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J ULY , 2003

Mobile Bay
Audubon Society A CHAPTER OF THE N ATIONAL A UDUBON S OCIET Y SINCE 1971

VOLUME XXII NO. 4

After a lot of hard work by Sandra Pate, MEEERC Telecomunications


Coordinator, Faulkner State Community College, the Audubon
Contents Society is now on line! Sandra did an excellent job. The site is full of
information about happenings in our area as well as field trips, special
projects, how to contact board members, beautiful pictures of birds
submitted by members of our chapter and much more. Check it out:
Board of Directors ............ 2 http://www.mobilebayaudubon.org/

Environmental Studies
Center Open House ......... 2

Annual Picnic ................... 3 There’s a better way to find


New Members .................. 4 out what’s going on . ..
Alabama’s Bald Eagle
Restoration ........................ 5

Fall Film Series .................. 5

Audubon Adventures ........ 6

Birdathon 2003 ................ 8

Remembering Bachman’s
Warbler ............................. 9

Nocturnal Predaator ......... 10

Backyard Birding .............. 11

Membership Application . 12

http://www.mobilebayaudubon.org/
1
Board of Directors and the actions of many others

2003
Environmental worked, we’ll never know, but
here we are on May 3, 2003 with
John Borom, Ph.D., President
P O Box 432 990-0423 (B)
Studies Center a brand new building and the
program to teach students the
Fairhope, AL 36533 928-5219 (H)
importance of caring for the
Elizabeth Williams, V ice President;
Birdathon and School Film Prog.
Open House environment goes on.
3616 Pepper Ridge Drive It was a great celebration on Highlight of the dedication
Mobile, AL 36693 643-7257
Saturday, May 3, at the Environ- ceremonies was the release of
Bill Jones, Treasurer
742 S Mobile Street mental Studies Center. Not since three rehabilitated birds—a
Fairhope, AL 36532 928-8976
May 2001 had there been an Barred Owl, a Red-tailed Hawk,
Eleanor Livaudais, Secretar y open house at ESC, but it was and a Peregrine Falcon. It was
P O Box 492
Point Clear, AL 36564 928-8967 more than an open house—it was exciting to see them hesitate (as if
Ottilie Halstead, Membership a dedication of the newly reno- they couldn’t believe they were
33 Paddock Drive
vated educational building. free), then fly off into the trees.
Fairhope, AL 36532 928-9537
In July 2001 the roof of the Mobile Bay Audubon was
Delane Small, Editor
1 Fiesta Drive 460-2400 (B) old building collapsed and part of the Environmental Fair
Spanish Fort, AL 36527 626-9700 (H)
although there were no injuries under the big tent. Visitors who
Edwina Mullins, Publicity
and wildlife was unharmed, came by admired the beautiful
4606 N Sunset Drive
Mobile, AL 36608 344-1175 programs for the summer had to bird pictures we displayed; some
Than Morris, Audubon Adventures be cancelled. Portable school took a copy of our newsletter or a
2695 Ponce de Leon Court
Gulf Shores, AL 36542 540-7756 buildings were brought in to past issue of Audubon magazine.
house wildlife, offices, and class- Our Degusa friends gave away
John Porter, Ph.D., Dauphin Island
Audubon Sanctuar y rooms. Lloyd Scott and his staff bird feeder kits and we gave
P O Box 848
Dauphin Island, AL 36528 861-2120 kept the center operating, al- packets of bird seed. Leslie
Elizabeth French, Ph.D., Field though there were rumors that it McElderry entertained many
Trips would close. I never believed it children with her origami skills.
36 Ridgeview Drive
Chickasaw, AL 36611 452-1121 and did all I could to convince She was so patient with the little
Roger Clay, Field Trips one school board member of the ones who tried hard to fold the
P O Box 247 626-5474 (B)
importance of keeping the center paper as she did.
Daphne, AL 36526 928-9047 (H)
open. Whether or not my actions Edwina Mullins
Garland Sims, Special Projects
101 Laurel Street
Fairhope, AL 36532 928-6772

Melvin Long, Field Trips


P O Box 86
Foley, AL 36536 943-8392

Minnie Nonkes, Field Trips


102 Homestead V illage Apt 22
Fairhope, AL 36532 928-0296

Celeste Hinds
11321 Marshall Lane
Fairhope, AL 35532 928-6526

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS

Myrt Jones, Past President


P O Box 850611
Mobile, AL 36685 625-2259

Keith Carter
7362 Tara Drive N
Mobile, AL 36619 666-2506

Nancy Hora
416 LaBorde
Mobile, AL 36609 342-6824

Edith McClinton
170 N Lafayette Street
Mobile, AL 36604 432-4898

2
Annual Picnic
May 17, 2003

Once again the annual picnic at


the Lovell Sanctuary was a huge
success as can be seen from these
photographs. The food was good,
the fellowship great.

