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

Efforts to Include Wider Habitat Buffer in Rezoning Fail
Several local environmental groups, including CKAS, went before the Lexington Planning Commission and took a public stand against the rezoning required to make way for the Ball homes development proposal of the Peninsula on Reservoir #4. On behalf of our Audubon chapter, president Tony Brusate argued that the current proposal represented an inadequate conservation easement around the edges of the water. Riparian buffers are vital elements of watersheds, primarily due to their protection of surface and water quality from impacts related to human land use, but also to due to their ability to provide critical wildlife habitat. Most academic literature regarding conservation easement riparian buffer width (including research done at the University of Kentucky) indicates that "adequate" buffers span one hundred feet on average, with a few studies indicating that some species of birds may need even wider protected swaths, like the Cerulean Warbler which requires forested buffers of at least 330 feet. Kentucky American Water plans to retain ownership of a strip along the water's edge which they claim averages fifty feet; consequently, an additional fifty feet of conservation easement seems prudent in order to meet the average scientific consensus. But though some Commission members seemed swayed by our argument, even admitting “habitat preservation is a very powerful argument," the vote went in favor of limiting additional conservation easement to twenty-five feet by 8 to 1, meaning the Commission recommended the same initial seventy-five foot total buffer suggested by Ball Homes.  CKAS maintains that a wider riparian buffer is not cumbersome regulation nor prohibitive of development and that Lexington needs to balance protection of natural areas with well-planned urban growth. A one hundred foot riparian buffer set from the hundred year flood plain instead of an arbitrary line drawn by the land's current owner is the safest way to ensure that the critical habitat function of this Peninsula area remains intact even as it is developed.

The crowd that turned out for the rezoning hearing numbered in the hundreds. Thank you to all who came. This issue will go before the City Council in the next few months and we will likely be asking you to join us there to again show your support. There is the possibility (albeit slim) that a very large turnout of public opposition at that meeting may still convince the City Council to accept our recommend amendments regarding wider riparian buffers and better habitat protection.
Prothonotary Warbler Tube Build Mostly Successful
Last month, several CKAS members gathered at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary to assemble 140 Prothonotary Warbler nest tubes, a project funded in part by a collaborative funding grant from the National Audubon Society and supported by discounts on materials from Lowes. Holes were drilled, pieces were glued, connectors were installed, caulk was applied -- everything moving smoothly and efficiently until...  rain.  Shortly after staking posts to spray paint the first batch of tubes, a light and consistent drizzle started to fall, threatening to ruin the spray paint application.  And the rain kept getting harder.  We could see, much to our dismay, that we were going to have to call off our camouflage efforts until a later date.  We hear from Kate Slankard that if we can get the finished product to her by mid-February, there is a conference of WMA managers where she can distribute them to their new homes.  So those of you who thought you had missed all the fun, fear not.  We aim to finish spray painting tubes this upcoming Saturday, Fabruary 4th, weather permitting, after the bird walk to Griffith Woods. We hope to start about 2:00pm, location to be determined. E-mail to be kept in the loop. Note: if the weather doesn't cooperate this day either, we can still postpone for another week to February 11th after the Science Fair (likely our last chance to meet this season's Prothonotary return) but hopefully this won't be necessary. If we opt to ever do this project again, we'll be starting a lot earlier (like July or August!).

Arboretum Moves Up Annual Birdhouse Display
The annual Birdhouse Display and Silent Auction held at the UK Arboretum State Botanical Gardens of Kentucky will open earlier this year, with houses displayed from April 21st to May 7th, kicking off the theme "Spring is for the Birds."  CKAS will have more information for you about the Display as time draws nearer, but we thought you might like to know of the earlier date so you could start on your birdhouse entries.  Official Entry Forms for the 2017 Exhibit will be due by April 7th, but there's no reason you can't get working on your design / build right now.

