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

Remember Me?  Swift Tower Suddenly Moving Swiftly

It seems like forever ago that we suggested building a Chimney Swift nesting tower at the Arboretum. Chimney Swifts are voracious insectivores, eating nearly one-third of their weight in flying insects like mosquitoes and termites each day. Lexington could use a few dozen more of them! To that end, they need more homes. With the historical declines in Chimney Swift populations due to habitat loss from more and more people capping old chimneys and more and more houses being built without any chimneys at all, we felt Central Kentucky Audubon Society should do something to help out these spectacular cigar-shaped aerial acrobats. Now, at last, our dream of erecting an Arboretum Chimney Swift Tower looks like it is coming to fruition! Was it forever ago that we approached Boy Scout Troop 859 to ask for their help to get this tower built since CKAS's active members had not undertaken a project of this magnitude?

So when word came, finally, just this month, that Mitchell Coyle, the Eagle Scout candidate who eagerly decided to take up the tower's construction all that time back, had gotten official permission from the Boy Scout council to construct the Chimney Swift tower at the Arboretum as his Eagle Scout Project, we all breathed a sigh of relief. His application process had been hindered by red tape and schedule conflicts, and we missed a few Chimney Swift breeding seasons in the waiting; but we're pleased to report the tower should be finished and ready for a swift family to move in by the beginning of April. After the long, dragging approval, the subsequent building of the structure looks like it will move quite quickly: Mitchell even intended to clear the 10x10 area and pour the concrete base slab this upcoming weekend. Then, true to this project's "well that's going to delay things, if it's not one thing then it's another" track record, the sub-freezing temperatures look like the project will be pushed back a week.  But fear not!  All our ducks -- er, swifts? -- are lining up in a row!  We're told that as soon as the temperature warms and some of this white stuff melts away, Mitchell will be groundbreaking and quickly surging forward with the build. He may even need our help; if you would like to get involved and want to know when you might be called on to mix some concrete or swing a hammer, please drop an e-mail to the Mitchells as they'll be glad to have all the assistants they can get!

Raptors Wow Crowds (Again!) at District Science Fair 

Typical scene at the Central Kentucky Audubon Society Raptor Table
The powers that be can move the Science Fair to an older, different school and even tuck our table way at the back of a long maze of narrow hallways of other exhibits -- it won't matter: our fans will still find us!  This year's Science Fair took place on February 7th at Tates Creek High School, where we had to wind down long, narrow halls to find our table space. Though initially this left us concerned that attendance at our annual Central Kentucky Audubon Society Science Fair info table would be down, the draw of live raptors brought in by Raptor Rehab of Louisville once again beat the odds!  Hundreds of people filed through to see the birds and we were able to talk with many of them about last September's alarming National Audubon "Birds and Climate Change" report. It was a great chance to "Spread the word!" about the threat posed to North American birds by our warming planet. If you missed the raptors this year, we have more pictures posted on our Facebook page.


Upcoming CKAS (& Other) Events    
Feb. 28th (Sat.) 10:00am-12:00pm: Birdhouse Decoration Workshop. Living Arts & Science Center 362 N. MLK Blvd, Lexington. Bring a button, a bit of fabric, a trinket, a sticker, whatever you'd like to decorate a birdhouse for CETA's next citywide art engagement project. All other materials provided.
Mar. 1sh (Sat.) to June 15th: Rusty Blackbird Blitz. Everywhere. Help track Rusty Blackbirds on their northern migration. Can't tell a Rusty from a Red-Wing? Get help and learn more about the project at the Rusty Working Group web page. It's important citizen science which needs your contribution!
Mar. 6th (Fri.) 9:00am-3:30pm: Southeastern Forests & Climate Change Workshop. Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary 1305 Germany Rd, Frankfort. Project Learning Tree Workshop for teachers & facilitators. Cost $15, lunch provided. Limited to 20 participants. Please call (859) 619-5839 to RSVP by Feb. 27th.
Mar. 10th (Tue.) 1:00pm-3:00pm: Bluegrass Birding Festival Planning Meeting. Location TBD (likely the Bell House conference room, 545 Sayre Ave). If you would like to help plan the 2nd Annual Bluegrass Birding Festival, here's your chance. Bring your great ideas! Can't make the meeting but want to help? Contact Nic Patton to get added to the e-mail list.

