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

A Helping Hand for Golden Swamp Warblers

We recently heard from Kate Slankard (formerly Kate Heyden -- Congratulations Kate and Scott!), Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Non-Game Avian Biologist, that many of the wooden nest boxes KDFWR put up years ago for Prothonotary Warblers (aka Golden Swamp Warblers) have deteriorated beyond repair. She wanted to know if CKAS could help build her some more -- but this time, making them from something other than wood: PVC pipe. Not fearing a challenge, CKAS promised at least fifty boxes, and maybe as many as one hundred.

Prothonotary warblers are the only Eastern warbler species which nests in cavities, more likely to use an old woodpecker hole than excavate their own. Competition for such cavities and loss of swampy wooded habitat has decreased their numbers in Kentucky. Though their populations are mostly stable in the United States and Prothonotary Warblers are not listed as "climate threatened" in the Audubon Birds and Climate Report, they are on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List and the Kentucky Species of Conservation Need list. They're a bird that it's easy to help: they will accept almost any nesting cavity -- birdhouses, empty jars, even old boots.

KDFWR sent us plans for a PVC tube box birdhouse design they would like to try that looks easy to construct, easy to mount, and easy to maintain. It was pioneered by a group in Wisconsin that put up 65 boxes along the lower Sugar River and had roughly 40% box use by Prothonotary Warblers in the first year. The second year, Prothontary box use increased to 75%. Surprisingly, their data indicated no competition from chickadees, titmice, or cowbirds, though it does show some box use by house wrens and cliff swallows. Each box's brood produced an average of five chicks and the study record the first documented case of Wisconsin Prothonotaries raising two broods in a season. CKAS will be building our boxes for KDFWR over the next few months so they can be placed by the warbler's return in late March. We will need your help with assembly; watch for dates!
A turning point in the investigation came when Richard Nixon asked, "What hobby, if any do you have, Mr. Hiss?"  Hiss answered that his hobbies were "tennis and amateur ornithology."  Congressman John McDowell jumped in: "Did you ever see a prothonotary warbler?"      -- from The Trials of Alger Hiss by Doug Linder

GoodGiving Guide Challenge: Don't Miss It!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has already contributed to Central Kentucky Audubon via the 2016 GoodGiving Guide Challenge. Your support helps us help the birds living in or migrating through central Kentucky. We are pleased to have been one of only one hundred local charities chosen by the Bluegrass Community Foundation to participate in this year's challenge.

You can make a tax-deductible donations until midnight, New Year's Eve. This year-end campaign is CKAS's biggest annual fundraiser; if you have not given yet, please do -- minimum is $10 and any little bit will help. Also, watch for other e-mails about special dates for Matching Grant Challenges which give you the chance to have your donation matched dollar-for-dollar!

For this year's Challenge, everyone who wants to get more involved can sign up as a CKAS social media ambassador. If you believe in what we do and would like to help raise money for our cause, you can help out by adding us to your social media pages. It's easy to set up: just click here to start a personal fundraiser for CKAS.

Upcoming CKAS (& Other) Events    
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 the third (and last) coat 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. Expect a Blue Stallion stop afterward to celebrate completion of this project.
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. 12th (Sat.) 11:00am-12:30pm: The Wacky World of Birds (Part 2)  Wild Birds Unlimited 152 N. Locust Hill, Lexington KY. Learn about more of the unusual, rare, beautiful, and extreme birds on the planet and take a trip around the world to see unique birds from each continent! Presented by Allen Kingsland.
Dec. 13th (Sun.) to Dec. 24th (Thu.) Tweet About It: The Twelve Days of Holiday Birds Matching Gift Challenge A chance to have your donations to CKAS matched dollar-for-dollar thanks to the generous support of Wild Birds Unlimited. Full details TBA.
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. We may finish the day with a stop at the causeway between Reservoirs #2 & #3.
Dec. 19th (Sat.) 6:00am-5:00pm: 116th Annual Audubon X-Mas Bird Count and Pot Luck Dinner. Multiple groups, varied locations. Please contact Mark Tower 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.
Dec. 31st (Thu.) 11:95pm: GoodGiving Guide Challenge Finale.  Your chance to donate to CKAS this year. Special thanks to Wild Birds Unlimited for again offering to be our matching donation sponsor.
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. 6th (Wed.) 7:00pm-8:30pm: CKAS General Meeting Good Foods co-Op: Rochdale Room 455 Southland Drive, Lexington. Come prepared to make some plans for 2016! We will likely head someplace for dinner after.Jan. 16th (Sat.) 8:00am-2:00pm: Winter Bird 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 to Summer? 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
Jan. 16th (Sat.) 8:00am-2:00pm: Winter Bird Seed Sale Day #2 (w/ASK) Southern States Co-Op 2570 Palumbo, Lexington. Missed us last week? This is your last chance to stock up enough bird seed to make it through the winter. 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
Jan. 20th (Sat.) 7:00pm-9:00pm: Pollinator Protection Plan Public Forum Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension,400 E. Main Street, Frankfort. Join Tammy Horn, Kentucky State Apiarist, for the unveiling of statewide plans to reduce the iloss of the Commonwealth's pollinators. Pollinator advocates encouraged to attend and comment.
Jan. 23rd (Sat.) 9:00am-1:00pm: 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. We may finish the day with a stop at the causeway between Reservoirs #2 & #3.
As of the end of November, CKAS has raised just over $1,000 in the GoodGiving Guide Challenge. Last year this was our biggest fundraiser, raising over $3,400. If you would like to be a social media fundraiser to help our cause, click here to find out how to add a badge to your social media account and help us help central Kentucky's birds. We (and the birds) could use your help getting the word out.
Special thanks to our matching gift donor: Wild Birds Unlimited.

Are you a hummingbird expert? Dr. Tammy Horn, Kentucky's State Apiarist, has requested input regarding "best practices" for inclusion in the Pollinator Protection Plan which will be unveiled on January 20th, 2016 at a public forum being held at KSU's Cooperative Extension Building (7pm, 400 East Main, Frankfort). Although the report primarily addresses honeybees, it also considers other Kentucky pollinators like butterflies and birds. The Plan establishes best practices for establishing and maintaining bird and bee forage plants and include several recommendations for the safest possible commercial pesticide and herbicide application. If you would like to contribute to the Plan's development, please contact
Help support CKAS by shopping like you normally do!  Kroger gives millions of dollars to Kentucky non-profits through 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. Check the bottom of your Kroger receipt  for: "At your request we are donating to Central Kentucky Audubon Society."

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.


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.
524 Rosemont Garden | Lexington KY 40503
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