MURIE AUDUBON SOCIETY                                                    CASPER, WYOMING
VOLUME 40 - ISSUE 4                   MONTHLY PUBLICATION           APRIL 2006


Ě March 30th send your Best back yard bird for March to Walgrens

Ě April 1 Pathfinder Spring Migration Survey begins

Ě April 7 - General Meeting

Ě April 8 - Hat Six Lek Field Trip

Ě April 11 - Board Meeting

Ě April 14 - May's newsletter deadline

Ě April 20 - Bird ID Class

Ě April 22 Class Field Trip

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(Click on title to go directly to article.  Click on Sage-Grouse at end of article to come back




















    Craig Benkman, Professor and Robert B. Berry Distinguished Chair in Ecology at the University of Wyoming, will be our guest speaker for the April 7th  meeting.  He will provide an overview of the ecology and behavior of crossbills, paying particular attention to the factors contributing to the diversity of crossbills in western North America.

    Crossbills, with their distinctive bill shape (the tips of the mandibles are crossed), are adapted for prying open evergreen cones to extract the seeds.  This specialized dependency on cone seeds limits the distribution of these small birds primarily to coniferous forest habitats.  Climatic and other conditions affecting the production of pine cones also effects the distribution of these birds.  They go where food is available and stay only until the food source is depleted, thus their invasion and irruptive reputation.  New research is revealing that there is further specialization of certain forms, types, or perhaps even species of crossbills that feed on cones from specific tree species.  That is, small-billed birds feed on spruce cones while large-billed birds specialize on pine cones.  As many as nine different forms of crossbills have been identified in North America.  Slight differences in call notes are apparently enough to keep them from interbreeding.    
    Craig received his B.A. at UC Berkeley, M.S. at Northern Arizona University, and Ph.D. at SUNY at Albany. He received National Science Foundation (NSF) and NSERC (Canadian) post-doctoral fellowships to conduct research at Princeton University and the University of British Columbia, and began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at New Mexico State University in 1993. In 2004, he moved to the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming to be Professor and Robert B. Berry Distinguished Chair in Ecology. Until recently he was an Associate Editor of the journal Evolution, and is currently an Associate Editor for the journals The American Naturalist and Functional Ecology. He has been a member of Audubon since 1972. He is also a Fellow of the American Ornithologists’ Union and was president of the New Mexico Ornithological Society for four years prior to moving to Wyoming. At NMSU, he regularly taught introductory biology, ecology, herpetology, avian ecology and evolutionary ecology. At the University of Wyoming he teaches herpetology and occasionally ecology and evolutionary ecology. Most of his research concerns the ecology and evolution of crossbills, and currently he has three grants from NSF to fund this research. He has published over 45 peer-reviewed papers.

    Join us on Friday, April 7, 2006 at 7 pm at the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission Building at 2211 King Blvd.  As always, the program is free and open to the public.       


â Bruce Walgren - Program Chair


For more information, please visit UW Web Site.


    As I write this on the first day of Spring, you couldn’t tell by looking outside!  Well, maybe so, being more of a Wyomingite than any other state “ite”.  However, the birds know something I don’t cause everyday more and more species are showing up and soon migration will be in full swing - always an exciting time of year.

    Your board has decided to rent a storage facility to house our records, displays and memorabilia.  If you have kept any of the above because you didn’t know where to take them and didn’t want to throw them away, please contact Bruce or Donna Walgren and arrangements will be made to pick them up.

    Audubon Wyoming and Murie have again teamed up to hold beginning bird ID classes.  Look for the schedule HERE.

    Pathfinder Spring Migration Survey will be starting soon.  Look for the info. HERE.

    The Garden Creek banding stations will be up and running in June, July, & August.  Info. will be in the May newsletter.

    I’m in need of door prizes for the April and May General Meetings.  Any offers out there?

    Remember to bring your used printer cartridges and complete greeting cards with birds on them to the general meetings.


â Rose-Mary King, President


    We are still getting snow flurries, but northward movement of birds is picking up speed.  The House Finches have been singing for some time now, and reports of Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins abound.  Ann Hines reported Mountain Bluebirds and American Kestrels at EKW and Ring-necked Ducks and Ruddys at the Puddle.  Chris Michelson had a Greater Yellowlegs at EKW, plus he notes that the Canada Geese are probably paired by now.  The Lawrences had a Say’s Phoebe and Ross’s Goose at Grey Reef; they also found an assortment of gulls at the JTL Ponds in Casper:  Herring, Thayer’s, Franklin’s, Ring-billed, California, a Glaucous juvenile, and a 3rd year Greater Black-backed!  (Plus a Double-crested Cormorant). 