Mar. 13th (Fri.) 7:00pm-10:00pm: Woodcock Watch Raven Run Nature Sanctuary 3990 Raven Run Way, Lexington. Joining us at Raven Run for an after-hours evening walk to look and listen for the peenting aerial display of the elusive American Woodcock. Please RSVP by calling (859) 272-6105 so the Sanctuary knows how many attendees to expect.
Mar. 14th (Sat.) 9:00am-12:30pm: Bird Walk (w/ASK) Lake Ellerslie: Reservoir #4 Meet in the outside parking lot of Lakeside Golf Course 3725 Richmond Road (Coys Drive) for a 9:00 AM DEPARTURE. The gate at the fishing club will be locked once we gain access, so don't be late!!!
Mar. 14th (Sat.) 11:00am: The Wacky World of Birds: Wild Birds Unlimited 152 N. Locust Hill, Lexington. Allen Kingsland presents facts about unusual, rare, beautiful, and extreme birds. Not for the faint of heart.
Mar. 18th (Wed.) 7:00pm-9:30pm: CKAS General Meeting: *NOTE: NEW LOCATION*  Transylvania University Library 300 North Broadway, Lexington. It's not all business so please attend! Planned topics: CKAS's hosting of The City Dark, Barn Owl Boxes, & Bluegrass Birding Festival involvement and planning. All members and curious non-members welcome. We'll likely go to dinner someplace close (Atomic Cafe? Saul Good? Village Idiot?).
Mar. 25th (Wed.) 6:00pm-9:00pm: Movie: The City Dark Central Public Library: Farish Theater 140 E. Main St. Lexington. Join us for a free showing of The City Dark (movie starts at 6:30), a highly acclaimed documentary about light pollution and the disappearing night sky. A Bluegrass Earth event. Q & A discussion following the film. Volunteers needed: e-mail CKAS to help.

Mar. 28th (Sat.) 8:00pm: Earth Hour Owl Prowl Raven Run Nature Sanctuary 3990 Raven Run Way, Lexington. Celebrate Earth Hour by joining us at Raven Run for an after-hours evening walk to look and listen for owls. Limited space: please RSVP by calling (859) 272-6105.
Mar. 31st (Tue.) 6:00pm-9:00pm: Movie: Plastic Paradise Central Public Library: Farish Theater 140 E. Main St. Lexington. Join KCTCS for a free showing of Plastic Paradise (movie starts at 6:30), a documentary about plastic, its effects on the oceans, on seabirds and aquatic life, and on us. A Bluegrass Earth event. Special live Skype video Q & A with Plastic Paradise's director reporter Angela Sun following the film.
Apr. 4th (Sat.) 10:00am-11:00am: Birding Basics: McConnell Springs 416 Rebmann Lane, Lexington. All ages. Learn more about birding then help the Springs Naturalist count the birds. Limited number of binoculars to borrow available. Please call (859) 225-4073 to preregister.
Apr. 4th (Sat.) 8:00pm: Night Hike Raven Run Nature Sanctuary 3990 Raven Run Way, Lexington. An exploration of Raven Run at night where you will likely hear an owl or two. Please RSVP by calling (859) 272-6105.
Apr. 11th (Sat.) 9:00am-1:00pm: Reforest the Bluegrass (w/Urban Forestry) Kentucky Horse Park 4089 Iron Works Pike, Lexington. Join Reforest the Bluegrass and help replant the pre-settlement streamside forests that were once common in central Kentucky. Stop by the CKAS table where we'll be advocating for birds and promoting the upcoming Bluegrass Birding Festival. Volunteers needed: e-mail CKAS to help.
Apr. 16th (Sun.) 6:00pm-9:00pm: Movie: Switch Central Public Library: Farish Theater 140 E. Main St. Lexington. Join us for a free showing of Switch (movie starts at 6:30), a highly decorated documentary about our energy present and future and about the economic and environmental advantages of efficiency. A Bluegrass Earth event. Q & A discussion following the film.
Apr. 18th (Sat.) 8:00am-11:30am+/-: Bird Walk (w/ASK) Lexington Cemetery 833 W. Main St., Lexington. Meet/park around the first right turn after coming in the gate. Do NOT park in the gatehouse spaces!
Apr. 19th (Sun.) 1:00pm-4:00pm: Movie: Chasing Ice Central Public Library: Farish Theater 140 E. Main St. Lexington. Join the Sierra Club Bluegrass Chapter for a free showing of Chasing Ice (movie starts at 2:00), a beautiful documentary about climate change and our melting ice caps. A Bluegrass Earth event. Q & A panel discussion following the film.
Apr. 19th (Sun.) 2:00pm-4:00pm: Book Release: The Curious Mr. Catesby. Cincinnati Museum Center (Auditorium) 1301 Western Ave, Cincinnati. Free (parking $6): The Catesby Commemorativel Trust and the Lloyd Library will host a talk/signing/Q&A by David Elliot, Charles Nelson, and Leslie Overstreet and a viewing of Catesby's original manuscripts. To carpool/caravan, meet at the Starbucks off I-75 Georgetown exit (476 Connector Road at Blossom Park Drive, Georgetown KY 40324) at 12:30 pm. Please RSVP to (no limit, but we don't wan tto forget anyone).
Apr. 20th (Mon.) 6:00pm-9:00pm: Movie: Coming to Ground W.T. Young Library Auditorium 401 Hilltop Ave, Lexington. Join UK's College of Ag for a free showing of Coming to Ground (movie starts at 6:30), a documentary about Kentucky's changing agriculture. A Bluegrass Earth event. Q & A panel discussion following the film.
Apr. 22nd (Wed.) All Day: Earth Day. Everywhere. Celebrate the 45th anniversary of Earth Day by getting outdoors and doing something green!
Apr. 25th (Sat.) All Day: World Penguin Day A day to celebrate the annual northward migration of penguins. What can you do to celebrate penguins? Find out at
Apr. 25th (Sat.) 10:00am-2:00pm: Arbor Day at the Arboretum. 500 Alumni Drive, Lexington. Stop by the CKAS table where we'll be advocating for birds and promoting the upcoming Bluegrass Birding Festival. Volunteers needed: e-mail CKAS to help.

