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

Just in Time for Thanksgiving!

By now you have likely heard about the four-story wild turkey which the Italian muralist Hitnes painted on the side of the LexPark garage looking down over Triangle Park. Part of his The Image Hunter quest, Lexington's new turkey mural is one of a series of bird murals Hitnes painted while loosely following the trail of John James Audubon. If you have not seen it yet, we have included a picture below, but you really need to see it in person to do it justice. A lot of work went into making it happen -- both on Hitnes' part and by a lot of folks behind the scenes. We'd like to take a moment to extend our thanks to the PRHBTN group who were the most instrumental in that they funded the Lexington stop for this project. The scaffolding alone cost more than CKAS might have been able to raise, but PRHBTN have become experts at fundraising -- a big thanks as well to everyone who donated to their Kickstarter campaign. 

Even before starting his The Image Hunter project, Hitnes declared that he would only complete murals of birds he had the chance to see along the journey. So when he decided that he wanted to paint a wild turkey in Kentucky, CKAS was asked to help him find one -- no small task, but we were up to it. A quick check of eBird indicated we had the best chance to find wild turkeys around Lawrenceburg. Luckily, we have CKAS members who live on Beaver Lake where wild turkeys are common this time of year. So that's just where we went. We could not have asked for better weather or better luck: the morning was cool but clear and beautiful. Hitnes was able to see a few different groups of turkeys eating acorns beneath the oaks and he got some good video of both males and females. A huge thanks to those members who helped arrange for Hitnes to stay at their cabin, who allowed us to guide Hitnes on a "turkey hunt" on their property, and who were kind enough to offer us mugs of much-needed and very good coffee. Your Lawrenceburg turkeys will show up in the documentary Hitnes is producing which will memorialize The Image Hunter project. We will keep the group posted regarding the film's release dates; expect it to come out from Magic Mind Corporation as soon as they can edit it, hopefully by Fall of next year.  We plan to arrange several local showings.
Painting a turkey in Kentucky was important to Hitnes, like Plate #1 in Audubon's Birds of North America.

When Art & Science Collide

On October 14th and 15th, a dozen UK students and local artists picked up brushes and rollers and did something unheard of before: painted a mural on the exterior of a University of Kentucky building. They were practicing techniques they learned in the Master Mural Class directed by Hitnes that CKAS helped arrange. But the mural painting almost didn't happen where it did. The day before the Mural Class was to take place, CKAS had arranged for Hitnes to give a talk at the UK Ecological Research and Education Center entitled "When Art and Science Collide." Our goal was to have the talk, the class, and the resulting mural occur at and on that facility. But when we booked the talk, we had no idea how appropriate its title would be. The art of the mural and the science of the building almost didn't come together.

University of Kentucky officials were initially reluctant to allow painting on the outside of a UK building, fearing there would be long-term upkeep costs associated with the project which UK was not willing to assume. Instead, they offered the class the option of painting the interior lobby of the building or painting the community room where the talk took place. But when Hitnes was shown these interior spaces, he called them "more fresco than mural" and insisted that they were really not suitable for the class's purposes. He wanted to know if there was another wall -- a larger mural-sized exterior wall -- the class could use. Thus, less than a week before the Mural Class was to take place, it looked like the class-produced mural would need to be painted someplace other than the EREC/PIMSER facility.

A good deal of environmental and avian research takes place at the UK Ecological Research and Education Center, so CKAS really wanted the resulting Audubon bird-themed mural to be painted there. Additionally, a large number of local students, teachers, and community groups that use that building for meetings, workshops, and classes, so the mural would get a lot of notice. Everyone involved in planning the talk and class did not want to see the mural move to another building in another part of town.

Luckily, in the final hour, a compromise: UK agreed that Hitnes' and the class's mural could be painted on the exterior walls of the patio area located just behind the EREC/PIMSER building, which can be seen from the neighborhood and trails behind the facility and in part from the new library next door. Though it was not exactly the front-of-a-building mural we had hoped for, the chance to keep the mural on that faciolity -- to highlight the collision of art and science -- we had to take it! CKAS asked that UK trim the patio trees, which they did and did quickly, and we have agreed to protect the mural with graffiti-proofing, which will be guaranteed to last for ten years after we apply three coats (the first coat went up last week, just before Devil's night, just to be safe). Note: There are a couple of weather-dependent events scheduled on November 4th & December 5th to put up the extra graffiti coats if you would like to help.

In the end, the resulting bird-inspired mural is amazing. It is still difficult to comprehend that the whole work was conceived and completed within two days.  We have had many people comment on how wonderful it turned out and there has been a lot of positive press covering the class and the artwork, including this UK video.  We're glad we could help arrange this for the students and for the University.  If you haven't had the chance yet, it is very worth your while to stop by to see the work at the EREC/PIMSER: 1737 Russell Cave Road.
Pictures of the work in progress. Want to see the finished product? Just drop by 1737 Russell Cave Road.