    Looking back at the 2004-05 winter season, Cornell Lab’s Project FeederWatch data showed an unusually large number of Varied Thrushes leaving their typical western winter areas for points east.  Also noted was an unprecedented northward range expansion of the Red-bellied Woodpecker.  The FeederWatch project has been tracking declines of House Finches in much of North America, along with decreased numbers of House Sparrows and Evening Grosbeaks.  The 04-05 winter data indicate a continuation of these declines.  The FeederWatch report also tallied the top 5 feeder birds in the Northern Rockies (our area):  1) Black-capped Chickadee, 2) Downy Woodpecker, 3) Dark-eyed Junco, 4) House Sparrow, 5) Black-billed Magpie.  (Evening Grosbeaks were notably scarce.) 

    A couple reports from February:  Lonnie Frimann says his Curve-billed Thrasher made it through the winter again on his ranch north of Scottsbluff, NE (including a -35o night); Lonnie says the bird is now singing up a storm.  Anna Moscicki saw a pair of Short-eared Owls hunting over the prairie near Crowheart (and saw one snatch up mouse!).

    February Yard Birds – For the month of February, Wayne and I received 196 yard bird selections from 20 states and the Yukon Territory, with 73 different species reported.  Red-winged Blackbirds are starting to make their appearance; but the big change from last month is the definite increase in the number of robins reported!!  The number one yard bird choice emphasizes this – American Robin (25 reports!!)  In second place is Red-winged Blackbird.  Third place was a tie between Hairy Woodpecker and Song Sparrow.  We don’t usually look at fourth place, but February’s results were interesting:  an 8-way tie between the following species:  Bald Eagle, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Goshawk, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk, and Townsend’s Solitaire.                                                    

Casper:  Jim Herold – American Robin, Pat Classen – Dark-eyed Junco, Cecil Foote – White-crowned Sparrow, Chris Michelson – Sharp-shinned Hawk, Rose-Mary King – Cedar Waxwing, Joanne Odasz – Blue Jay, Frank Odasz – Song Sparrow, Bob Yonts – Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bart Rea – Song Sparrow, Arlene Carr – Brown Creeper, Doris Von Holdt – Blue Jay, Dick Von Holdt – Northern Flicker, Bruce Walgren – Bald Eagle, Donna Walgren – Cedar Waxwing; Big Piney:  Tim Gorman – Common Raven; Buffalo:  Deane Bjerke – Cooper’s Hawk; Cheyenne:  Barb Gorges – American Robin; Douglas:  Billie Snell – American Goldfinch; Dubois:  Anna Moscicki – Hairy Woodpecker; Evanston:  Patti Gorman – House Finch; Lovell:  Glen Olsen – Eurasian Collared-Dove; Riverton:  Bob Hargis – Northern Goshawk, Suzanne Hargis – American Tree Sparrow; Story:  Bob South – Red Crossbill.

    Thanks to all who helped with the Yard Bird Project in February!!  Though winter still has not given up here in Wyoming, it is showing signs of weakening – the crocus are blooming in my yard, some of the hardier vegetation is beginning to show some green, and as noted, the robins and red-wings are moving northward.   Send your yard bird for March to Donna Walgren (ph. 234-7455), 4311 S. Center St., Casper  82601, or email to bwalgren_AT_coffeyDOTcom.  Thanks again!!                

    “On April nights when it has become warm enough to sit outdoors, we love to listen to the proceedings of the convention in the marsh.  There are long periods of silence when one hears only the winnowing of snipe, the hoot of a distant owl, or the nasal clucking of some amorous coot.”  Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac


âDonna Walgren



ý    President: Bruce Walgren


ý    Vice-President: Jim Brown


ý    Treasurer: Chris Michelson


ý    Recording Secretary: open*


ý    Corresponding Secretary: Lois Layton


Directors (expiring 2008)

    ý     Bob Yonts

    ý Merlyn Herold


Director (expiring 2007 -- replacing Peg Cullen)

    ý Donna Walgren


âNominating Committee - Jim Brown and Bart Rea

Murie Audubon/Audubon Wyoming Sponsored Bird ID Classes

Classes start at 7 PM at the ACGC.

