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April 2016 Audubon Rockies Newsletter
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April 2016 Newsletter

Working to protect birds and their habitat in Wyoming and Colorado.

What's In This Issue?

 

Western Rivers Action Network Check out the recordings of the winter webinars and learn about Rivers Day at the State Capitol.
Community Naturalists 
Don' miss our new educational sagebrush curriculum and tips for providing habitat for birds in the spirit of Arbor Day!
Habitat HeroA 2015 Habitat Hero awardee featured in High Country Gardens, grant recipient and the latest and greatest upcoming events.

Sagebrush Ecosystem - New GIS-based transmission planning tool tries to limit environmental impacts, Golden Eagles continue to get attention!

Upcoming EventsFind community events coming near you!
Bird Bits - Fun, timely and wacky tidbits about birds that you don't want to miss.
Leave a Legacy Establish your legacy with Audubon Rockies!
Chapter Happenings - Local Chapters provide excellent birding, education, and conservation opportunities for the public.  
National News National Audubon Society is featured in this spotlight with their March newsletter and policy advisory.

 Bird Bits

In Death, A Crow's Big Brain Fires Up Memory!
Scientists have known for years that crows have great memories, that they can recognize a human face and behavior, that they can pass that information on to their offspring.  Read full article HERE
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Watch Live, Bald Eagles Nest

Watch HERE
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Report: More Pollinator Species In Jeopardy, Threatening World Food Supply

A major global assessment of pollinators is raising concerns about the future of the planet's food supply.  Read full article HERE

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When Your Day Job Is Counting Eagles & Other Awesome Birds of Prey!

Every fall Hawkwatch International collects stats from hundreds of checkpoints like the one on southwestern Montana's Bridger Mountain, in hopes of piecing together all the numbers to assess the health of raptors across the continent.

Read full article HERE

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Build A Nest Box to Welcome Spring Birds
This week is National Nest Box Week in the U.K. ... let's join the fun! Read full article HERE to for tips on building and putting up nest boxes.

 NEW!  Bird Trivia


Do you know your eggs?
Can you identify the species of each egg type shown above?  To see the answers click HERE

More about eggs:

  • Eggs laid later in a cluth are often more spotted than earlier ones, as the female's store of calcium becomes depleted.

  • Birds that build in trees generally have blue or greenish eggs, either spotted or unspotted. Birds that build in bushes or near or on the ground are likely to lay speckled eggs. 

Photo courtesy of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, Fort Collins, CO.  Fun exhibits like this and many others are available for the whole family!

Support Audubon Rockies
 Establish your Legacy & Help Ensure Audubon Rockies' Future

 

Leaving a gift to protect birds and their habitats is easier than most people think, and we can help make it even easier. It is especially quick and simple to name Audubon Rockies as a beneficiary of a retirement account, life insurance policy, or other financial account. 
 

These gifts:
 
   *Cost you nothing now
   *Enable you to change your beneficiaries at any time, for any reason
   *Require no minimum contribution
 
For more information, request our free guide today by contacting:
John Kloster-Prew at 970-416-6931 or 
jklosterprew@audubon.org
Shari Kolding at 512-236-9076 or skolding@audubon.org
 
You may also download our guides and other information at
www.audubon.org/legacy

 


 

The Roost - Chapter News



Chapter Websites & Newsletters


Colorado Chapters:
Wyoming Chapters:
  • Bighorn Audubon Society (Sheridan) website
     
  • Meadowlark Audubon Society (Big Horn basin) - Spring Newsletter
     
  • Cheyenne High Plains Chapter - April Newsletter
     
  • Murie Audubon Society (Casper) - website
     
  • Laramie Audubon Society - website

Each Chapter is an independent organization of Audubon members that is chartered and annually re-certified by National Audubon Society. 

They provide excellent birding, education, and conservation opportunities for members at the local level. They also often advocate on behalf of conservation at the local, state, and national level.
 

National News


NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY's MARCH NEWSLETTER
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NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY's MARCH POLICY ADVISORY
Happy birding from all of us!