Join CKAS on March 25th for a pre-Earth Hour free showing of The City Dark, a powerful documentary by Ian Cheney about light pollution and its effects on our experience of the night, on bird migrations, and on our overall health and well-being. The film will show at 6:30pm in Lexington Public Library's Farish Theater. We'll have a table set up before the event and we are arranging a Q&A session to follow the film. This will be a good chance to show we're "in it for the birds," that we understand change is necessary and possible, and that we believe in reducing our environmental footprints to give our native birds a chance. It's time to act. A CKAS-sponsored Bluegrass Earth event.


You can help with an important citizen science project: the 2nd annual Rusty Blackbird Migration Blitz, which starts March 1st and runs to June 15th.

Scientists have made huge strides in understanding Rusty Blackbirds on their breeding and wintering grounds, but we know surprisingly little about the migratory requirements and habits of this species. So to learn more about this mystery bird, the Blitz challenges birders to seek out the elusive Rusty Blackbird all along its migratory range and report Rusty sightings to eBird. During the 2014 inaugural Blitz, 4570 birders submitted 13,400 Rusty Black- bird checklists. The 2015 Blitz will once again challenge birders to search high and low for Rusties. Birders are urged to revisit any "Areas of Interest," locations reporting large flocks of Rusties in 2014. By exploring areas that supported large numbers of Rusties last spring, scientists can evaluate the consistency of habitat use and migratory timing.

We encourage all experienced (and inexperienced) birders to participate in this year's Blitz!


Carpooling is for the birds!  Literally!  Everyone knows that it's best to carpool to a distant birding location, but even local birding locations can be carpool opportunities. If you're birding a large area, it's not uncommon to bird by car.  Birding by car gives you the advantage of a "rolling blind," a chance to see the birds before they see you as a distinct threat.  But if you plan to bird by car with a large group that plans on making several stops at several different nearby "birding hotspots," it's best to carpool. Sharing rides is not only environmentally responsible, it also ensures a smaller caravan of vehicles that will be less likely to disturb the birds you might see in the area. Plus, sharing rides gives you a chance to meet other birders and swap birding stories, identification tips, and local birding locations. So next time you head out for a birding field trip, clean the clutter out of that back seat and offer a ride to another birder.  You might just make a friend or learn something new!
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."
                                                 Want to keep up with
what CKAS is doing?
These and other events
can be found on our
CKAS Events Calendar.
524 Rosemont Garden | Lexington KY 40503
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