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Red Tails Mar/Apr 2023



Click below to download a PDF of the newsletter, which includes photography by our local bird photographers!

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CBAS Bird Walk/Field Trip News -by Margaret Heming


Hello fellow bird and nature lovers! CBAS is planning to host 6 bird walks/field trips from April through September of 2023. The first will be April 29th. The destination will include the Audubon Dodson Road Nature Trail and Birder’s Corner. These locations are part of the

Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway, which is included in Washington Audubon’s “The Great Washington State’s Birding Trail” project. If you have one of the brochures, you can look these locations up on it. Or just google it! The Coulee Corridor features more than half of Washington’s 346 annually recorded bird species. Here is the link if you are interested in more information. I’m open to member input if you have good birding locations that the group would enjoy. My goal is to have the other 5 events planned in time for the next newsletter. You may contact me through Facebook and see event info on the CBAS Facebook page as it becomes available. Also call or text: 509-475-3143.


From the Desk of the President - by Gayle Talbot


They say that change is a good thing, and if that is true, CBAS is really great and will continue to grow with these changes!


Our first issue of 2023 saw a very colorful upgraded look to our “Red Tails” newsletter . . . and this second issue of Volume 33 will again look different! Our CBAS board voted to entrust our “Red Tails” newsletter design and printing to a school with a graphics design class in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The cost is an incredible savings, even with having the newsletters bulk mailed to us in Moses Lake and then mailed to you! I hope you like it!


Many thanks to teacher Lena Cooley and student designer, Trevin Murillo! Also, thanks to my techie son, Dan Talbot, for all of his help in adding the articles and photography into the Google Drive for the creation of this issue. (see their school’s ad in this issue).


Another change involves our website. As Trudy Doolittle, our web designer, was looking to retire from this responsibility, due to health concerns, my daughter, Naomi Hanvey, has volunteered to redevelop and oversee our website, with hopes of training me to manage it. (Naomi was also the one to give me the lead on the KTEC graphic design class).


Grus canadensis (Sandhill Cranes) - By Margaret Heming, CBAS Bird Walk Field Trip Coordinator


The 25th annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival is nearly here. The 2023 event is happening March 24th, 25th and 26th in Othello, with tours in surrounding areas. The website has all the pertinent information: othellosandhillcranefestival.org. The Facebook page is very helpful also. To contact, email is best: othellocranefest@gmail.com. 509-989-5606


Like many people living in Grant County, I thoroughly enjoy the migrating Sandhill Cranes that come through our area in the spring and the fall. While researching this article I learned a lot of interesting facts about these big, loud omnivores. The birds were named for the

Sandhills of Nebraska. Apparently one-fourth of Nebraska is made up of plant-anchored dunes mostly to the north of the Platte River. This area is a major stopover for Sandhill Cranes. Kearney, Nebraska is known as the Sandhill Crane capital of the world. Over 500,000 cranes can arrive there. There is a Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival in January near Nashville. And the Wings Over Wilcox festival in Arizona celebrates the cranes as well as other birds. There are also festivals in California and Colorado and New Mexico.


Sandhill Cranes breed in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Washington state even has about forty breeding pairs in Klickitat and Yakima counties! Most of the Greater Sandhill Cranes are migratory, but some subspecies are nonmigratory. Sandhill Cranes can be hunted in New Mexico, Arizona, and 14 other states. But the subspecies in Mississippi and in Florida are protected due to low numbers. Sandhill Cranes were almost hunted to extinction by 1900, but now are the most numerous crane species in the world. One of the biggest threats to the migrating cranes is that they are dependent on key stopover sites, so are vulnerable to loss of habitat in the future.


Sandhill Cranes are a delight to watch and to listen to. They stand 34-48 inches tall with a wingspan of over 6 feet. The call is a loud rattling kar-r-r-r-o-o-o. You will never forget the experience of standing under an airborne flock of Sandhill Cranes! Being omnivorous, they eat seeds, plants, grains, rice, insects, earthworms, mice, snakes, lizards, frogs and crayfish. The oldest Sandhill Crane lived to over 37 years. And the earliest Sandhill Crane fossil found in Florida dates to 2.5 million years ago! My personal experiences with Sandhill Cranes include a wonderful trip to Water Draw in Arizona last February.


Since we winter in Yuma, it was a five hour drive to the White Water Draw Wildlife Area.

There were probably over 10,000 cranes at the site, plus Snow Geese, and assorted ducks. In February of this year, I went on the Yuma Audubon field trip to Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, where we saw hundreds of Sandhill Cranes, lots of Snow Geese, and hundreds of

Yellow-headed Blackbirds. And of course, I’ve seen the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge’s cranes in the spring and the fall many times.