3
New Members
Welcome to the Mobile Bay Audubon Society, the local chapter of the National Audubon Society. We thank you for
your support. A few facts about our chapter: Monthly meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday from September thru
May at 7:30 PM alternately in Fairhope and Mobile (See calendar for details of programs and locations.) Programs
of interest are planned for each meeting and field trips are scheduled regularly. We are a non-profit organization–all
donations are tax deductible. A list of officers is listed in the newsletter; feel free to call any of them for information.
Join us as often as you can–we want to get to know you.
Ottilie Halstead, Membership Chairman

Bay Minette Lillian Livingston, TX


Mrs. W N Crosby Hugh W Helms Louis & Marjorie Lewey
Lucia Partin James A Metz Loxley
Terry Peavy Connie N Prout Rose Davis
Chunchula Joe Trapp Mobile
Buford Perry J E Davis
Daphne Robert Gard
Garlene Stevens Iva Penry
Mike Wishinsky Mykhaylo Ruchko
Elberta Orange Beach
Georgia Cattan Bo Davidson
Fairhope Clara Myers
Rose Lauren Belfield Jack E Sutherland
Marjorie Ewing Point Clear
Rosalee O’Connor Dr. A L Thompson-Graves
Foley Saraland
James E Mathews Thomas E Bilbo
Gulf Shores Teddy J Grimes
Debra Evans Sue Lewis
Sonja J Sanders Summerdale
Irvington Hunter Kyser
Karin Wilson Theodore
Kalkaska, MI Robert a Nykvist
E J Singer Transfer into Chapter
George P Goodman

4
In an effort to resore a nesting the Eastern Bluebird. It is a
population of eagles in the state, a demonstration of what dedicated
total of 91 young eagles were conservationists, with adequate
“hacked” and released each spring resources, can accomplish.
from 1985 through 1991 through The majestic Bald Eagle is a
the Alabama Non-game Wildlife regular visitor and attraction at
Program. Hacking is a process that Lake Guntersville State Park and
simulates natural nest conditions the Tennessee Valley. They usually
and provides releases with a mini- begain to arrive in November and
mum of human esposure. spend the winter months in and
Alabama’s Bald There are now 35 nests across the
state. What a remarkable story! The
around the park soaring the skies,
fishing the reservoir and roosting
recovery of the Bald Eagle will go
Eagle Restora- along side the modern wildlife
in the tall pines along the moun-
tain tops.
management success stories of the
tion: White-tailed Deer, the Eastern
from Alabama’s Treasured Forests,
Fall 2002
Wild Turkey, the Wood Duck, and
A Success Story
The numbers tell the story–in
the past 15 years since Bald
Eagles began re-nesting in
Alabama, there have been 209
nesting attempts with 214 young
eagles successfully “fledging” or
leaving these nests. This recovery
of the Bald Eagle in Alabama,
and indeed nationally, has been
one of the most remarkable
success stories in wildlife man-
agement.
Amazingly, prior to 1987 there
were no known Bald Eagle nests
in Alabama. None. Alabama lost
its nesting Bald Eagles when they
declined sharply nationwide in
the 1950s and 60s. As eagle
numbers recovered, a few would
over-winter in our state, but
these birds migrated north to
nest each spring. They were not
“imprinted” upon Alabama for
their nesting behavior. Bald
Eagles have a strong tendency to
return to the vicinity where they
learned to fly when they are
ready to mate and raise their own
young. This occurs when they are
four or five years old.

5
A big bouquet of thanks from the many schools in both Baldwin and Mobile Counties who used Audubon Adventure
Kits during this school year. Monies from the annual Birdathon have provided these helpful and diverse lessons and
plans to grateful recipients over the years.
Audubon Adventures is an educational resource kit for grades 3 through 6 about birds, wildlife, and habitats. Audubon
Adventures helps hundred of Audubon Chapters implement successful educational outreach into local schools.
Audubon Adventurews today reaches 8,000 classrooms, totaling approximately 256,000 students. Audubon Adventures
material are professionally designed to increase awareness and appreciation in children about the natural systems of the
earth and to create in them a sense of stewardship for the natural world.
Thirty-four Audubon Adventures Kits have been requested by the following schools for the next school year:

