Come help: Join MRVAC's annual Christmas Bird Count

It’s citizen science at the most interesting, and the Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter needs your help.  There's food involved, too!

The Bloomington Christmas Bird Count will be Dec. 17, 2022. Counting generally is attempting to do a census of all the birds seen and heard in a count area. There are 20 areas within Bloomington’s count circle, which centers on the intersection of Hwy. 13 and Hwy. 77.  MRVAC and could use a few more counters to ensure full coverage. If you're interested in participating, please fill out this participant questionnaire, which will help us distribute counters evenly:  2022 Bloomington CBC Participant Questionnaire. It should only take a few minutes to complete.

After the count, we will gather at the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, where folks can warm up and share results over hot soup, hot dishes, and hot drinks. We will provide soup, coffee, and tea. Please feel free to bring something to share, as many do. The gathering will start at 4:30 p.m. at the center, which is at 3815 American Blvd. East in Bloomington.  Enter through the side door. Contact Dave and Rita Baden at (952) 445-4353 with any questions regarding the post-count gathering.

Count results can be submitted by email, USPS mail (extra points for bird stamps), or in person at the post count gathering. Contact your count circle coordinator, Liz Stanley, at lizmstanley@gmail.com.

 


October program: Northern Red-tailed Hawk research

Duluth has been a hot spot for diverse – but not well-studied – types of Red-tailed Hawks. Utilizing microsatellite markers and satellite transmitters, Alexandra Pesano, a UMD master’s student, has been able to increase understanding of the geographical origins and subspecies classification of dark-morph-plumaged birds and the B.j.abieticola (Northern Red-tailed) subspecies.

Join us in person at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, to socialize over cookies. A brief business meeting followed by the featured presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will conclude before 9 p.m. The MVNWR Bloomington Visitor Center is located at 3815 American Boulevard East in Bloomington. By car, take Hwy 494 to 34th Avenue and go south to American Boulevard. Turn east (left) and go two blocks. The center is on the right. It is accessible after a short walk from the Metro Blue Line (Hiawatha Light Rail) at American Boulevard. Enter at the middle door (not the main entrance). MRVAC meetings are free and open to the public.

This meeting (starting at 7:30 p.m.) will also be available by Zoom but limited to first 100 participants. To Join by Zoom click on this link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89328113901?pwd=b0MzQTBwL1UwbkUxN3J5WHRzK1FaQT09
Meeting ID: 893 2811 3901
Passcode: 588381
One tap mobile:
+13126266799,,89328113901#,,,,*588381# US (Chicago)
We are also planning on having a recording of this meeting available on our website a few days later.


Birding weekend fundraiser a hit!

By Bob Williams
MRVAC Board member

This year’s Aug. 27-28 fundraiser was a great success, and MRVAC thanks you for helping raise funds for birds and their habitats!

Although we only received two checklists, we raised $1,293.60, which memories say is a new record. Matt Holberg reported the most species and Dan Ahlman reported several interesting species, including Sandhill Cranes, six species of shorebird, Common Loon and Neotropic Cormorant. The highlight of my day occurred at the end when I arrived at Murphy-Hanrehan Park in Scott County. I got a great look at a Hooded Warbler and heard a Barred Owl hooting in the woods.

Thank you all for participating.


September IN-PERSON Meeting: Secret lives of the Voyageurs Wolves

MRVAC's September 22 program will be our first-ever joint in-person and streamed meeting, resuming our in-person meetings after the pandemic.

Thomas Gable, with the Voyageurs Wolf Project, will address a gap in understanding wolf ecology.  "Understanding the Secret Lives of Wolves in the Northwoods" looks at what do wolves do during summer in forested ecosystems? This question has remained elusive despite decades of research. With the help of advanced GPS-tracking technology and remote video cameras, the project has been able to get an unprecedented look at the summer wolf ecology, revealing new wolf hunting behavior and showing how variable wolf summer diets are. Come learn about the complex and fascinating lives of these elusive wolves in the north woods.

Join us in person at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, to socialize over cookies. A brief business meeting followed by the featured presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m.  The meeting will conclude by 9 p.m.  The MVNWR Bloomington Visitor Center is located at 3815 American Boulevard East in Bloomington.  By car, take I-494 to 34th Avenue and go south to American Boulevard. Turn east (left) and go two blocks. The center is on the right. It is accessible after a short walk from the METRO Blue Line (Hiawatha Light Rail) at American Blvd. Enter at the middle door (not the main entrance). MRVAC meetings are free and open to the public.

This meeting (starting at 7:30 p.m.) will also be available by Zoom (limited to first 100 participants). To Join by Zoom click on this link:
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/75809135166?pwd=gsoK5qpAmVzX0U8LyyUYSbdfm72ld7.1
Meeting ID: 758 0913 5166
Passcode: cBt2Re

We are also planning on having a recording of this meeting available on our website a few days later.