STAFF
     

Alison Holloran, Executive Director
John Kloster-Prew, Deputy Director
Daly Edmunds, Director Policy & Outreach
Dusty Downey, Sr. Regional Community Naturalist
Jacelyn Downey, Sr. Regional Community Naturalist
Abby Burk, Western Rivers Outreach Specialist 
Jamie Weiss, Habitat Hero Coordinator
Zach Hutchinson, Community Naturalist
Sandy McIntyre, Office Assistant

Bird Trivia Answers

Support Audubon Rockies

Western Rivers Action Network


Boulder Creek photo by Abby Burk. "Welcome back spring, streams, rivers, and willows!"

Winter Webinars, a GREAT Success! 


Nearly 400 people participated in the CO WRAN winter webinar series!


If you missed a session check out the recording links below. These links will be active for another month then these resources will be moved to another location (more details to come). Make sure you enjoy these sessions soon, and please circulate to interested friends and organizations! We are already looking forward to 2017, email Abby, aburk@audubon.org, with water topics that you would like to know more about.

River Funding Action Alert - Did You Answer the Call?

 

For our rivers and the habitats we all depend on, keep the momentum of the Colorado Water Plan moving forward. Are you one of the 77 percent of Coloradans that believe the Colorado River and the rivers and streams which flow into it are at risk?* The Water Plan includes important stream management plans and a need for improved environmental resiliency for rivers. However, without adequate funding this critical work stalls and we cannot safeguard the future for our rivers or the environmental, recreational, and economic communities they support. Please circulate this alert and take action here:
* Colorado College. (2016). 2016 Conservation in the West Poll.

Rivers Day at the State Capitol - Can You Make it?  April 14th 10am-1pm

 

Our state legislators need to hear from you (in person) why healthy flowing rivers, birds, and other wildlife matter. Join WRAN leaders, partner organizations, and Audubon Rockies staff on April 14th from 10AM – 1PM at the State Capitol in Denver. Teams of two-three volunteers will meet with water champions and emergent water champion legislators for 10-15 minute appointments. During appointment times, volunteers will emphasize why healthy flowing rivers benefit all water uses and users. Talking points and a brief webinar will be given prior to the Rivers Day at the Capitol.

 
We need you to make this day an outreach success. Let decision makers know you prioritize healthy rivers. River health translates to the health of our families, wildlife, economy, agriculture, and river recreation.  Healthy rivers are at the very heart of what Coloradans value. We need volunteers from both sides of the Continental Divide. If needed, arrangements for lodging in Denver can be accommodated through Audubon Rockies on April 13th.

As soon as possible, please email Abby Burk, Western Rivers Outreach Specialist for Audubon Rockies, at
aburk@audubon.org if you can participate. If you cannot participate in person, could you take action below?

Join WRAN Now

Community Naturalist Program

"Steppe"ing Out with New Sagebrush Curriculum

 

Did you know that the ecosystem known as the sagebrush steppe serves as a nursery for a wide range of wildlife species?  In fact, in just Wyoming and Colorado, the sagebrush ecosystem provides habitat to nearly 450 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.  Because of its importance and because it is one of the most unique systems in the world, a group of partners has formed to provide resources for educators around the West in order to help them teach about their local sagebrush areas.  Currently, a formal educational program is being developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in collaboration with Engaging Every Student, Audubon Rockies, and other partners to help teachers to get students to think critically about the sagebrush ecosystem and ways to protect it and the diverse species that live there.

 
This program can be used in conjunction with Audubon Rockies' current sagebrush education resources including our Traveling Trunks, our downloadable poster and lesson plan, and teacher trainings. If you missed our educator webinar, you can download it at: http://www.fws.gov/greatersagegrouse/education.php and stay tuned for upcoming in-person trainings and a host of new sagebrush trunks.


Tree Swallows photo by Donald Mullaney. 

Arbor Day & Trees as Habitat for Birds

 

It’s spring – and time to celebrate trees with Arbor Day!  This forward-thinking holiday got its start in 1872, when Julius Sterling Morton inspired the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture to accept his resolution “to set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit”.  More than 1 million trees were planted on April 10, 1872, in honor of the first official Arbor Day. 

Trees create valuable habitat for birds by providing a multitude of ecological services.  Nuts, seeds, berries and fruits are important for many bird species, with nuts and seeds making up a good portion of the diet for many finches, jays, nuthatches and chickadees.  Woodpeckers, waxwings, robins, bluebirds, mockingbirds and orioles will all eat berries and other fruits, especially in cold weather.  Native shrubs and trees with fruits that persist on the stem through the winter (rather than falling off when the fruit is ripe) are a great resource for birds during the leaner months. 