Special thanks to the UK Student Sustainability Council for their financial and media support. Additionally, a huge thanks to the Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, which supported Hitnes' Talk and Mural Master Class with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Also (though it goes without saying) our heartfelt thanks to all the great artists who contributed their vision and hard work to this beautiful collaborative effort!

Upcoming CKAS (& Other) Events    
Nov. 4th (Wed.) 7:00pm-9:00pm: CKAS General Meeting Good Foods co-Op: Rochdale Room 455 Southland Drive, Lexington. Topics: Audubon's hemispheric reach, GoodGiving Guide Challenge, Hitnes, native grass restoration, and Barn Owl & Kestrel boxes.
Nov. 7th (Sat.) 8:00am-11:00am: 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!
Nov. 7th (Sat.) 11:00am-1:00pm: Guided Hike (w/McConnell Springs) Lexington Cemetery 833 W. Main St., Lexington. Join the Springs' naturalists for a guided hike and discussion of the history of the park and why it's unique.
Nov. 11th (Wed.) 5:00pm-8:30pm: Urban Forestry Seminar Series (w/Urban Forestry) Downtown Arts Center, 141 E. Main St., Lexington.  Urban Forestry presents "Trees and Nature for Wellness" by Professor Kathleen Wolf, city tree and human health researcher from The University of Washington. Reception, talk, and official Lexington Tree Canopy Report findings.
Nov. 12th (Thu.) 7:00pm: Movie: PlantPure Nation Kentucky Theater 214 E. Main St., Lexington KY. Ok-- so this is not about birds. PlantPure Nation investigates the benefits of plant-based diets and tells the story of KY House Bill 550, which mandated a pilot program that would document the health benefits of such a diet, presented by State Rep. Tom Riner (D-Louisville). $8 admission; discount for parking in the Helix/Annex Garage if you present token at ticket purchase.
Nov. 12th (Thu.) 7:00pm-9:30pm: Kentucky Voices Old State Capitol 300 W. Broadway, Frankfort KY. Ok-- so this isn't about birds either. Fundraider for the Kentucky Conservation Committee featuring Kentucky authors and artists, many with environmental themes. Admission: $20 donation.
Nov. 13th (Fri.) 7:00am: GoodGiving Guide Challenge Kick-Off.  CKAS is one of only 100 local charities selected to participate in this year's Challenge. Start getting excited! This is your chance to have donations to CKAS matched; there will be points during the Challenge when your gift can do more good for central Kentucky's birds. More details to come. Special thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited for again offering to be our matching donation sponsor.
Nov. 14th (Sat.) 11:00am-12:30pm: Bird House Build  Wild Birds Unlimited 152 N. Locust Hill, Lexington KY. Join WBU in welcoming Wild Bill Gordon for a bird house build and presentation. For details, call 859-268-0114.
Nov. 14th (Sat.) 1:00pm-4:30pm: Graffiti-Proofing (Weather permitting) UK/Lexmark Center for Innovation 1737 Russell Cave Road, Lexington. The mural the Hitnes' class created at the EREC needs your help! CKAS plans to roll on three coats of "graffiti-proofing" to give it a good ten-year protection. Weather permitting, we can knock out one coat today. Wear clothes you don't care about and bring plenty of old rags; be prepared to work with paint brushes and rollers.
Nov. 21st (Sat.) 9:00am-12:30pm: Bird Walk (w/ASK) Lake Ellerslie: Reservoir #4 3725 Richmond Road (Coys Drive). Meet at the outer parking lot of Lakeside Golf Course. BE PROMPT!  Gates for the fishing club will be locked once we gain access.
Nov. 21st (Sat.) 10:00am-11:00am: Junior Naturalist: Birds of Prey (w/ McConnell Springs) McConnell Springs 416 Rebmann Lane, Lexington KY. For grades K-5. Join the Spring naturalists as they get face-to-face with live raptors. Call 859-225-4073 to preregister.
Dec. 5th (Sat.) 1:00pm-4:30pm: Graffiti-Proofing (Weather permitting) UK/Lexmark Center for Innovation 1737 Russell Cave Road, Lexington. The mural the Hitnes' class created at the EREC needs your help! CKAS plans to roll on three coats of "graffiti-proofing" to give it a good ten-year protection. Weather permitting, we can knock out one coat today. Wear clothes you don't care about and bring plenty of old rags; be prepared to work with paint brushes and rollers.
Dec. 12th (Sat.) 10:00am: Winter Wildlife Treats Raven Run Nature Sanctuary 3990 Raven Run Way, Lexington. Join Raven Run naturalists for a guided hike then warm up while making treats for wildlife. Please register by calling 859-272-6105.
Dec. 13th (Sun.) 1:00am-4:00pm: Bird Walk (w/ASK) Lake Ellerslie: Reservoir #4 3725 Richmond Road (Coys Drive). Meet at the outer parking lot of Lakeside Golf Course. BE PROMPT!  Gates for the fishing club will be locked once we gain access.
Dec. 19th (Sat.) 6:00am-5:00pm: 116th Annual Audubon X-Mas Bird Count and Pot Luck Dinner. Multiple groups, varied locations. Please contact David Lang to be assigned to a group.
Dec. 19th (Sat.) 10:00am: Winter Wildlife Treats McConnell Springs Park 416 Rebmann Lane, Lexington. Junior Naturalist event for youth K through 5th grade. Please call to register: 859-225-4073.
Jan. 1st (Thur.) 9:00am-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!
Jan. 1st (Thur.) +/- 11:30am-2:00pm: Bird Walk (w/ASK) Maine Chance Farm (Spindletop) 2099 Newtown Pike, Lexington. At some point in the morning, the group from the Lexington Cemetery walk will migrate and regroup at the McDonald's at Newtown Pike & I-64 to continue birdwatching at Maine Chance. If 9:00 was too early for you but you'd like to catch this half of the morning's walk, please e-mail David before the walk so we can call you when we leave the cemetery and you can meet up with us in the McD's parking lot.
Jan. 5th (Tues.) All Day: National Bird Day A day not only to appreciate the native birds flying free outside our windows, but also to reflect on how we treat the native birds of other countries and to "think outside the cage." Support for efforts to protect birds in their natural habitat like those undertaken by World Parrot Trust makes a great holiday gift!
Jan. 9th (Sat.) 8:00am-2:00pm: Winter Bird Seed Sale Day #1 (w/ASK) Southern States Co-Op 2570 Palumbo, Lexington. Do you have enough bird seed to make it through to the winter? Now's the time to stock up. You can take your seed with you or leave it at Southern States to pick up as you need. NOTE: All stored seed must be picked up within twelve months! A portion of the proceeds goes to supporting CKAS. Volunteers needed from 8-11 & 11-2: e-mail