April 20     Waterfowl & Water Birds  Stacey Scott

April 22     Field trip - Soda Lake

May 11       Birds of Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park (EKWSP) Chris Michelson

May 13       Field trip - EKWSP

June 22      Casper Mountain birds  Gloria Lawrence

June 24      Field trip - Casper Mountain

FEES (all classes & field trips):   Audubon members - $10.00, Non Audubon members - $25.00.

Everyone is invited to attend! For more information please email Ken Keffer, (kkeffer_AT_audubonDOTorg) Casper Community Naturalist, or call 473-1987.


Return to From the President's Desk


    According to the latest information about Audubon Adventures, the price per class room for the 2006-07 school year will be $45.65.  That is an increase of $4.50 per classroom.  I have enrolled several classrooms for the comingschool year.

    The education committee has received one application for the scholarship to EcoTracs Discovery Camp at Trail Lake Ranch. The camps will run Monday, June 26 through Friday, June 30.  Kids, check with your Audubon Adventures teachers for more information about a scholarship.


â Ann Hines, Education Chair


Summary of Birds {order listed below – Species, Held over (#), Released (#), Total (#)}

American Coot 0-1-1; American Crow 0-1-4; American Kestrel 0-2-4; American Robin 0-12-38; Black-billed Magpie 0-1-1; Blue Jay 1-0-7; Bohemian Waxwing 0-0-2; Broad-tailed Hummingbird 0-1-1; Brown-headed Cowbird 0-0-1; Burrowing Owl 0-0-1; California Gull 0-4-8; Canada Goose 0-1-1; Chukar 0-1-1; Clark’s Nutcracker 0-0- 1; Cliff Swallow 0-1-1; Common Grackle 0-3-13; Common Nighthawk 0-0-2;Common Poorwill 0-1-1; Common Yellowthroat 0-1-1; Ferruginous Hawk 0-1-2; Gray Partridge 0-0-1; Great Horned Owl 0-1-2; Greater Sage-Grouse 0-0-1; House Finch 0-1-10; Mallard 0-1-2; Merlin 0-0-1; Mountain Bluebird 0-0-6; Mourning Dove 1-2-8; Osprey 1-0-1; Peregrine Falcon 0-0-1; Pied-billed Grebe 0-0-1; Red-shafted Flicker 0-4-6; Red-tailed Hawk 2-0-3; Rough-legged Hawk 0-0-3; Ruddy Duck 0-1-1; Short-eared Owl 0-0-1; Western Meadowlark 0-0-1; White-breasted Nuthatch 0-1-1; Wood Duck 0-5-5.

Totals – 5 Held over, 47 Released, 146 Received.

âMerlyn Herold


    These sleek gray and brown birds with a regal head crest are notorious for their unpredictability.  Here in Wyoming, Cedar Waxwings are considered common residents, though Dr. Scott remarked that “calling them ‘resident’ may be stretching it.”  They are quite variable in their movements and where they choose to nest, but still are not as erratic as Bohemian Waxwings, which are classified as common winter visitors.  As Jim Lawrence noted in an article in this publication several years ago, Bohemians may be seen in large numbers one year and be totally absent the next year.

    Waxwings get their name from the red waxy-looking “droplets” on the tips of their secondary flight feathers.  Early observers thought these droplets looked like the red sealing-wax used to seal letters.  Their color comes from the carotenoid pigments in the fruit the birds feed on.  David Sibley (in The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior) comments that these same pigments produce the red or yellow coloration in the feathers of House Finches.  These “droplets” are unique to the Waxwing family, and also are only found on adult birds.  Sibley also notes a recent shift in the band color on the tip of the tail of Cedar Waxwings from yellow to red, especially in the eastern United States, where, since the 1960’s, an exotic species of honeysuckle shrub has become widely established in landscaping.       

    There are only three species of waxwings to be found worldwide – and all are in the northern hemisphere.  The Bohemian Waxwing is classified as holarctic because it is found all around the world in this zoographic region.  (If you want to bone up on all kinds of terms and info relating to birds and their habitat, a handy reference book is The Birdwatcher’s Companion to North American Birdlife, by Christopher W. Leahy.)  The Japanese Waxwing is found in Eastern Asia, and the Cedar Waxwing is found only in North America.       

