1741 Sartell Ave, Eagan, MN 55122. 

Previous Trumpeter Award recipients: 

  • 2001 Karol Gresser
  • 2002 Joe White
  • 2003 Pat & Jack Telfer
  • 2004 Edith Grace Quam
  • 2005 Craig Mandel
  • 2006 John Rehbein
  • 2007 Lois Norrgard
  • 2008 Jack Mauritz 
  • 2009 George Tkach 
  • 2010 Bob Leis 
  • 2011 Anne Hanley & George Skinner 
  • 2012 Steve Weston 
  • 2013 Bob Williams 
  • 2016 Mark & Becky Lystig 
  • 2018 Dave & Rita Baden

November 15: Holiday Auction

Robin Kutz wheels in the food.

Get some of your holiday shopping done, have fun and raise money to support a variety of environmental education projects. Come and bid often, bid high and have fun doing it for our environmental education program!

  • 5:30 pm Drop off auction donations, check out the items on offer and enjoy refreshments. . 
  • 6:45 – 8:15 pm Live auction – Scott Clark & Monica Rauchwarter team up. This is a pairing not to be missed! 
  • 8:15 – 8:55 pm check out and clean up 
  • Why: Raise money for Refuge needs and other environmental education projects 

If you can donate auction items or provide refreshments, thank you!! 

  1. Make plans to drop off your contribution ahead of time. Coordinate with Anne: 952-936-0811(h), anne_hanley90@hotmail.com.
  2. Please let Robin Kutz know if you can bring some snacks. Call her at 612-723-2632 or email robinkutz13@gmail.com.
  3. If you need to bring your items on Thursday evening, please make every effort to deliver them between 5:30 and 6:15 pm so people can preview your items before the bidding starts.

To tempt you to attend, here are some Auction items we know about so far: 

Birding

  • All Seasons Wild Bird Store gift card 
  • Large bag of sunflower seeds

Books, original art and prints 

Food/treats 

  • Nothing Bundt Cakes 
  • Great Harvest
  • Lunds/Byerly’s gift certificate
  • Valley Natural Foods gift card
  • David Fong’s gift card
  • Wine
  • Cookies
  • Home-cooked dinner
  • Bavarian Mints (Rita Baden)
  • Krumkake ($10 per dozen) (Cheri Fox)
  • Homemade Bread

Events and Services

  • Party assistant for graduation event or other festivity of your choice (up to 4 hours)
  • 4 Tickets to Egypt’s Sunken Cities exhibit at Minneapolis Institute of Arts ($80 value)
  • Tickets to live performances
  • National Eagle Center package: admission for 2, NEC mug & small stuffed eagle
  • Personalized coaching: learn how to shop in the bulk aisle at a nearby co-op

December 15: Christmas Bird Count & Potluck Soup Supper

You are invited to join us for the 119th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. All levels of experience are welcome. Young birders with good eyes and ears are especially appreciated as an addition to a team of more experienced birders. Come help us count the birds!

Soup Supper: On Saturday 12/15, gather between 4:30 and 5 pm to help set up for a potluck soup supper at the Diamond Lake Lutheran Church, 5760 Portland Ave 55417. Juice and coffee will be available from 5 to 5:30 and the meal begins at 5:30 pm.

Please bring soup, veggies, fruit, bread or dessert. Please contact Robin at 612-723-2632 or robinkutz13@gmail.com if you have soup-supper questions. You are welcome at the supper whether you counted with the Bloomington CBC or not.

Three counts are associated with MRVAC: 

  • Bloomington CBC – Saturday 12/15
    • The Bloomington CBC (Saturday, Dec. 15) is centered on the Black Dog Power Plant on the Minnesota River and includes parts of Bloomington, Burnsville, Richfield, Eagan, Apple Valley, and smaller parts of other cities.
    • Contact: Greg Burnes, 612-205-3071 gburnes@comcast.net 
  • Excelsior CBC – Saturday 12/15
    • The Excelsior CBC (Saturday, Dec. 15) is centered on the intersection of Hwys 5 and 101 in Eden Prairie and includes parts of Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Chanhassen, Chaska and Shakopee.
      • Contact: Howard Towle at towle001@umn.edu or 612-710-1451 no later than December 8.
    • Alternatively, you can participate in the Excelsior count by helping to cover a portion of Carver Park.
  • Cedar Creek Bog CBC – Sunday 12/16

There are about 80 Christmas Bird Counts being held throughout Minnesota. For more information and to participate in other counts go to: http://moumn.org/CBC/locations_map.php.

November 15: Give to the Max Day

‘Tis the season of giving, and as you plan your charitable donations for 2018, please consider donating to MRVAC. We’ve partnered with GiveMN.org to help make donations quick and easy: https://givemn.org/organization/Minnesota-River-Valley-Audubon-Chapter.

One of MRVAC’s main objectives is to teach children about the importance of getting outdoors, experiencing nature, and caring for wildlife and the environment. To achieve these goals, we provide birding curriculum materials to schools, provide funding to enable busing to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, and conduct and organize river cleanups in the community. We also provide funding to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to hire interns.

GiveMN links donors with organizations that are working to make Minnesota a better place. Its online giving website, GiveMN.org, enables charitable giving any time and any place, allowing people to donate with ease and enthusiasm. GiveMN brings innovation, energy and fresh ideas to Minnesota generosity.

GiveMN is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. Explore GiveMN.org today.

October 25: Wildlife on the Edge – Conservation in New Zealand

Presented by Jordana Whyte: Trustee, New Zealand Sea Lion Trust 

Sea Lions, courtesy of New Zealand Sea Lion Trust (Facebook)

New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most unique and endangered wildlife. After relocating several years ago, “Kiwi-sotan” Jordana Whyte threw herself into conservation in her new hometown of Dunedin, known as the Wildlife Capital of New Zealand, on the South Island. She will share some of her conservation experiences and the treasured native species found on the edge of the world, including the rare Yellow-Eyed Penguin.

Thursday, October 25

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.

September 27: How to find the rare and unexpected birds

Presented by Ben Douglas, http://bigdouglas.blogspot.com

Black-throated blue warbler, Ben Douglas

In 2017, Ben Douglas found 243 species in Washington County, including 3 first and second county records. He will share stories that draw upon previous experience including his 2018 State Park Big Year where he visited all 73 State Parks and Recreation Areas in just 7 months. Ben will explain his process for maximizing his county and year list, finding rarities and show you how you can transform the way you birdwatch. Also, he will share the equipment he uses to easily document his finds. 

Thursday, September 27

  • 7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies
  • 7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Where: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington. Take Hwy 494 to 34th Ave. Go south to American Blvd; turn left and go 2 blocks. Center will be on your right. Enter through the door at the middle of the building.

Public Transit: Accessible by METRO Blue line (Hiawatha light rail). The Visitor Center is a couple of blocks east of the American Boulevard stop.