 
Decaying trees with hollowed-out cavities make ideal spots for roosting, nesting, and raising young, and dying and fallen trees often provide an abundance of valuable insect food.  Insects are extremely valuable as a protein source, especially for fast-growing fledglings – and they are eaten by more than 90% of all terrestrial birds!  Since many species of insects rely entirely on a single species of plant to reproduce, we can help birds have the diversity of insects they need by maintaining habitats with a rich diversity of plant species.

Native plants and trees are better than non-natives for attracting native insects.  Studies of chickadees reported the birds flying much farther from their nest to reach native tree species like willow, oak and cherry, bypassing non-native trees and shrubs along the way.  The same research showed a noticeable difference in the types of insect communities found in native vs. non-native trees and shrubs, with the native vegetation supporting a greater diversity of native insects, and the non-native vegetation harboring more exotic species as well as lower overall insect diversity. 

Today Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states with tree plantings, park clean-ups, native plant education and more.  In Wyoming, Arbor Day is scheduled for the last Monday of the month (April 25, 2016).  For Colorado, the date to celebrate is the third Friday of the month each year (April 15, 2016).  The
Arbor Day Foundation has event listings, as well as ideas on how to participate on your own.  For more ideas about how to landscape your home, schoolyard, or city park to create habitat for birds and wildlife, visit our Habitat Hero page. 

Habitat Hero Program

Photo by Louise Heern

 

2015 Habitat Hero featured on the Cover of High Country Gardens

 

Boulder, CO - Boley, 2015 Outstanding Habitat Hero Residential Garden

This is a stunning example showing how gardens can create landscapes that are beautiful while providing benefits for wildlife, and sanctuary for humans too!  Boley’s botanical zoo is where all wild friends from inch-long swallow tail caterpillars, to flying blue-eyed darner dragonflies, nesting house wrens and Cooper’s hawks to even the occasional red fox drinking from a bird bath call home!  Her background as a graphic designer with degrees in both botany and zoology, coupled with her enthusiasm to learn more and to get some physical exercise are her driving forces in creating a truly outstanding residential Habitat Hero garden! 

 

Read the FULL Article 

 

$2000 Received from Larimer County Small Grants for Community Partnering

 

Audubon Rockies’ Habitat Hero Program is excited to be one of twelve organizations to receive Larimer County Small Grants for Community Partnering!  According to Larimer County’s website the Small Grants for Community Partnering was initiated in 1997, and is an inherent part of the Natural Resources Open Lands Program as a way to give back a portion of the ‘help preserve open spaces ¼-cent sales tax’ funds directly to communities throughout Larimer County. 

Audubon Rockies is partnering with the City of Fort Collins to install a Habitat Hero demonstration garden at a local park along the Poudre River trail.  Habitat Hero gardens not only offer an aesthetic enhancement, but also provide essential habitat for wildlife, are water-wise and provide a stewardship in the community.

Stay tuned for more details on the date of this volunteer planting project, as we will be calling on volunteers to get their hands dirty and provide an opportunity to help shape the community in which they live!

Upcoming Habitat Hero Events 

 


April 18, 7-9pm: 1st Presbyterian Church, Grand Junction, CO.  Habitat Hero: Wildscaping 101 
Details


April 23, 10am: Penrose Carriage House, Colorado Springs, CO.  Habitat Hero: Wildscaping 101
Details & Registration 


April 30, 9-10am: Gulley Greenhouse & Garden Center, Fort Collins, CO.  Habitat Hero: Wildscaping 101
Details & Registration


Habitat Ambassador Events - The Journey to your Habitat Hero Haven, by Don Ireland

April 2, 11am: Nick's Garden Center, Aurora, CO
April 3, 1pm: Paulino Gardens, Denver, CO
April 13, 6pm: Echter's Nursery & Garden Center, Arvada, CO
April 16, 1pm: Creek Side Gardens, Littleton, CO

For all Habitat Events - visit our webpage HERE

Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative

 

 Western Forum Develops New Geospatial Tool and Golden Eagles Featured

The ability to make a difference in wildlife management continues to expand with improvements in technology!  Since 2010, Daly Edmunds has served as a member of one of the Western Electrical Coordinating Council’s standing committees – the Environmental Data Working Group (EDWG).  Alongside state and federal agency representatives, Tribes and First Nations, other non-governmental organizations, and electric power/transmission industry members, the EDWG works across 14 Western states and portions of Canada and Mexico.  One of the EDWG’s charges is to identify environmental and cultural resource risks related to potential transmission lines. 