Stapleton Elementary School, Cottage Hill Baptist School, Mobile—1


Stapleton—3 Christ the King School, Daphne—2
Summerdale Elementary School, UMS Wright Preparatory School,
Summerdale—3 Mobile—2
Swift Elementary School, Bon St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Mobile—2
Secour—1 Daphne Intermediate School,
Foley Intermediate School, Foley—1 Daphne—1
Gulf Shores Elementary School, Gulf Silverhill Elementary School,
Shores—1 Silverhill—1
Magnolia School, Foley—1 Fairhope Intermediate School,
Robertsdale Elementary School, Fairhope—2
Robertsdale—1 Spanish Fort Elementary School,
Rosenton Elementary School, Spanish Fort—1
Robertsdale—1 St. Luke’s Episcopal School,
Central Christina School, Mobile—2
Robertsdale—3 Corpus Christi School, Mobile—1
Marietta Johnson Organic School, Dauphin Island School, Dauphin
Fairhope—2 Island—2

Science topics this year included “Seeing the Forest for More Than the Trees,” “Coasts: Where Land and Sea
Meet,” “Home in the Desert,” and “Freshwater Wetlands.” Four new themes in the Audubon Adventures
series will be released this fall. These are: Grasslands, coniferous forests, fresh water environments and urban
habitats. By examining different ecological settings, students deepen their understanding of the natural world
no matter where they live. Audubon Adventures includes action-oriented content about healthy habitats,
essays, puzzles, word challenges, games and recommended web sites.We welcome you teachers, students and
administrators in our collective effort to enjoy our good Earth and become better stewards. We hope to see
you at our Audubon meetings and on our field trips each month.
Than Morris, Chairperson
Audubon Adventures

6
A few of the teachers’ comments regarding the kits’ relevance and effectiveness are as follows:

“Excellent info. I teach science for “The newspapers were easily “Kits are wonderful when study-
two classes, so was sent two kits incorporated into my science ing environments, habitats and
with 50+ copies of the student program. They were interesting conservation. It also helps explain
magazines. Thanks for the inter- and fun!” migration and weather patterns. I
Theresa Roh Hickey
esting lessons. We enjoyed them.” have enjoyed using the kit.”
Corpus Christi School
Connie Roan Karen Pearson
Mobile
Dauphin Island School Daphne Intermediate School
Dauphin Island Daphne

“Good addition to the curriculum!” “Wonderful addition to our “Wonderful kits. We have truly
Jennie Sisk classroom!” enjoyed them!”
Sandy Downing
Magnolia School Vickie Kilgore
St. Luke’s Episcopal School
Foley Summerdale Elementary School
Mobile
Summerdale

“They are a wonderful resource in “Wonderful!” “Kids really love it!”


my classroom. My students enjoy Gay Crane Amanda Hall
the activities and the newspa- Fairhope Intermediate School Spanish Fort School
pers.” Fairhope Spanish Fort
Susan Mitchell
Fairhope Intermediate School
Fairhope

7
Birdathon 2003
A Great Success Story

Through Birdathon efforts environmental bandwagon. Lois Cassity


this year, we have given $1403.50 Many thinks to everyone who Amelia May
to our Audubon Adventures donated to the 2003 Birdathon. Degussa Corp.
school program. Audubon Our generous donors include: Col Bill Brierly
Adventures is a complete curricu- Mary Toulmin DuPont de Nemoirs
lum enhancement program the Frances VanDeventer Dr. Elizabeth French
teachers use to support the Larrie Pike John & Bev Winn
teaching of science to 4th and 5th Howard Perry, Jr. Minnie Nonkes
grade students. Materials include Helen Barnett Sallie Waldron
lesson plans, hands-on inquiry Ottilie Halstead Mr & Mrs Charlie Bailey
activities, research materials and Lois Brown Erin Wheeler
more. The goal of Audubon Graham Pitts Liz Dugat
Adventures is connecting children Margaret Sturtevent Maud Skiba
to nature in our community. Kay Littlefield Celeste Hinds
As always, Edlizabeth Williams Mary Nah John Porter
was our star counter. She raised Mr. & Mrs. David Learneo Barbara Miller
$1153.50 by contacting family, Edwina Mullins Tom Sterling
friends, neighbors and industry. Dorothy Weis Sirmon & Tina Lee
She says that it’s easy because AKZO Nobel Dr. Robert Kreisberg
everyone wants to get on the Terry Hartley Mary Floyd