    Waxwings feed primarily on fruits, with insects making up a small percentage of their diet (mostly when the nestlings are very young).  The Cedar was so named because of its fondness for the berries of eastern red cedar (actually a juniper); it is noted in Bent’s Life Histories that this bird was frequently called Cedarbird.  In fact, most of the waxwings’ behavior centers around fruit and its availability.  They are highly social and feed in flocks throughout the year.  When not nesting, the flocks move around seeking out fruit crops.  As Sibley notes, during this time, waxwings may occur virtually anywhere within their range. 

    Pairing takes place within migrating flocks.  In late winter and spring, Donald and Lillian Stokes suggest watching for a pair of Cedar Waxwings doing the “Side-hop display” (A Guide to Bird Behavior, vol. II).  The male makes a side-ways hop toward a prospective mate with a berry in his beak; she may take the berry, hop away and then back, and then pass the berry back to him.  This little “dance” goes on until one of them finally eats the berry. 

    The waxwing’s breeding season is later than most birds, at the time when many of the fruits and berries are ripe.  Since pair formation takes place within the migrating flock, upon reaching the breeding grounds, the birds immediately begin nest-building.  The Cedar’s favorite habitat is open woods along streams where they may find aquatic insects and fruiting shrubs. 

    It may be hard to predict when Cedar Waxwings will be in your neighborhood, but keep an ear out for their most commonly heard call – a high-pitched hissing whistle that the Stokes refer to as the Seee-call; this will alert you to their presence in the area.  After locating the flock, see if you can find any pairs doing the Side-hop display.  You could be on your way to becoming an ethologist!! (a zoologist who studies the behavior of animals in their natural habitats)


âDana Spizella


âDonna Walgren, Recording Secretary

As always, the Board welcomes input from the Murie membership; please send us any comments and suggestions you may have, or come to the Board meeting!!


Subject: Audubon Wyoming’s Spring Migration Monitoring at Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge

Dates of Program: begin week of April 1- end May 31st (surveys conducted once per week)

Information:  Attention bird enthusiasts and outdoorsmen!  Are you interested in learning more about how you can help the birds in your area? 

      Would you like to become part of a team that does on the ground conservation work?  Our bird monitoring program is a great way for you to get involved.

      Audubon Wyoming is conducting spring bird migration surveys at Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge once a week from April 1– May 31, 2003 and NEEDS YOUR HELP!  Volunteers will survey the Steamboat Lake Interpretative site (located just off of Highway 220) for migrating birds.  Surveys will be conducted in the evenings and are easy to fit into busy schedules.  

      If you would like more information about getting involved with the Spring Migration Monitoring at Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge, please contact Audubon Wyoming’s Conservation Programs Manager, Alison Lyon-Holloran (aholloran_AT_audubonDOTorg, 307-745-4848) or local Casper Community Naturalist Ken Keffer (kkeffer_AT_audubonDOTorg, 307-473-1987).


âAlison Holloran


Return to From the President's Desk


    I don't know much about the balance of young birders to old birders these days, but I do know that seeds planted early may bear fruit in later life.

    I can recollect to some birding interest dating back to grammar school days (1933-1941) mostly connected to bird pictures found in Puritan Bakery loaves of bread. This bakery was located in Ocean Park, CA where I spent a great deal of my childhood. These bird pictures were somewhat like those put out by Church and Dwight Co. in their product. I believe this would be like the Audubon Adventures that we have today in our schools; anything that stimulates the young and eager to learn minds. You would think with all the gulls floating around the school yard at noon time, I would have been attracted to birding. What an awful bird to use as an attractant! We called these birds the Ocean Park Bombers for good reason. Have you ever been splat upon by a bird? Have you ever been attacked by a blackbird wanting a strand of your hair? Unfortunately, I didn't have anyone to direct me and tell me why these birds did such horrible things, and sports seemed to be my bent. My folks couldn't afford to buy Puritan Bakery bread, so I had little chance to get those beautiful bird pictures. The one I remember was the Western Bluebird. Instead we bought Helms Olympic bread at the Helms' Day Old Bakery product store in Culver City. They would fill a pillow case with 4-5 loaves of bread, some pastries, and sometimes a cake, all for twenty-five cents!