Buckley Thrives

There has been some confusion about whether the Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary still exists. A few years ago, you may recall that the National Audubon Society opted to relinquish its management of the land after Tim Williams retired, but the deed to that property, set up way back in 1966, establishes provisions to ensure the area remains a wildlife sanctuary in perpetuity. The deed includes a clear list of entities that the Buckleys preferred would manage the land — 1. the National Audubon Society or its local chapter, 2. the Audubon Society of Kentucky, 3. Midway College, or 4. Transylvania University — but the final decision regarding "who runs Buckley" is left up to the trust fund manager. When National Audubon announced that they were letting it go since the organization is "trying to get out of the land management business," the trust manager offered control of the area to all the other parties listed in the deed, who each either declined or who weren't sufficiently established to run such a venture. The trust fund manager's ultimate decision was to turn stewardship over to the Live Adventure Center, a group that has done a great job with Buckley so far, clearing non-native invasives, posting better trail maps and blazing new paths into other areas, getting more school groups to use the facilities, orchestrating environmental education classes and mini- conferences, and (best of all as far as we're concerned, though we're biased) keeping the bird feeders stocked at the ever-popular bird blind.

CKAS is pleased with the work that the Life Adventure Center is doing to not only protect but also to improve the Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. We're happy to inform those who think otherwise that they can still stop there on their way to Frankfort during the same weekly hours that Tim and Debbie used to keep. We encourage you to do so! You can download trail maps here.
You can help support CKAS by simply shopping like you normally do!  Each year, Kroger gives millions of dollars to Kentucky non-profits through its free Community 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 the Central Kentucky Audubon Society in the Community Rewards section of your Account Settings. 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 share of Kroger's charitable donations. To make sure you have activated or renewed your Community Rewards® sponsorship, check the bottom of your Kroger receipt  for: "At your request we are donating to Central Kentucky Audubon Society."


Each year, the Kentucky Ornithological Society offers the Virginia and Wendell Kingsolver Scholarship for Kentuckian birders between the ages of 13 and 18. The scholarship funds tuition to one of the young birder summer camps offered by the American Birding Association. Applications are now being accepted and are due by April 1st, 2016. Next summer, the ABA will run three camps:
July 16-22: Camp Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado

July 25-31: Camp Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado

July 30-Aug. 5: Camp Avocet
Lewes, Delaware

Applications and additional information can be found on the KOS website, and on the ABA website.


Interested in citizen science? What Do Birds Eat? is a multi-year study managed by Doug Tallamy which collects crowd-sourced pictures of birds eating arthropods to determine what birds like which insects. The project needs your photos. Although 96% of our North American bird species will eat insects, little research has been done regarding what insects each bird prefers. Enter What Do Birds Eat? -- they've collected over 2,000 photos of birds eating insects and they are using these to ID bird species and the insects they prefer. Have a good picture of a bird eating an insect? Submit it! The results of this research will help direct conservation and restoration efforts by identifying viable bird habitat based on an areas's available insect resources. You can find out more about this project here.

November 13 to December 31
Get ready to give!
524 Rosemont Garden | Lexington KY 40503
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