Keeping you informed about cool bird stuff in & near central Kentucky.

2015 Picnic Pot Luck Breaks Records

We had a wonderful large crowd for the annual CKAS Picnic and Pot Luck last month at Masterson Station Park. Usually, we hold this event on a weekend; moving to a weekday seemed risky. But with crazy summertime schedules, perhaps the weekday was a wise move: it was our largest turn-out in years!  After enjoying some great burgers, excellent side dishes, and super-evil desserts, several CKAS members took a walk to view the area toward the front of the park which we still hope can be used for habitat restoration. Getting a good view of the area was difficult as large swaths of space are grown up with fairly tall non-native grasses (good for red-winged blackbirds, but not much else). If we can work it out, we'll replace these non-natives with bluestems and native forbs. We also took a distant look at the nearby silos which we'd like to use for Barn Owl box placement. Everyone agreed that the two projects--habitat restoration and establishing better Barn Owl nesting space--seem to go nicely together.

Audubon's "Hummingbirds at Home" Needs Your Help!

With technology widely available today we can all become citizen scientists, spending a few minutes each week to collect data in our communities that will be invaluable for researchers. The smartphone in your pocket can be used as a high-tech data collection device, complete with GPS, camera, timer, and internet capabilities. Hopefully you've already heard of Audubon's Hummingbirds at Home, a continent-wide effort to track hummingbirds and identify what plants or food sources they prefer. It's free to participate and free to download the easy-to-use reporting app to your smart device. By joining and reporting data, you can become part of a network of citizen scientists helping uncover how hummingbirds are affected by climate change and providing the information necessary to devise actions to help them. In some ways, it's like eBird, but specific to hummers and their prefered nectar sources.

A quick survey of this year's data, however, shows that few CKAS members are actually chipping in to help report hummingbird sightings. The one report from Lexington for the year reads: "No Birds Seen, No Plants Seen." Sigh. No reports from Woodford County. No reports from Scott County. Only one report from Jessamine County. The exception to the norm is Boyle County, approaching two dozen reports so far this year! Bravo to Boyle County! But Danville's not the only place with hummingbirds! There are over 500 people on this e-mail list, and over 900 members of CKAS... Let's finish the summer strong -- download the app and start reporting your hummingbird sightings!
A Summer Tanager sings near the river overlook at Raven Run.

Letter from the President

It's been a big fiscal year for CKAS: the first in several years where we've come out in the black. Much of the year's budget success can be attributed to our successful participation in last year's GoodGiving Challenge, which raised over $3400 towards our general fund and our endowment. A huge thanks again to everyone who pitched in time, effort, and (of course) donations to make the endeavor such a success. We have already put in our application for the 2016 Challenge, and we'll know by the end of this month whether we've been chosen to participate. Fingers crossed. It's an easy way for CKAS supporters to lend their financial support, and to have that support matched by the Challenge sponsors! We'll keep you posted.

But part of last year's financial success stemmed from having fewer project expenses. There are pros and cons to this. Pro: we saved some money; con: we could have gotten more done. Example: we probably need to set up a task force to address the Barn Owl box winery project. There are over a dozen wineries in our central Kentucky membership area, but we've only set up boxes at two so far. I will plan on bringing the winery map to an upcoming meeting with the goal of making a plan for the future--both immediate and long-term. Moving forward will take contacting some winery owners, visiting their vineyards to see what sort of box installations would work best, and then setting to building and installing. The boxes we've set up so far have not yet attracted a barn owl, but we're hopeful since we know he owls are in the area. The greater the number of suitable nesting areas, the more likely a pair of owls are to take up house. So let's make it a priority for next year.

Eggs found in the Kestrel box at Talon Winery. Unfortunately, not Kestrels. Starlings?