 
Transmission Lines and Environmental Risks

New transmission lines provide major benefits to growing communities and are in increasing demand with more renewable energy generation sites, but also involve significant risks such as large capital investments and potential land/resource impacts. Using relevant, authoritative environmental and cultural geospatial (GIS) data can help improve the planning process and diminish environmental conflicts, delays and costs by identifying areas of environmental risks early on.

 
New Product Developed to Reduce Risks Early On

After years of work, EDWG recently released an impressive new transmission expansion planning tool that is free and publicly available on WECC’s website.  The Environmental Data Viewer layers geospatial data representing environmental and cultural risks onto an interactive map.


 

With an increasing focus on regional and landscape scale planning, such as the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service’s recent Greater Sage-Grouse management plans, tools like the Environmental Data Viewer provide a consistent, early planning-stage look at potential issues across state, provincial and other jurisdictional boundaries.  The tool allows prospective transmission developers, conservationists, and other stakeholders to evaluate and mitigate environmental and cultural risks and related costs prior to the siting phase of transmission development – including identifying potential lower risk alternate route options!  WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?  By allowing developers and stakeholders to address risks upfront, future environmental issues and financial costs for new transmission infrastructure are lowered...a win for conservationists and developers.

 
Next EDWG Meeting: Golden Eagles

EDWG meets quarterly, with the next meeting to take place in April.  At this meeting, Audubon is helping to bring Golden Eagle experts together for informational presentations to EDWG members.  Transmission lines pose a varying level of electrocution or collision risk to Golden Eagles (and other birds) and as a federally protected species via the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, they are receiving an increasing amount of attention.  Connecting planners and decision-makers with the community of researchers within the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, state wildlife agencies, and universities who devote themselves to learning more about eagle populations, their interactions with energy development, and dispersal and migratory movements of eagles is an important role for Audubon Rockies.



Upcoming Community Events

 

Gardens on Spring Creek Plant Sale

May 6-8, Fort Collins, CO      
The Gardens will have just what you need to grow a beautiful landscape, bountiful veggie garden, and lively containers this spring!  
More details


High Plains Environmental Center Native Plant Sale

May 14, Loveland, CO | 9:00-3:00      
We have a very large selection of native plants in 4 inch and 1 gallon pots.  We collect seed in Larimer County and produce distinct local ecotypes which are grown without the use of neonicotinoids and other pesticides which are, of course, counter to the focus of preserving pollinators.  Join us for educational booths, live acoustic music, Silver Seed food truck, and more! 
More details

 

Birding Adventure with David Sibley & Ted Floyd

May 29-June 5, San Luis Valley      
Our explorations will take us to wetlands, prairie, mountain forests & waterfalls. We will encounter a varied list of birds with, no doubt, some surprises along the way. Birders at all levels are welcome to learn from two of America’s best ornithologists.
More details

 

7th Annual Bioblitz!

June 10-12, Cheyenne, WY      

Audubon Rockies with the help of the Biodiversity Institute and the Nature Conservancy host an annual Bioblitz event.  Registration link coming soon, stay tuned for details. 

 

30th Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Workshop

June 13-16, Lander, WY      
This is a biennial gathering of Sage and Columbian Sharp-tailed grouse professionals sharing current management and research.
More details

 

Colorado Crush - Audubon Rockies Night!

June 18, Loveland, CO    
Come join us for a fun indoor arena football night - a portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold will be donated to Audubon Rockies.  
Check out the Colorado Crush Indoor Football. More details coming soon!


This month we would like to acknowledge valued sponsors and partners

         

       

AUDUBON ROCKIES' PHILOSOPHY

Through science, education, policy, and on-the-ground conservation, we protect birds and their habitat in Wyoming and Colorado. Where birds thrive, people prosper.


Copyright © 2016 Audubon Rockies, All rights reserved.

Main Phone: (970) 416-6931

Visit us online: rockies.audubon.org

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