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Red Tails Jul/Aug 2023

Red Tails News Letter 2023-07
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Click above to download a PDF of this newsletter, which includes all the wildlife photos taken by local photographers. Please note, there is no board meeting in July or August, contrary to what is indicated in the newsletter.

Audubon Refuge Keepers Update

By Margaret Schiffner, ARK Chairman

The CBAS~ARK elementary school program is well on its way to full recovery since COVID. Four schools requested the ARK program this year. Those participating were Longview Elementary and Lakeview Terrace Elementary of Moses Lake, Connell Ellementary, and Hiawatha Elementary of Othello. It is estimated that our CBAS volunteers worked with 320 students in May! There were six classroom programs and seven refuge tours, with 56 adults (parents and teachers) for a total of 376 visitors to the CNWR. At each school program and the refuge tour, there were five or six CBAS~ARK vest-wearing volunteers to oversee this project.

New life for ARK! Because of the work by Twila Herrin, a CBAS Director, our chapter was awarded in March 2022 a grant from the Icicle Fund Community of $12,000 over a two year period. These funds made it possible to purchase new binoculars (our old binoculars were stolen out of storage) and new microscopes to replace outdated ones. The grant also helped cover the costs of hiring drivers and buses for schools not able to cover transportation costs for the refuge tours. CBAS is also hoping it will be possible to do some restoration work on the mounted birds we use for the classroom programs with this grant.

With our long time dedicated members and eight new volunteers, we now have a team of 14 people to continue this program. Again, the Icicle grant made it possible to provide the training tools for the volunteers.

From the Desk of the President

Conservation Update! This past May, our Pollinator Garden/BackyardHabitat Challenge

was offered to the students at both Longview and Lakeview elementary schools, as an optional home project for interested students. It was introduced at each schools’ ARK classroom presentations. From the number of packets requested for “additional information and native seeds”, it looks like we have 16 students and their families working on this independently over this summer and next year! We may have more than one Habitat Hero to report on in the future! See Margaret Schiffner’s report on our ARK program in this issue!

As the highlight of our year, our Annual Meeting held on June 9th was well attended and a perfect evening to hold it outside in Margaret Schiffner’s lovely natural garden. John Moody, our Scholarship and Education Chairman, along with Jacob Towne (who will eventually take John’s place)presented two larger $5,000 scholarships this year to McKinley Fulk and Jared Goetz. Updates on their educational pursuits will be featured in an upcoming newsletter.

Though we have ended our fiscal year, CBAS will remain active this summer, thanks to Margaret Heming leading Bird Walks on the last Saturday of the month! No need to register

for these free events, but for more information, check out our facebook page, website or contact Margaret Heming. Come join the fun! We are featuring Margaret Heming’s photography and a couple articles in this issue. Enjoy!

eBird, a Valuable Birding Tool and Database

By Margaret Heming

Most Audubon members have heard of eBird. Many birders use it to keep track of birds and to follow eBird alerts of rare bird sightings. I submit a birding checklist for each CBAS Bird Walk on the schedule. This article will explain what eBird does, and how to access it. eBird began with a simple idea—that every birdwatcher has unique knowledge and experience. The goal is to gather this information in the form of checklists of birds, archive it, and freely share it to power new data-driven approaches to science, conservation, and education. From being able to manage lists, photos, and audio recordings, to seeing real-time maps of species distribution, to alerts that let you know when species have been seen, eBird strives to provide the most current and useful information to the birding community. To save your bird observations in eBird, you will need to create a free Cornell Lab account. This account works across Cornell Lab projects including Merlin Bird ID, Bird Academy, Project Feederwatch, and the Great Backyard Bird Count. If you already have an account for these other projects, you can use it for eBird, too! No need to create a separate account.

eBird can be accessed at or by using the free app for cell phones. There is a lot of info about how to use eBird at There is even a free, short course to help you get started. Once logged in, you can submit checklists of birds,explore data, and look at My “eBird.” My eBird will keep track of your checklists and the species you’ve seen. I often use the “Search species in this area” feature of eBird. I just enter the species I’m interested in and eBird produces a map of the area that shows all reported sightings for the past 30 days.