Take advocacy action -- here's the link

MRVAC encourages its members and other conservation and birding advocates to be engaged citizens, which includes ensuring that their representatives in the State Legislature and in the U.S. Congress get behind bills that are important to the environment.  Need help?  You can sign up for Audubon Minnesota's action alerts here: Take Action | Audubon Minnesota

That page also contains your representatives' contact information should you want to contact them with or without from an action alert.

 

 


It's the Bird-a-thon weekend -- Aug. 27-28

Heads up! (That way you can see the fall migrants better, eh?)

This is a reminder that the 2022 Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter Birding Weekend is Aug. 27-28. Visit your favorite birding spots on either Saturday or Sunday and keep a list of all the species you identify that day. Send us a complete list of the birds you find. Small prizes will be awarded to the birder who identifies the most species, and to the birder who IDs the most unusual bird. Results will be published in the Trumpeter, MRVAC’s newsletter.

If each reader can contribute or raise at least $25, we will be able to achieve our fundraising goal of $1,000. There are two ways to contribute: Elsewhere on MRVAC.org are ways to contribute online or you can mail a check made out to MRVAC to P.O. Box 20400, Bloomington, MN 55420.

Questions?  Contact Bob Williams at drbop6789@gmail.com or by text at 612-991-0727. Be safe out there and enjoy the fall migration!


Yay! It's time for the Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah

If you like hummingbirds – and who doesn't – you’ll have a blast at the Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah Aug. 20.
That’s this Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., rain or shine. Speakers will be Al Batt, Donald Mitchell, Larry Pfarr and Amanda Vogel. There will be kids’ activities so bring the whole family. Located less than an hour away from Bloomington, Henderson is located on the Minnesota River in Sibley County.
The Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah is free and open to the public with vendors, food and raffle prizes. But the highlight as always is watching Donald Mitchell net, band and release hummingbirds.
Sponsored in part by MRVAC, the hurrah was the dream of Dolores Hagen, a longtime resident of Henderson, MN who passed away in 2016. In 2008 she organized the first annual hurray, which has been held nearly every year since. Bender Park in Henderson has a garden specifically to attract hummingbirds so you can sit and watch hummingbirds buzz around the feeders and sipping from flowers.
Traveling from the Twin Cities, the best route is to come down County Road 6 on the west side of the river as Highway 19 is closed from Highway 169 to the river. It is about an hour's drive from the south metro. MRVAC will once again have a table at this event staffed by board members Doug Mayo, Matthew Schaut and Bob Williams so be sure to say howdy to them.
More info? https://www.hendersonhummingbirdhurrah.com/


Partial recording for June program: Fishers in Minnesota

Here's a link to the recording of most of Michael Joyce's presentation on fishers in Minnesota.  Michael is  a wildlife ecologist at the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He described the history and current status of fishers and highlight current research into fisher ecology and management in Minnesota.

Fishers, a mid-sized carnivore in the weasel family, were nearly extirpated from Minnesota in the early 1990s. Since then, fishers have reestablished across the state and recently expanded their range into southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities Metro.

The meeting is free and open to the public.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eHKIvLd0ypad4AcM7qtOFIcSMoML9bMB/view?usp=drive_web

 


MRVAC awards more grants

By Lee Ann Landstrom

Environmental action and conservation chair

The MRVAC board of directors ended MRVAC's fiscal year by awarding more grants.  Kennedy High School received $2,000 to purchase 600 native plants for a new pollinator-friendly rain garden, which was planted by 40 volunteers May 14. They hope to add an informative sign, perhaps a rain barrel and complete further projects to support wildlife on school grounds. Stop by and check it out.

Normandale Community College received an additional $3,000 to install additional anti-bird strike window treatments beyond their original project scope. Staff reports reduced bird fatalities because of the dotted film that overs most of the building’s north-facing wall of windows.

The Hastings School District received $3,000 to add with other funding sources to create and fabricate a large, four-panel kiosk on their property at the “180th Street Marsh.” Students as well as the general public use this popular conservation land.

These organizations have thanked MRVAC for the funding, much of which come from the generosity of our members through fundraising efforts.


Recording of MRVAC May Program: Kim Eckert Updates 5th Edition of "A Birder's Guide to Minnesota"

Kim Eckert, one of Minnesota’s preeminent birders, will give a preview of the fifth edition of A Birder’s Guide to Minnesota. The program is Thursday, May 26, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.  The publication is a county-by-county guide of more than 1,400 birding locations with an annotated list of all 447 Minnesota species with numerous identification tips. It includes references and resources, a directory of birding contacts for each county and regular online updates with corrections and additions. Kim served for more than 30 years on the MOU Records Committee since its inception in the 1970s.  In 1996 he launched the Minnesota Birding Weekends and Weeks program of tours throughout Minnesota and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada, which is now in its 37th season.

Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter presentations are free and open to the public. Feel free to share the link with friends.

The recording of the session is here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/0IlC7oPd84Vlfxc3DISC2ZTat66kL6oLhi6cy1djdtgVSL2JE0XDcy3Rpt4OKxED.i_Q2-dQi2usywl98
Passcode: mh4JYP*5