    My next venture into birding was about 1970, when a member of my forest inventory crew turned out to be a birder from New York. I saw my first Western Tanager in woods on the east slopes of the south part of the Big Horn Mountains near Poison Creek that summer. I did do a little birding from then on with the help of the Golden Press A Guide to Field Identification, Birds of North America. Birding took an upswing in 1978 when I was on a BLM Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) team. Two members of the team were from the USFS Douglas office. One member in particular was adept at identifying birds. He was also responsible for the bird list that the USFS had for the Thunder Basin National Grasslands. I spent many a noon hour looking for birds, all because of those two fellas. All this seems to have led to Dr. Oliver Scott's bird identification class held at Casper College. Verna (my wife) and I took that class in the late 70's or very early 80's. We probably took it a few times, as many "true" birders did. The class was somewhat geared to the availability of the birds to be found at the moment, Dr. Scott had a regimen then. There was the Kistler's cabin on the mountain, the Layton's home on the flat, the Amoco Puddle in season, Ayers Natural Bridge, and Garrett's. I remember taking my binoculars to class so I could "see" the birds. I would sit 30 feet away and zero in to see the details. Also around this time, Dr. Scott began teaching a bird identification class at Western Wyoming College. Through that class he met Forrest Luke, a local birder, and Marie Adams and so journeys to Rock Springs began. As I recall these were usually only one day birding trips in the early stages. They were mainly in the spring so we could see targeted birds.

    The target birds to be found at the named places above were pretty much governed by the time of year. For instance yellow warblers was expected to arrive around May 15th, give or take a bit. So we would hit North Platte River Park as it was known at that time expecting to see yellow warblers.

    The main place in Rock Springs at that time was an area to the south and to the west off of SH 430 called Bed Mattress Hill or Trash Can Hill by the locals, but don't quote me on that. The access to the hill was rutted and gullied and best suited to 4WD’s. So what were we doing driving a Plymouth Arrow in that sort of terrain? It just happened to be the only vehicle we owned capable of long journeys. We were also capable of doing a great deal more walking then we do these days.

    We almost always stayed at Motel 6 with a very early breakfast at Denny's. Dr. Scott liked to get an early start on his birding, so it wasn't unusual to be at breakfast at 5:00 AM in the "dark of night".

    I don't remember what the group mix was when we first started making trips to Rock Springs, but it surely included Bud Stratton, Lucy Rognstad, and Elmer and Jean Parsons. I'm not sure what the trip entailed as so many variations came about over time. I'm sure Little Fire Hole wasn't a part of the first trip to Rock Springs. The road through Little Fire Hole at that time wasn't the greatest and if it rained, which it often did at that time, the road was like a greased pig and impassable. One certainly took his life into his own hands if he attempted to drive it.

    The target birds mainly consisted of Gray Flycatcher, Bewick's Wren, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. I'm sure we saw other birds, but these were the important ones. We were in ticking mode and we sought specific birds in specific places with little variation.

    After a few years, I don't remember ever going back to Bed Mattress Hill as more attention was given to Little Fire Hole, Seedskadee, and Fontenelle Dam. Also Jim Bridger ponds raised their heads, as well as expansion to Jackson Hole and Ocean Lake. Then there were exotic places like Tower Junction in Yellowstone National Park, where we sought the Harlequin Duck; a beauty unto itself.     


The Hummer





June 23-25 and you are invited!

    At the end of our very successful 5th Campout, we decided for 2006 we would head for the hills--the Black Hills. In Wyoming this part of the Black Hills National Forest is known as the Bearlodge.

    We will be able to use the Reuter Campground above Sundance. For those of you without tents, the Sundance motels are nearby.

    The campout will feature birding for a purpose. Audubon Wyoming Conservation Program Manager Alison Lyon-Holloran hopes bird lists we provide can be the basis for an Important Bird Area nomination. Forest Service wildlife biologist Mark Stefanich can make use of the information as well.

    The Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory completed five years of  bird surveys last year. Go to Blackhills to access the reports compiled by Arvind Panjabi. There is also a bird guide, or checklist, you can print. You'll notice all the species for which more information would be appreciated, such as Three-toed Woodpecker, Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and Golden-winged Warblers. There's even a possibility for Flammulated Owls--the stars of last year's campout.

