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

2015 Central Kentucky Audubon Society Picnic Pot Luck

The annual CKAS Picnic and Pot Luck is quickly approaching!  Join us on June 23rd at Masterson Station Park in Picnic Area #1 (near the dog park, circled in yellow in illustration to right).  We'll gather at 5:30; plan on dinner about 6:30pm. Burgers (regular and vegan) will be provided for all those who RSVP to BYOB and a dish/dessert to share.  We will have a quick board meeting and elections to follow.  Interested in holding a position?  Here's your chance to get involved!

Though it looks like some of the habitat restoration we had hoped for at Masterson Station Park may or may not not happen, we'll take a walk to see the areas we'd hoped to utilize and to look at the suitability of the nearby silos for Barn Owl box placement.

2nd Annual Bluegrass Birding Festival Flies Higher

Greg Miller discusses his Big Year

Last month, the Bluegrass Birding Festival went off without a hitch. The nice weather brought in about 900 attendees. We can't thank our volunteers and sponsors enough—the Festival would not have happened without all your help!  This year's Festival saw a record number of vendors, requiring an extra 200 square feet of tent space! Visitors were entertained by bird bandings, live birds of prey, several informative breakout sessions, and even a food truck that offered vegetarian options!  
        Kate Heyden bands a yellowthroat                     Dr. Dave Westneat releases a titmouse
We are pleased to announce that this year's conservation raffle raised $525 to be used toward converting the old education trailor at Raven Run into a bird blind. The Raven Run staff have now raised over $2,000 toward this project, and hope to raise the remaining +/-$850 they need by this Fall. With luck, the new bird blind will be open by 2016. If you would like to help fund this project, your tax-deductible donations can be sent to CKAS, 524 Rosemont Garden, Lexington KY 40503.  Be sure to write "RAVEN RUN" in the check's memo line.

The Festival Planning Committee is always looking for your opinions— what we did well, what we could do better. We want next year's Festival to be even better than the last two. If you have suggestions or comments, please send them to

Are those birds native?  Blu (Diego) and crew descend on the CKAS booth

Endow Kentucky: A Great Way to Support CKAS

When the CKAS Board voted to establish an endowment fund at the Bluegrass Community Foundation a few years ago, the goal was to find a better place for the chapter's cash reserves. We had no idea that it would also provide our potential donors with a unique opportunity to receive a state tax credit after making a contribution to our fund. Thanks to the state's Endow Kentucky Tax Credit, gifts to endowed charitable funds at Blue Grass Community Foundation may be eligible for generous state tax credits—up to 20 percent.

Unlike regular tax deductions, tax credits are taken off a donor’s tax bill dollar for dollar. A gift of $5,000 can eliminate a $1,000 state tax liability; a gift of $50,000 or more can eliminate a maximum $10,000 state tax liability. This is in addition to state and federal charitable tax deductions. For example, a gift of $500 gives a donor in the 28 percent tax bracket a federal tax deduction of $140, a state tax deduction of $30, and an Endow Kentucky Tax Credit of $100. The endowment fund receives a gift of $500—at a cost of only $230 to the donor!

The Kentucky state legislature has approved a total of $500,000 in tax credits for this fiscal year. The deadline for donors to take advantage of the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit is fast approaching: to be in the running to receive the credit, donors must apply by July 1, 2015. In order to obtain preliminary approval for a gift, potential Endow Kentucky Tax Credit donors should first fill out and submit an application and get it to the Bluegrass Community Foundation by the end of June. When filling out the form, be sure to list "Central Kentucky Audubon Society Endowment" on line J.  The Community Foundation will take care of submitting the completed forms to the state as soon as the doors open on July 1st. Then in a few weeks, donors who qualify will get a certified letter from the state informing them they have thirty days to make their donation to CKAS through the Bluegrass Community Foundation. From a tax standpoint, now is the best time to donate to an Endowed non-profit like Central Kentucky Audubon Society!

If you have questions about taking advantage of the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit, contact Allison Lankford, senior vice president and general counsel, Blue Grass Community Foundation at or 859-225-3343. Additional information about the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit can be found here.