Upcoming CKAS (& Other) Events    
These and other events can be found on our CKAS Web Calendar. Know of a bird-themed event we missed? Please send details to to get them added to our web & Facebook pages.
Feb. 4th (Sat.) 8:30am-1:00pm: Bird Walk Griffith Woods WMA 2001-3499 Leesburg Pike, Cynthiana. To carpool/caravan: 8:30am DEPARTURE from the Northside Public Library. Park near the multi-color library sign. BE PROMPT!
Feb. 4th (Sat.) 2:00pm? PROW Tube Painting Location TBD. We still need to paint the PROW tubes.  If the weather looks good, we hope to meet after the walk to finish them. E-mail to be kept in the loop.
Feb. 11th (Sat.) 8:00am-1:00pm: Live Raptors at the Fayette County District Science Fair Bryan Station High School 201 Easton Road, Lexington. Join us as we welcome Raptor Rehab and their education birds. Which birds will they bring this year? Drop by the CKAS table to see! Volunteers wanted to help staff the CKAS table: e-mail here.
Feb. 11th (Sat.) 11:00am-12:30pm: 2nd Saturday Seminar (Program TBD) Wild Birds Unlimited 152 N. Locust Hill, Lexington.  Always something fun and educational! Keep your calendar free.
Feb. 11th (Sat.) 2:00pm? PROW Tube Painting LAST CHANCE MAKE-UP DAY Location TBD. IF the weather turns bad on us again on February 4th, we may still need to paint the PROW tubes.  This would be our last chance to meet after the walk to finish them in time to get them to the godd folks at KDFWR fro diestribution before teh Prows get back thsi year. E-mail to be kept in the loop.
Feb. 17th-20th (Fri.-Mon.) All day, each day: Great Backyard Bird Count Your backyard. An annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. More info on counting and to register your count at
Feb. 18th (Sat.) 10:00am-11:00am & 2:00pm-3:00pm: CANCELLED: Scheduling Error GBBC for Beginners The Arboretum 500 Alumni Drive, Lexington. Learn about Kentucky's winter birds, how they survive, and how you can help them thrive. Beginning birders of all ages welcome (Family-friendly event). Make sure to dress for the outdoors as we'll end with a short bird walk/count. Cost $1, Audubon Members free (sign up or renew membership here and select Central Kentucky Audubon as your Chapter Donation Designation). Register by calling 859-257-6955.
Feb. 19th (Sun.) 9:00am-12:30pm: Bird Walk 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!
Feb. 22nd (Wed.) 6:30pm-9:00pm: Free Movie(s): Tree Shorts Henry Clay High School 2100 Fontaine Road, Lexington. Join the Urban Forestry Initiative and the Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council for a series of tree-related short films and a discussion of what makes a healthy urban tree canopy (ever important to our local birds) and how we can help Lexington's thrive.
Feb. 25th (Sat.) 8:00am-2:00pm: Bird Walk Camp Catalpa/Lake Reba 2200 Catalpa Loop Rd, Richmond. To carpool/caravan: 8:00am DEPARTURE from the outer parking lot of Lakeside Golf Course. BE PROMPT! 
Mar. 3rd (Fri.) 5:30pm-8:15pm: Woodcock Watch Raven Run Nature Sanctuary 3990 Raven Run Way, Lexington. 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.
Mar. 4th (Sat.) 6:30am-7:00pm: Adams County (Ohio) Amish Bird Symposium Floracliffe Nature Sanctuary 3735 Wheat Ridge Road, West Union, Ohio. Join CKAS for a carpool day trip to the 14th Annual Amish Bird Symposium, a celebration of birds that features speakers, live raptors, varied activities, and a late afternoon walk at Adams Lake State Park. Limited capacity; $25, Lunch provided. Pre-Registration by Feb 24th required: View/print a registration form here. To carpool/caravan: Please e-mail to indicate your intent to participate. LEAVING at 6:30 from the parking lot of Eastland Shopping Center (park behind Rite Aid). DO NOT BE LATE! 
Mar. 11th (Sat.) 6:00am?: Bird Walk Western Ky (TBD). Maybe Louisville, maybe further; looking for ducks, gulls, and maybe even Le Conte's Sparrows. Details to follow in next month's newsletter. Keep the day free.
Mar. 16th (Thur.) 7:00pm-9:00pm: Bird Photography Presentation Crestwood Christian Church 1882 Bellefonte Drive, Lexington. Join the Lexington Camera Club for a free presentation by retired Courier-Journal photographer Pam Spaulding of her bird photography, and the habitats and behaviors of some of the 200 bird species she snapped during her bird-photo big year in Jefferson County in 2015. 
Mar. 17rd (Fri.) 6:45pm-9:30pm: Woodcock Watch Raven Run Nature Sanctuary 3990 Raven Run Way, Lexington. 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.
Mar. 18th (Sat.) 10:00am-2:00pm: Long Hike Floracliff Nature Sanctuary 8000 Elk Lick Falls Road, Lexington. Join the Floracliff naturalists for a long (and somewhat strenuous) 4-mile hike to the Kentucky River, Elk Lick Falls, Elk Lick Creek, and the oldest documented tree in Fayette County. Suggested $5-10 per person; limited space. Please e-mail and provide your name, phone, and number of attendees to register.
Mar. 25th (Sat.) 10:00am-11:30am: Movie: After Coal Central Public Library: Farish Theater 140 E. Main St. Lexington. Not directly about birds. Join the One World Film Festival for a free showing of After Coal, a documentary that profiles individuals building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and South Wales, inviting viewers to the front lines of the transition away from fossil fuels.
Mar. 25th (Sat.) 8:30pm-9:30pm: Earth Hour Everywhere. Take a step toward changing climate change. Join millions of people across the world who are part of the Earth Hour. Audubon's climate science identifies 314 of our native bird species as climate threatened or endangered. Help spread the word.