8
Remembering Bachman’s Warbler
Vermivora bachmanii (Audubon, 1833)
by John Borom

In July 1833, John Bachman


collected two specimens and saw the Mississippi Valley. There is a are uncertain. No confirmed
several others, of a “new wood record of 21 of the birds being breeding records have been
warbler” a few miles from Charles- killed on March 3, 1889, when reported from the United States
ton, South Carolina. In the same they struck the lighthouse beacon since the mid-1960’s. On March
year the species was formally at Sombrero Key in Florida. 11, 1967, the species was desig-
named after him, by his friend Historic records indicate that nated as endangered in its entire
John James Audubon. Bachman’s Warbler nested in low, range by the U.S. Fish and
Bachman’s Warbler is or was wet forested areas containing Wildlife Service. Bachman’s
one of the smallest warblers with a variable amounts of water, but Warbler is presumed extirpated in
total length of four to four and usually with some water that was Alabama. The last sighting in the
one half inches. The breeding permanent. These areas were United States was in 1988,
male has an olive-green back and described as being forested with although there were eight uncon-
face, throat, and bright yellow sweet gum, oaks, hickories, black firmed reports of the species from
underside. There is a contrasting gum, and other hardwoods; and Cuba between 1978 and 1988.
black patch on the throat and the where there was an opening in the Bachman’s Warbler is or
breast. The female lacks the black forest canopy, the ground was was the rarest songbird in North
patch on the breast and throat covered with dense thickets of America: in the past 45 years,
and the crown of the head is not cane, palmetto, blackberry, only lone birds have been seen at
black. gallberry and other shrubs and widely scattered spots in the
After Bachman found it, it vines. Southeast. Most authorities agree
was not seen again for about half a A 1924 record indicates that if the species still exists it is
century. It was next collected by that five stomachs of this species most likely in the I’On Swamp
Charles S. Galbraith, a dealer in from Alabama contained the area in Charleston and Berkeley
decorations for women’s hats and remains of caterpillars and a few Counties, South Carolina. The
the plume trade, who obtained, at fragments of Hymenoptera, species must be very close to
Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, on probably ants. extinction and possibly extinct.
spring migration, one in 1886, six A dramatic decline in Population densities of
in 1887, and 31 in 1888. abundance apparently began many migratory songbirds have
Bachman’s Warbler is known around 1900, and extended into declined by 50 percent or more in
to have bred in the Southeastern the 1940’s or 1950’s. The cause recent years. One cause appears
United States and to have spent is suspected to have been from the to be the accelerating destruction
the winter in Cuba and the Isle of loss of habitat both in the United of the forests of the West Indies,
Pines. Meager records indicate States and Cuba. Decline may be Mexico, and Central and South
the birds migrated southward in related to clearing canebreak America, the principle wintering
late summer and returned in early habitat for agriculture in the grounds of many of the migrants.
spring. One group apparently Southeastern United States, The fate of Bachman’s Warbler
moved generally along the East overhunting for millinery trade will probably befall other North
Coast, and another group skirted and loss of wintering habitat in American summer residents if the
the Gulf Coast and continued up Cuba; however, reasons for rarity deforestation continues.

9
Nocturnal Predators
by John Borom

Owls are specialized hunters, turning the entire head. This permits owls to fly without
adapted to find, catch and kill capability is well developed, and making the usual “swooshing”
prey quickly and efficiently, and some species can twist their necks sound normally associated with
they have been doing it for ages. over 270 degrees—almost all the bird flight, and they are able to
Owl fossils found in North way around. descend on prey in a silent,
America date back about 60 Owl hearing is as well developed as mothlike glide. Both sexes are
million years. Eight species have vision. Large widely spaced and colored alike, but females are
been documented along the highly developed ears are concealed usually larger and heavier than
Alabama Gulf Coast. behind facial feathers and are males. Drab colors allow them to
Unusual and effective adaptations unrelated to the “horns” or “tufts” blend into the background of
help owls survive. Large retinas used as camouflage by some shaded daytime roosts as well as
make their vision 50 to 100 times species. Ability to focus sound is the darkness of night. Feathers
more efficient than human eyes at enhanced by the shape of the facial on their legs provide insulation
distinguishing small objects in disk, which acts as a reflector to and protect against bites by prey.
dull light. Their retinas are focus sound waves. The ears are An owl grips and kills prey with
packed with light-gathering cells asymmetrical, both in size and its talons. Two of these strong
(rods). The lens is capable of placement, an adaptation believed sharp claws branch off the front
considerable forward and back- to significantly improve ability to toes of the foot, and two off the
ward adjustment. This permits locate prey. Owls hear sounds well back toes, a capability they share
rapid focusing which is useful below the threshold of human with woodpeckers and parrots.
when the owl drops down on hearing, and some species can On the ground, they walk rather
prey. Owls possess binocular catch prey in complete darkness by than hop. If the prey is small
vision: each eye views the same using hearing alone. enough, the owl swallows it
scene from a slightly different The plumage, including even the whole, otherwise, it holds the
angle, and this improves depth large flight feathers, are extremely prey and tears it apart with its
perception. At the same time, soft, dense and flexible making hooked beak and swallows the
owls have little ability to move them appear heavier than they pieces. The digestive system
their eyes and must rely on actually are. This loose texture absorbs nutritious portions and