Upcoming CKAS (& Other) Events    
July 10-13th (Fri.-Mon.) National Audubon Society Convention Lansdowne Resort Leesburg, Virginia. NAS’s biennial leadership Convention.
July 11th (Sat.) 11:00am-12:00pm: Backyard Baddies Wild Bird Unlimited 152 N. Locust Hill, Lexington. Join WBU for a humorous discussion of feeder thugs and reprobates, and how to deter them.
July 11th (Sat.) 9:00pm+: Night Hike McConnell Springs 416 Rebmann Lane, Lexington. Join the Park Naturalist and staff for a night hike looking for nocturnal residents. Please call (859) 225-4073 to preregister.
July 17th (Fri.) 6:00pm+: Fund for the Arts 2016 Campaign Finale Cheapside Pavilion Cheapside Street, Lexington. Join the LexArts for the announcement of its 2016 Community Arts Development recipients. CKAS has applied for a grant to help support funding an artist or two as keynote speakers at next year's Bluegrass Birding Festival and we expect there will be good news.
July 18th (Sat.) 7:30am-1:00pm: Bird Walk (w/ASK) Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill 3501 Lexington Road, Harrodsburg KY. To carpool, meet at 7:30 am in the parking lot of Palomar Center (near Wild Eggs).  DO NOT BE LATE!  Or meet at 8:15 am at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in the parking area immediately to the left of the entrance by the pond.     
July 24th (Fri.) 8:30pm-10:30pm: Creatures of the Night Raven Run Nature Sanctuary 3990 Raven Run Way, Lexington. Join Raven Run naturalists to learn about the habits and folklore of wildlife active at night.
Aug. 5th (Wed.) 7:30pm-10:00pm: Swift Chimney Stake-Out Old Courthouse 215 W. Main St., Lexington. Care to drive aimlessly around downtown looking for a good swift roost for the weekend's count? We'll meet at the old courthouse, split up to stake out likely roosts, then meet back at the courthouse to pick the best chimney for A Swift Night Out.
Aug. 9th (Sun.) 5:00pm-9:30pm: Swift Night Out  Location TBD on Aug 5th, Lexington. Join us in downtown Lexington for dinner (restaurant also TBD) and A Swift Night Out Chimney Swift count.
Aug. 22nd (Sat.) 9:00pm-11:00pm: Creatures of the Night Raven Run Nature Sanctuary 3990 Raven Run Way, Lexington. Join Raven Run naturalists to learn about the habits and folklore of wildlife active at night.
2015 Annual Picnic & Pot Luck. Attendees were surprised how good a vegetarian burger can be! Thanks Whole Foods deli!
"That's not a bird!"
Tony makes a hog-nosed friend
at Floracliff's BioBlitz


Most serious birders enjoy the Spring and Fall walks over those held in the heat of the summer. Certainly, migration periods provide a lot more species variety. Consequently, there are considerably fewer walks scheduled for a month like July. But that doesn't mean the birds aren't out there! Most people don't realize that Kentucky is the best-ranked** place in the United States to find nesting Acadian Flycatchers, Yellow-Throated Vireos, Worm-Eating Warblers, Kentucky Warblers, Prairie Warblers, and even Louisiana Waterthrush. Many of these species can be found right now in central Kentucky if you know where to look.

Checking eBird data maps will give you clues to locations and consulting All About Birds to identify your target bird's preferred habitats will help you know where to look. Spending time familiarizing yourself with the bird's call helps as well. So don't let the heat of the summer slow you down! Pick a species and get birding!

** Results compiled by Greg Miller, based on 1900-2012 eBird data reports.
You can help support us by simply shopping like you normally do!  CKAS has been added to Kroger's Community Rewards® Program charity list. Each year, Kroger gives millions of dollars to Kentucky non-profits through its free Rewards® Program. If you shop at Kroger and have a Kroger Rewards® card, you can help us qualify for these funds by logging on at and linking your Kroger Rewards® card to Central Kentucky Audubon Society under the Community Rewards section of your Account Settings. (It's easier than it sounds -- just a few clicks!) Doing this will not affect the way you accrue fuel points in any way; you still keep all your rewards and gas savings. But your points will also count as our points, helping us to a bigger cut of Kroger's charitable donations. You can make sure you have activated your Community Rewards® sponsorship by checking the bottom of your next Kroger receipt: it should say "At your request we are donating to Central Kentucky Audubon Society."
524 Rosemont Garden | Lexington KY 40503
You have received this e-mail because you are a member of the National Audubon Society (and its local chapter, the Central Kentucky Audubon Society, formerly the Buckley Hills Audubon Society) or because at some point in the past you have expressed interest in keeping informed about the goings-on of our chapter. If you have received this post in error and/or no longer wish to receive information about the Central Kentucky Audubon Society, please let us know and we'll strike you from the list; conversely, if you know anyone who would appreciate getting these updates, feel free to forward this to them and have them let us know as we'd be glad to add them!  
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