Upcoming CKAS (& Other) Events    
June 6th (Sat.) 7:30am-11:30am: Bird Walk (w/ASK) Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park 6614 Danville Rd, Nicholasville. Carpools leaving from the parking lot of Palomar Center near Wild Eggs at 7:30 prompt. DO NOT BE LATE! Or meet at 8:15 at Camp Nelson Interpretive Center.
June 6th (Sat.) Annual Picnic & Pot Luck * RESCHEDULED * See June 23rd.
June 8th (Mon.) Masterson Station Park Prairie Restoration Area Walk * RESCHEDULED * See June 23rd.
June 13th (Sat.) 8:00am-12:30pm: Bird Walk (w/ASK) Raven Run Nature Sanctuary 3990 Raven Run Way, Lexington. Meet at the Visitor Center at 8:00am.
June 16th (Tue.) 9:00am: Bird Walk & Barn Owl + Kestrel Box Check Talon Winery 7086 Tates Creek, Lexington. Meet in the parking area near the silo. After checking out Talon, we will carpool to Chrisman Mill and maybe out to Equus Run and/or another potential winery.
June 19th (Fri.) 9:00pm-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.
June 20th (Sat.) 10:00am-3:00pm: BioBlitz Floracliff Nature Sanctuary 8000 Elk Lick Falls Rd, Lexington. An open house (in conjunction with EKU) event where visitors can come to observe and learn about Kentucky’s biodiversity. Six teams of naturalists survey the flora and fauna of the preserve. Citizen science opportunities, walks, exhibits, much more. Pre-registration required for many events. Full schedule and more info here.
June 21st (Sun.) 10:00am-3:00pm: BioBlitz Maywoods Environmental and Education Laboratory 447 Maywoods Road, Crab Orchard. An open house event (in conjunction with Floracliff) where visitors can come to observe and learn about Kentucky’s biodiversity. Six teams of naturalists survey the flora and fauna of the preserve. Citizen science opportunities, walks, exhibits, much more. Pre-registration required for many events. Full schedule and more info here.
June 23rd (Tue.) 5:30pm+: Annual Picnic & Pot Luck Masterson Station Park 3051 Leestown Road, Lexington. Join us for our annual CKAS Pot Luck Picnic. CKAS will provide burgers (please specify if vegan) for all who RSVP. Plan on dinner about 6:30pm. BYOB and a dish/dessert to share. Quick walks to potential prairie restoration area and potential Barn Owl silo, plus short board meeting and elections to follow.
June 27th (Sat.) 8:00am-12:00pm: Bird Walk (w/ASK) Maine Chance Farm (Spindletop) 2099 Newtown Pike, Lexington Meet at 8:00am at the McDonald's on Newton Pike & I-64 in the overflow parking area on the far side of the building. BE PROMPT!!
July 10-13th (Fri.-Mon.) National Audubon Society Convention Lansdowne Resort Leesburg, Virginia. NAS’s biennial leadership Convention.
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.     
Annual Picnic
& Pot Luck
5:30pm June 23rd

Wanted: Your
Bird Photos!
Cornell's Lab of Ornithology is working with Visipedia to take Merlin, its bird ID app, to the next level. They are developing computer vision technology to identify birds in photos.  They have done some alpha testing already, and they have reached the point where both amateur and pro bird photographers can help: They need Beta testers! You can help Cornell test their new tool at the Merlin Photo ID -- Beta page. Simply upload a bird picture, input location and date the shot was taken, help the program draw a box around the bird in question, then mark the bill tip, eye, and tail tip. Presto! It returns a list of most likely suspects.  We tried it with several pictures and it was spot on with several local birds: blue jays, robins, mourning doves, grackles, Carolina wrens, chickadees, towhees, rose- breasted grosbeaks, yellow-throated warblers, and even Aquila the Bald Eagle from a photo at the science fair!  Like the original Merlin, the page gives comparison pictures to help assure accuracy. Photo ID does not work on tablets or mobile devices at this time. For best results, please use a computer with a recent version of Chrome or Safari.


Forest walks can be difficult for birdwatching. A forest bird walk will often be limited to a narrow trail through the woods which you either cannot step off (like a trail along a cliff face or creek) or would not want to (like a trail with lots of poison ivy visible everywhere). If there are several people on the walk, you might get stuck in the middle or back of the "line." In these situations, it can be very difficult to get a clear vantage point for viewing a bird someone has spotted. Add to this the fact that forest birds like to hide in thick scrub brush or high up in the tree canopy, and you may not actually set your eyes very many birds. So how do e-Bird reports for forest walks generate as many species as other walks? Many of the birds you might "encounter" on a forest walk are birds you will hear instead of see.

For beginning birders, ID-ing birds they can see can sometimes be daunting--trying to identify a bird by its call can be doubly so!  One good way to approach such a walk is to research in advance.  Check out the species lists on eBird or ask experienced birders what kind of birds you might expect in the area at this time of year. Then pick a species or two which you would like to add to your list and track down recordings of those birds' calls. There are plenty of online places to listen to such recordings: All About BirdseBird, Nature Songs, and (probably the best) the Macaulay Library. Memorize the songs of the one or two birds you have picked so you can listen for and pick out those songs on the trail. Imagine your fun when you can tell the group you have identified a bird like the Swainson's warbler just by hearing  its  call!
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
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