February 23: The Elegance of our Tallest Birds: Cranes, Herons & Egrets

For 30 years Stan Tekiela has been traveling to study and photograph the annual migration of Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska. In this engaging presentation, which also includes Whooping Cranes, herons and egrets, Stan will show you his award winning images of these magnificent birds and talk about their epic migratory journey. He will also speak and show his images of the endangered Whooping Crane which makes a similar journey from northern Canada to the Texas coast.

Thursday, February 23

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.

Holiday Auction & Give to the Max Raise Money for Educational Projects

We had a very successful and entertaining Holiday Auction at the Refuge Visitor Center on November 17. We raised a little over $3,000 which is 50% higher than the previous 2 years.

Our fabulous auctioneers, Mark Lystig and Scott Clark sold about 100 items donated by members as well as these generous companies:

  • Abdallah Candies
  • All Seasons Wild Bird Store (Minnetonka)
  • Bakers Square
  • Bloomington Arts Center, (aka Artistry)
  • Chanhassen Dinner Theater
  • Cornerstone Copy Center, Burnsville
  • Eagle Optics
  • Gertens
  • Great Harvest Bread Company
  • Kah-Née-Tah Gallery and Cottages, Lutsen
  • Lunds/Byerly’s
  • Milio’s Sandwich Shops
  • Northern Rail Traincar Inn, Two Harbors
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes, Eden Prairie
  • Old Log Theater (Excelsior)
  • Refuge Friends Inc.
  • Valley Natural Foods Co-op (Burnsville)

We also raised about $2,000 on Give to the Max Day which is a little more than we raised last year. We want to thank everyone who donated either at the auction or online.

2017 will be the 50th year since the chapter was officially incorporated and we have some exciting projects that we are working on to mark the occasion. This money will help fund these as well as the grants that we typically give to the Refuge and other worthy organizations for their efforts.

January 26: Fledgling Northern Saw-whet Owl Migration

Carpenter Nature Center is a well-known birding hot spot with a yard list of more than 200 species but with no reliable Saw-whet Owl sightings. In 2014 Carpenter Nature Center joined “Project Owl-net”, an international effort by licensed bird banders, to monitor seasonal Saw-whet Owl movements. During the very first evening of monitoring the team encountered a first year female Saw-whet Owl that was originally banded in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Hear Jen Vieth explain more about Saw-whet Owls and Carpenter Nature Center’s fledgling owl monitoring project.

Thursday, January 26

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.

Northern Saw-whet Owl Migration Study

northern-saw-whet_owl_kameronperensovich_flickrcc_314Jen Vieth, Executive Director at the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, will discuss the migration habits of the Northern Saw-whet Owl.  talk includes photos of birds at their nests and diagrams showing how nests are made. Clay is the always entertaining author of The Birdman of Lauderdale based on the many columns he wrote for the local Park Bugle newspaper. His publisher has made copies of his book available for free to attendees of this program.

Thursday, October 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.

117th Christmas Bird Count (CBC): December 17 & 18

MRVAC members encouraged to participate!

young-birdersYou are invited to join us for the 117th 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 with good ID skills. Come help us count the birds!

Three counts are associated with MRVAC:

After counting on Saturday 12/17, 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.

Nuthatch

The Bloomington CBC (Saturday, Dec. 17) 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. If you would like to help count in this area, contact Bart Anderson (see above).

The Excelsior CBC (Saturday, Dec. 17) 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. If you’d like to help count in the SW Metro area, please contact Howard Towle or Bill Marengo as noted above.

Alternatively, you can participate in the Excelsior count by helping to cover a portion of Carver Park. Please contact Kirk Mona (the naturalist at the Lowry Nature Center) no later than December 10 if you would like to arrange to bird a specific portion of the park: Kirk Mona, Naturalist, Lowry Nature Center at 763-694-7650.

For the Cedar Creek Bog CBC (Sunday 12/18) in northern Anoka and southern Isanti counties, please contact Steve Weston. There are not expected to be many openings available to participate in this count.

Holiday Auction: November 17

Auction2015-1Our annual holiday auction fundraiser is coming up! Please think about what donations you could collect for the fundraising auction Thursday November 17. We could especially use a few larger items like a boat trip, use of a cabin, a homemade dinner or a behind the scenes tour.

Please email the committee with your ideas or let us know in advance about your contributions so we can mention them in our publicity: Monica Rauchwarter (Monica.Rauchwarter@ThreeRiversParks.org), Greg Burnes (GBurnes@comcast.net) or Anne Hanley (anne_hanley90@hotmail.com).

Birds’ Nests: HOW do they DO that?

by Clay Christensen, Birdman of Lauderdale

Thursday, October 27

7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies

7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Visitor Center

OrioleJJAudubonHow does a Baltimore Oriole make that graceful hanging nest so high up in the tree? What is a woodpecker cavity nest like inside? What birds nest in tunnels? This talk includes photos of birds at their nests and diagrams showing how nests are made. Clay is the always entertaining author of The Birdman of Lauderdale based on the many columns he wrote for the local Park Bugle newspaper. His publisher has made copies of his book available for free to attendees of this program.

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.

Social Learning, Signaling, and Deception in Blue Jays

by Virginia Heinen, University of Minnesota

Thursday, September 22

7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies

7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Visitor Center

BlueJay

Being in a social group has advantages: by watching others, you can learn where the food is and save time searching for it yourself. But social learning is not always the best option: what if your social partners are wrong, or what if they’re trying to deceive you? Research from the Stephens Experimental Ecology Laboratory explores how blue jays balance social and personal information, manage cooperative feeding and what happens when a signaler wants to lie.

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.

Potluck Supper & Birding at Richardson Nature Center: Thursday, June 9

SmorgasbordThe MRVAC potluck picnic will be held the second Thursday of June – June 9th at Richardson Nature Center in the Aspen and Bluestem rooms (we’ll have room for 50 people).

Everyone is enthusiastically invited to join in: eat, hike, bird and visit with other MRVAC members and friends!

The room is rented from 5pm-8pm, so you may arrive with potluck items any time after 5pm and we’ll plan to eat at 6pm. Birding can be done either before or after supper, whatever works best with your schedule

  • Please bring a salad, fruit, main dish or dessert to share. Lemonade will be provided.
  • To help make this a minimal-waste event, please bring your own plates, cups and cutlery.
  • Be sure to bring your binoculars for birding before or after the potluck.
  • For questions about the dinner, contact Robin Kutz at 612-723-2632 or robinkutz13@gmail.com

Non-members are warmly invited; bring your friends and bring yourself – take this opportunity to introduce someone to Hyland Park or to MRVAC or take advantage of this time to get acquainted with other members at this mostly-social event.

If you have questions about how to find Richardson Nature Center, call before 5 pm for help with directions: 763-694-7676.

The B.S. of Bites and Stings: How Invertebrates Love Us

by Dr. Ann McKenzie, MD

Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Visitor Center

Thursday, May 26

7:00 pm: Socialize with coffee and cookies

7:30 pm: A brief MRVAC business meeting followed by the featured speaker.

MosquitoOur speaker is a family physician with a passion for biology, natural history, and animal behavior. She will share her knowledge of human reactions to invertebrate actions. She is familiar with many bites and stings, eliciting them to study, and even encouraging her children to keep a Bite List with attendant bragging rights.

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.