In conclusion, a few more interesting facts for you. Sandhill Cranes mate for life and return to their nesting sites year after year. They lay two eggs, and both parents share the incubating duties. The cry of the Sandhill Cranes is among the most distinctive sounds of the animal kingdom. They can fly up to 400 or 500 miles a day. And they dance! Sandhill Cranes are

considered the most accomplished dancers in the animal Kingdom (other than people).


On the Road Again with CBAS! - by Margaret Schiffner, ARK Chair, and Treasurer Newsletter Chair, and Treasurer


CBAS members are thrilled that life is coming back to normal. This spring, members are looking forward to taking part in the following events:

  • Tuesday, February 28th, CBAS members are scheduled to present our ARK classroom program to the Columbia Basin School Retirees Association at Pillar Rock Grill restaurant in Moses Lake. (This presentation was canceled back in March 2020).

  • Tuesday, March 21st is scheduled as the training day for volunteers, who enjoy working with elementary youth and would be interested in helping with the CBAS - ARK school program. ARK (Audubon Refuge Keepers) introduces grade school students to the habitats and wildlife on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, near Othello, and explains why the US Wildlife Refuges are so important in saving our nation’s wildlife. CBAS volunteers are still needed for working with four schools this spring, and with hopes to double that in 2024. For more information, call Margaret Schiffner at 509-765-6374.

  • Saturday, March 25th, members will oversee the CBAS information booth at the Sandhill Crane Festival in Othello. See related article on Sand hill Cranes in this issue.

  • Saturday, April 22nd, CBAS is planning to be an exhibitor at the 6th Annual Columbia Basin Eco-Gardening Symposium, at CBTech (Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center) in Moses Lake.

  • Saturday, April 29th, Bird Walk with Margaret Heming. See related announcement in this issue

In Memory of Sharon Moody


CBAS members wish to extend our deepest condolences to John Moody and family, in the passing of wife Sharon on December 7, 2022. She was born on March 3, 1943 in Tucson, AZ. Sharon met John while they were college students at the University of Arizona. Sharon was pursuing her love of library science and later worked at the libraries of the University of Arizona, Arizona Western College, and Tempe McClintock High School.


John and Sharon were married on August 22, 1964. She was a devoted wife and mother, participating in family activities with John and sons, Stephen and Charles, and later daughter-in-law Brandy. Sharon supported John in his volunteer work, of which CBAS was one. John has served as the Education/Scholarship Chairman for over a decade. Sharon helped with the annual membership meetings in June, where the CBAS Scholarship program was the main feature.


One of Sharon’s greatest joys was volunteering at the Alabaster Box Christian Book Store in Ephrata. This is the town that she and John lived in for three decades. Over the past 13 years, they would spend Christmas and the winter with family in Yuma, AZ, and most of spring through autumn with family and friends in Seeley Lake, Montana, where they had also lived for several years.


Our prayers and thoughts are with the Moody family.


Spotlight on Lisa Hansen Bird Photographer


Lisa was one of the “real” photographers who joined us on our first Bird Walk with Margaret Heming, last September. Her bird photography on our Facebook page is always gorgeous! When asked if she could share her early spring bird photos in this issue, she was eager to do so! Lisa says that she has so many bird pics that if we ever need a specific one, she probably has it! Thank you Lisa for sharing your artistic photography!


Thank You So Much!


Central Basin Audubon Chapter members deeply appreciate all the support that has made it possible to continue our education programs to

encourage the public appreciation and value of wildlife.


Membership (and renewals): Roy and Judy Warnick, Linda Murphy, Mary Davis

Donations: Delores Clark, John and Sally Gardner, Moses Lake Lions Club, Ben and Polly Duke, Benjamin Dewitt Duke, Give Lively Foundation.


And to all those who wish to remain anonymous.


Bird Sightings in the Basin


The following is recent data from a few bird photographers’ postings on our Central Basin Audubon Society Facebook page:

Thank you to Paula Zanter-Stout (PZS), Lisa Hansen (LH), and Angela Davis (AD).


  • Sparrows (checking out Bullock Oriole nests in Grant County) PZS

  • Common Goldeneye & Northern Shoveler (McManamon Rd, Othello) AD

  • Goldfinch (Backyard 20 mi south of Moses Lake eating Birch seeds) PZS

  • Trumpeter Swans (two landing on Lind Coulee) AD

  • Robin (perfectly perched with gorgeous sunset in background) PZS

  • Snow Geese (in mass on Potholes Reservoir) AD

  • Sharp Shinned Hawk & juvenile Bald Eagle (near O’Sullivan Dam) PZS

  • Ducks (many in foggy flight at Grant County cornfields) PZS

  • Immature Northern Shrike (Backyard 20 mi south of Moses Lake) PZS

  • American White Pelican (just chillin’ in Ephrata, WA) LH

  • Kingfisher (Frenchman Hills waterway, Grant County) PZS

  • Northern Harrier (in flight in Grant County) PZS

  • Trumpeter Swans (on iced O’Sullivan Dam Reservoir) PZS

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