    The Web site has this additional description:  "The Black Hills represent an ecological crossroads, with wildlife and plant species typical of habitats of the Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, northern boreal forests, and eastern deciduous forests. The forest is dominated by ponderosa pine, but also includes dense spruce stands and areas of aspen, birch and oak. White-tailed deer and mule deer are common, and elk are encountered less often. Mountain lion sightings are rare, but coyotes are frequently heard yipping and howling at night. Goshawks and osprey nest in the forest and bald eagles may visit in the winter. Many songbird species are present, including brilliantly colored mountain bluebirds and western tanagers. Look for more information on Black Hills wildlife and plants soon on this site."

    The other purpose of the annual campout, as important as collecting bird information, is to meet Auduboners from around the state and other birders. We hope to meet Wyobirder Jean Adams if she is recovered well enough from her December accident. We also hope to meet Dusty and Jacelyn Downey, the AW Community Naturalists who are working to get a Gillette Audubon chapter started. 

    The general schedule will include arriving Friday afternoon/evening, birding beginning Saturday morning, a Saturday evening potluck and campfire program (unless we go looking for owls again) and possibly some more birding Sunday morning.

    If you have any questions, ideas and/or wish to be on the list for further information, please contact me.


âThanks,  Barb Gorges, Cheyenne-High Plains Audubon Society,, 307-634-0463


1.  Which species is considered the largest owl in North America?(Tim Avery Photo)

      A. Great Horned Owl                 C.  Long-eared Owl

      B.  Snowy Owl                              D.  Great Gray Owl

2.  Which species has the most widespread range in North America?

      A.  Burrowing Owl                      C.  Long-eared Owl

      B.  Barn Owl                                 D.  Great Horned Owl

3.  Which species is the smallest owl?

      A.  Northern Saw-whet Owl      C.  Northern Pygmy-Owl

      B.  Elf Owl                                     D.  Flammulated Owl

4.  If you see a white owl, you can confidently identify it as this species.

      A.  Boreal Owl                              C.  Snowy Owl

      B.  Elf Owl                                      D.  Barn Owl

5.  Which species occasionally moves south from its regular wintering area to “invade” northern portions of the United States when its cyclic prey populations decline dramatically?

      A.  Northern Pygmy-Owl            C.  Flammulated Owl

      B.  Long-eared Owl                      D.  Northern Hawk Owl

6.  Which species may be seen may be seen hunting during daylight hours?

      A.  Barred Owl                              C.  Burrowing Owl

      B.  Northern Pygmy-Owl            D.  Elf Owl

7.  This owl migrates in winter to parts of Mexico where insects are more plentiful?

      A.  Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl      C.  Short-eared Owl

      B.  Whiskered Screech-Owl       D.  Flammulated Owl

8.  Which small owl displays two false “eyes” on the back of its neck, which may deter would-be predators from attacking it from behind?

      A.  Eastern Screech-Owl             C.  Northern Pygmy-Owl

      B.  Northern Saw-whet Owl         D.  Elf Owl

9.  Which species is known for its ability to locate and capture live prey from deep beneath the snow?

      A.  Snowy Owl                               C.  Great Horned Owl(Release 9-27-05 from SCWR, Inc.)

      B.  Great Gray Owl                      D.  Boreal Owl

10.  This small owl may be easily identified by the fact that it has dark eyes.

      A.  Eastern Screech Owl             C.  Elf Owl

      B.  Flammulated Owl                   D.  Western Screech-Owl


âDonna Walgren


    Saturday, April 8, Hat Six Strutting-Grouse Lek.  Meet at 5:30 AM in the eastside Safeway parking lot.  Carpooling is encouraged to limit impact on sage grouse.  Wyoming Game & Fish will be working at this lek but their work will be done mostly at night.  If there will be a conflict, we should know by the General Meeting the night before.



    Cheyenne - High Plains Audubon Society members will be heading for the Goshen Hole area up around Torrington to find migrating water birds Saturday, April 1. The field trip is free and open to anyone interested in birdwatching.

    Participants can meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens parking lot in Lions Park, or at 9 a.m. at the Lyman, Neb., Post Office to rendezvous with Jane and Bob Dorn and members of the Wildcat Audubon Society of Nebraska. 

