Hello, everyone and welcome to our new Audubon year!

FAS President Kay Mitchell – Photo Credit: Linda Winnie

I’m pleased to bring you a lot of “news!” Your officers and board members do listen to you, and not just to figure out what kind of a “bird” you are! Last year, you told us that the meetings were running too long. Point well taken. So this year, we bring to you a whole new meeting style that will be fun, informative, and much shorter.

All of our upcoming field trips, announcements, events and recognitions of the nice folks who bring treats to meetings will be written up on whiteboards around the edges of the room. The same information (and more) is printed in The Pileated Post, our world-famous newsletter and on our world-class chapter website, www.FlatheadAudubon.org. We will rely on you to read these and won’t take your time duplicating them during the meeting.

In the past, we have often scheduled two or more “entertainment” sections of the meetings, like Conservation Achievement Recognitions, Bird Brains, etc., in addition to our excellent programs. This year, each meeting will have just one entertainment item, to allow more time for our program presenters. We’re hoping that this change will give us more time for questions and answers, too.

Some things will definitely not change. Meetings are still in the Community Room of the Gateway Community Center (come in the west side door by our banner). You will see the same friendly faces, learn about birds and conservation issues and projects, and of course, we will still have “Bird Sightings.”

What else is “news” this year? Our Field Trip chairs, Kathy and Cory, are working on a set of guidelines for our field trips – nothing bureaucratic, just ways to help everybody have a good time and see as many birds as possible. We will roll those out to you soon.

We have a lively and impressive crew of observers who are taking turns at the Hawk Watch site on Mount Aeneas. This year’s “new” is a customized app on an iPad that keeps track of all of the raptors with just a tap on the tablet. No more reams of paper forms to fill out or having to wait until season’s end to find out how we did! During the afternoon of the Birds of Prey Festival, September 16, we will introduce the new app and offer training for all who think they might like to become a Hawk Watch observer.

We hope you like the “new” Flathead Audubon this year. Our membership drive is coming up soon, and we hope to add lot of new names to our member list and new faces to our meetings. So come out and enjoy the fun. You are bound to have a very “tweet” time!

By Kay Mitchell, President