eBird Alerts is another helpful feature. On the Alerts page of the website, you subscribe to the Alerts you are interested in. I subscribed to daily Alerts for Grant County, which arrive in my email inbox. The Alerts not only let you know the species and location of rare birds, but who reported the bird. Recently a CBAS member was on ebird-alert emails I received. On May 25th, Lisa Hansen submitted a checklist of 16 species from her outing to Ephrata. The

Rose-breasted Grosbeak was considered a rare bird for that time and location; thus, Lisa’s sighting was included in the alert I received. On May 29th Lisa also submitted a checklist for 34 species at Sun Lakes State Park, including a pair of Golden Eagles.

Sources: by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (some direct quotes) and my experiences using the application

CBAS Bird Walk Report

By Margaret Heming

April 29, 2023 Audubon Trail Bird Walk Gayle Talbot, Paula Zanter-Stout, Tricia Cunningham, and I enjoyed our outing along the Audubon Dodson Road Nature Trail. Saw at least 18 species of birds, plus two turtles. So fun to see three Great Horned Owls, two on nests! A real treat! Also saw a Spotted Towhee and a Savannah Sparrow, feeding on the ground and quick to hide from us. The highlight for me was seeing a group of Swainson’s Hawks soaring and interacting with each other in display flights. Majestic!

May 20, 2023 North Potholes Reserve Twila Herrin and I had a great morning of birding at the North Potholes Reserve. It was a nice, warm day to spend outside enjoying nature. We identified 25 species. It was exciting to hear the Western Wood Pewee, then finally find it up over our heads on a high branch. Some highlights included a melodious Bewick’s Wren, a pair of Bullock’s Orioles, several Great Egrets, and a gorgeous Cinnamon Teal. We will be returning to the Reserve on September 30th for the final walk of the season.

We invite you to join us for the remaining CBAS Bird Walks! Check the website or the Facebook page for more details.

July 29th Crab Creek/Rocky Ford

Aug 26th Soda Lake/Black Lake in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

Sept 30th North Potholes Reserve

Thank You So Much!

We greatly appreciate all of your support! New membersNew members were: Lisa Hansen, Angela Davis, Shelley Parr, Jacob Towne, and Ron Scerbicke. Renewals are also so important!

Renewals are also so important! Thank you: Mona Kaiser, Steve & Jane Stiger, and the John Moody family.

Spotlight on Birder, Margaret Heming

When I was about 13 years old, Grandpa gave me a copy of “A Field Guide to Western Birds” by Roger ToryPeterson. Peterson, a naturalist, and ornithologist pioneered the modern age of bird watching with his field guide. Grandpa also gave me a little birding scope. My dad and I made Bluebird houses in his school wood shop, and we put them up on our old barn. I collected old, used bird nests. When my family moved from Reardan to Cheney, Washington in 1966, my parents obligingly moved my 3 boxes of bird nests for me. I had visions of being a forest or park ranger someday. My early birding was at Sewer Lake by Reardan. I loved bicycling to the lake and enjoying the bird life there. Now a days, Sewer Lake is known as Audubon Lake. It was slated for development, but in 2006 Spokane Audubon and the Inland Northwest Land Trust purchased the land. The lake is 277 acres of wetlands, vernal ponds, grasslands, and channeled scablands supporting more than 200 species of birds and other wildlife, mostly in spring/fall migrations. It is the headwaters of Crab Creek, a Columbia River tributary, and De Creek, a Spokane River tributary. My Grandpa was an amateur photographer with a photo development lab in his basement. He took lots of photos of us 9 kids. So, I guess I was bitten by the photographer bug! I take lots of photos of our kids and grandkids, and birds! Birding really took off as a hobby for me when I retired from teaching about 6 years ago. I really enjoy watching and learning about birds. My “spark” bird is probably the American Coot. Every spring there were always lots of cute little orange Coot babies at Sewer Lake. And for along time, I considered the Bald Eagle to be my totem bird. One of my favorite activities is to help others learn about birds and nature. It is important to make good decisions about how we interact with nature and the environment.

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