    Carpooling may be available. This is an all-day, but open-ended field trip which means you may return home at any time if you provide your own transportation. Dress for the weather and a little walking. Bring lunch and water and also binoculars and spotting scope if you have them.

    For more information, please call Art Anderson, 638-1286.


    National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Symposium March 7-11, 2006 at Costa Mesa California - What an intense 4 days of training!  Lynn Herold and I attended as many different lectures as possible trying not to overlap so we could come home with as much training and information as possible to benefit Wyoming’s wildlife.  On Wednesday morning a General Session was held from 8:15 - 11:30 and classes ran  12:15 - 9:30 PM.  Thursday’s classes ran from 7:30 AM - 9:00 PM.  Friday’s classes started at 7:30 AM and ended at 5:00 PM  with a banquet in the evening.  Saturday’s classes began at 7:30 AM and ended at 3:00 PM with a wrap up General Session.   Most classes were 1 hour in length with workshops lasting 2 hours.

    I attended water bird classes from 2-6 on Wednesday afternoon.  The highlight of these classes was how to handle rehabilitation of one oiled bird when you are no located in an area where oil spills happen and do not have the support of other rehabbers and governmental agencies.  This is germane to SCWR because we received California gulls this past summer who had fallen in cooking oil barrels outside of Casper fast food restaurants.  I also attended a Songbird Splinting Lecture in the evening - a requirement for the workshop the following morning.

    Thursday morning bright and early at the songbird splinting workshop, I got quite good at putting several kinds of splints on a “dead” Mourning Dove; I even made a little “snow shoe” to support the foot if the toes have been injured.  Now, if the need arises at SCWR, can I get a splint on a live bird’s fractured wing or leg?  Only time will tell!

    The remainder of Thursday was spent attending a wound management class and 1-5 at songbird classes.  The highlight of this afternoon was the class entitled Reuniting Nestling and Fledgling Songbirds with Their Parents.   A rehabber from a center in Alabama led this class and it was very helpful.  Lots of well meaning people will bring hatchlings, nestlings, and fledglings to rehabbers convinced that the parents have abandoned their young.  Sometimes one or both parents have been killed and/or the nest has fallen or been knocked out of the tree.  But more often the parents are in attendance caring for their young.  If it is suspected that the parents are not coming to the nest, you must watch that nest CONSTANTLY for at least two hours, not just occasionally!  The Alabama WRC has a program to return the “babies” to the nest from where they came.  If the nest is intact, the birds are put back in and the site is monitored until the parents return to feed.  If the nest is in shambles, as much as possible is put into a plastic berry container, attached in the tree where it was found and again monitored.  At least one parent has returned in many cases!  In the case of raptors where it may take longer because the nestlings wait longer to start their feeding calls, recordings have been made of feeding calls and played in the area of the returned “babies”.  That has been quite successful in bringing back the parents even after two or more days!  Mother and Father Bird do the best job!

    Friday was about mammals.  I attended a Mammal Fracture Immobilization Lecture in order to attend the corresponding workshop.  At the workshop I immobilized all four limbs on a dead rabbit.  Again, we shall see if I can assist at SCWR on a live mammal!  Another highlight class on Friday was Animal Artifacts as Educational Tools.  Using preserved wings, talons, beaks, etc. will greatly add to the educational classes that Merlyn and Lynn conduct during the off season.

    Saturday’s classes were a hodge-podge for me - water birds, songbirds, crows.  The most interesting to me was a class on Beak Overgrowth in Wild Birds.  This is a disease I knew nothing about and the researchers don’t either yet as to the cause and treatment.  There is research being done in Alaska regarding beak overgrowth in Black-capped Chickadees.  In all the effected birds, either both parts of the beak grow or the upper or lower part only grows.  However, the bird’s ability to eat - whether it be hawks tearing apart meat or chickadees opening seeds - is greatly hampered.  Starvation and death is usually the result.

    I learned a wealth of valuable information and what I didn’t retain, I have either the handouts, notes, and/or manuals.  Thank you, Merlyn and Lynn, for this great opportunity.


âRose-Mary King - SCWR, Inc volunteer


1. This is sort of a trick question – the Snowy Owl is the heaviest owl, but the Great Gray females measure the longest.

2. (D)      3.  (B)     4.  (C)     5.  (D)     6.  (B and C)     7.  (D)     8.  (C) 9.   (B)   10.  (B)

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