Barred Owl Barn Owl Great Horned Owl

10
forms indigestible matter (bones,
claws, teeth, feathers, hair and
are fed by both parents.
Most birds begin incubation only Backyard
arthropod chitin) into round after all eggs are laid, however
pellets regurgitated several hours owls start incubation as soon as Birding
later. the female lays the first egg. Birds are a joy to watch. Birds will
Owl pellets, also called castings, Sometimes two weeks may pass come to your yard if you give
can be found under daytime between the laying and hatching them what they need: food, water,
roosts or nighttime feeding of the first and last egg. Young nesting sites and safety.
locations. Pellets can be dissected hatched last will die if the parents Each species of bird has its own
and the hard parts separated from cannot find enough food in the likes and dislikes. To quickly
the hair and feathers. Close area around the nest. They attract a variety of birds, offer a
examination of the items gives cannot compete with the larger variety of food. To keep the birds
insight into the owl’s diet. older nestlings. This ensures that coming back year after year, plan
Owls do not build nests, prefer- surviving fledglings are strong. ahead. Plant flowers and shrubs
ring to take abandoned hawk or During the day, most owls stay in the birds can use for food or
crows nests or use holes in trees or hollow trees or dark, dense stands shelter. Put out a large pan of
banks. They are generally very of vegetation. They hunt mainly water. Plant trees that provide
early nesters, sometimes along the at night, however on cloudy days seeds and places to build nests.
Gulf Coast having young as early or at dusk they scan the ground One of the best ways to attract
as January. This is a remarkable from a convenient perch and birds is to leave dead trees stand-
adaptation, because the birds gain silently fly over the ground ing in your yard. Woodpeckers
a great advantage by having their looking for prey. love them, songbirds sing from
young as close as possible to the Owls usually kill what is easiest to the bare branches–where they are
annual peak of small rodent find and catch, and rodents easy to see. Leave some thickets for
population. This insures fairly provide an abundant source of the birds. Tangled branches are a
easy prey for the inexperienced food. If it were not for the service great place to hide.
young owls. rendered by these birds of prey, Read about landscaping your yard
Owls usually lay three to five the mouse and rat populations of to migrant birds. See how to
white and undecorated eggs. The our state would increase to create a back yard habitat that will
female has the responsibility of disastrous proportions. All make your property more attrac-
incubation, while the male hunts Alabama owls are protected by tive to birds. Finally, use simple
and brings food to the female. state and federal regulations. plans to build a variety of bird
After the eggs hatch, the young houses.
Baby Screech Owls from birding.com

Newsletter
Deadline
Please send your
articles for the
July issue to
Delane Small by
August 21.
Address:
1 Fiesta Drive
Spanish Fort, AL
36527
Email:
dhs9700@bellsouth.net
11
Mobile Bay Audubon Wants You!
Join Us Today!
Every membership supports Audubon’s vital efforts to protect birds, wildlife and natural habitats.
As a member, you’ll become an important part of our dynamic chapter and receive a host of benefits including:
♦ A 1-year subscription (6 bi-monthly issues) of our chapter newsletter.
♦ Automatic membership in National Audubon Society, and a 1-year subscription (4 issues, one per quarter) of
Audubon, its award-winning magazine;
♦ Admission to Audubon Centers across the country
♦ A 10% discount on products at select Audubon Nature Stores, and more!

Yes! I want to join Mobile Bay Audubon and National Audubon Society!

$20 – 1 year Introductory Rate


$15 – 1 year Student/Senior Rate $1,000 – Individual Life Membership
$30 – 2 year Special Rate $1,500 – Dual Life Membership
My check is enclosed. Please bill me.

Name:
Address:
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Telephone:
Make check payaable to National Audubon Society and Mail to: National Audubon Society, Membership Data
Center, P.O.Box 52529, Boulder, CO 80322-2529
ChapterCode: A01
7XCH

“Human population growth is the most pressing environmental problem facing the U.S. and the world.”
John Flicker, President of the National Audubon Society

Permit No. 24
Fairhope, AL Fairhope, AL 366522
PAID
P O Box 483
US POSTAGE
Non-Profit Org. Mobile Bay Audubon Society
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