Saturday, February 11th
9:00am to 1:00pm

This will be the ninth year CKAS has sponsored the live raptor exhibit at the Fayette County District Science Fair. If you would like to see what birds RROKI brings this year, stop by our table at Bryan Station High School. Or better yet: you can volunteer to help field questions. We'll have examples of our Barn Owl and Kestrel boxes, as well as a Prothonotary Warbler nest tube on display.
Amish Bird Symposium
Field Trip

Saturday, March 4th
6:30am to 7:00pm (all day)

Join CKAS for an all-day  field trip to the 14th Annual Adams County Amish Bird Symposium in West Union, Ohio.  We will depart (carpool) from the Eastland parking lot at 6:30am and return about 7:00pm. $25. Lunch provided. Registration by Feb. 24th required.  If you want to carpool with us, please e-mail to indicate your intent to participate.
Annual Birdhouse
Exhibit & Display

April 21st to May 7th

Get your 2017 Birdhouse Exhibit Entries ready!  Birdhouses can be ready-made with creative embellishments and personal touches or constructed from scratch. They can be functional or ornamental or both (we prefer functional). Note, they need to be weather-worthy as they will be displayed outdoors. Entry forms (due by April 7th) are available in the Visitor Center.
Kroger gives millions of dollars to Kentucky non-profits with its Community Rewards® Program. If you shop at Kroger and have a Kroger Rewards® card, you can help us qualify for these funds by linking your Kroger Rewards® card to the Central Kentucky Audubon Society under the Community Rewards section of your Account Settings. Doing so 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 share of Kroger's charitable donations. You need to enroll and then re-enroll every August to participate.  Check the bottom of your Kroger receipt  for: "At your request we are donating to Central Kentucky Audubon Society" to make sure it took.
Need to buy anything online? CKAS is now on Amazon Smile. When you #StartWithaSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of your purchase price to the Central Kentucky Audubon Society, at no cost to you! Bookmark this link Bto support CKAS every time you shop the net.
What if you don't receive Audubon Magazine?
Then you're probably not an official member of the
National Audubon Society.
You can join for $20 annually through CKAS (& help support CKAS by doing so) by following the instructions and link on the CKAS web page.
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