Highlights from September, 2017 Board Meeting

  • Learned that the June Birdathon netted us more than we had earlier expected
  • Appointed 4 committee chairs as 1-year directors
  • Received a resignation from the Board from Paula Smith
  • Named Jan Metzmaker as Publicity Chair
  • Heard a list of programs for the new program year and suggested additional possibilities
  • Learned that Hawk Watch observers are logging many more birds than at same time last year
  • Discussed Owen Sowerwine Work Day (September 30)
  • Studied FAS budget and asset information

Birds of Prey Festival a Big Success

FAS’s 11th annual Birds of Prey Festival held on September 16 at Lone Pine State Park in partnership with Lone Pine State Park saw record attendance. Denny Olson, FAS Conservation Educator, said “Over 490 participants came through the door, and those who just stayed outdoors were not counted. I think we are talking 550 total! BIG thanks to all of you who chipped in on FAS’s part!”

Renew your membership now!

Please renew your membership in Flathead Audubon as soon as possible. For those who don’t renew by October 18, they will not receive future Pileated Posts. Don’t miss an issue of our very interesting newsletter! The FAS Board proposed and the membership voted last May to raise the membership dues a bit to cover increased expenses. The dues now are $25 for a basic membership and $40 for a supporting membership. This year we really need support for our excellent education program. We are the only organization in the Flathead Valley which offers free environmental education.

For those who join or renew memberships in National Audubon, note that they no longer will accept checks at the New York address. You must either use the envelope sent to you when requesting you to renew or to use the internet at http://www.audubon.org/renew.

When you renew your Flathead Audubon membership please include your email address. We would like to compile a list of members email addresses so we can send occasional notifications of events or important news. You can renew online here.

Go for the electronic Pileated Post!

Get the Pileated Post by email rather than snail mail! It saves trees and money that FAS can use to support our local projects. When you fill out the FAS Membership Form just leave the check box for “paper copy” empty; be sure to put your email address on the form. Or contact Linda Winnie directly to let us know you want email delivery: lindawin626@gmail.com

Richard Aley Memorial

Richard Aley, long-time member and supporter of Flathead Audubon, passed away September 2, 2017. Dick and his wife Mary joined Flathead Audubon in the late 1990s, shortly after Dick retired and they moved to Whitefish. Dick and Mary were familiar faces at our Flathead Audubon monthly meetings, and at our year-end potluck meetings. Dick’s warm friendliness and his wry sense of humor were enjoyed by all. We will miss him.

Lead Bullets and Wildlife

Big game hunting season is coming up and for those of you who are hunters, consider switching to non-lead bullets if you haven’t already. Why? Lead bullets, even copper jacketed bullets fragment on impact and leave large and small fragments throughout the carcass. Avian and mammalian scavengers feed on the carcasses and ingest the lead fragments resulting in elevated lead levels and several die each year from acute lead poisoning. Non-lead bullets are available and work as well or better. Ask me about my personal experience with non-lead bullets. For more details on the subject please see the article in the October 2016 Pileated Post available on the FAS website.  by Lewis Young, Conservation Chair

Bald Eagle to the right found near Hamilton MT, 2014. This Bald Eagle died from lead poisoning. It exhibited clinical signs of lead poisoning such as head and wing droop, muscle tremors, and anorexia. Photo courtesy Brooke Tanner, Wild Skies Raptor Center.

Conservation Workshop: Managing Salt Cedar and Russian Olive along Montana Waterways:

  • Conference Date: Oct. 25 – 26 (Meeting will take place from 1-5 on Wednesday and 8-noon on Thursday).
  • Conference Location: Great Falls (Montana Electric Co-op Building).
  • Purpose: A forum to engage scientists, resource managers, conservation groups and other stakeholders in exploring strategies to eliminate salt cedar and Russian olive from Montana waterways.
  • Objectives:
    • Explore strategies, identify resources and agree on cooperative actions to eradicate salt cedar and Russian olive from Montana riparian areas.
    • Learn more about field practices: successes and “lessons learned” from current efforts to manage salt cedar and Russian olive along Montana waterways.
    • Develop strategies that increase public understanding and concern about Russian olive and salt cedar impacts in riparian habitats.
    • Encourage networking, knowledge-sharing and cooperative action among conference participants.

For more info contact Janet Ellis jellis@mtaudubon.org, 406-443-3949.

Bears and Bird Feeders

Bird feeders are often a strong attractant to bears especially in the fall when they are trying to fatten up before entering their dens. Please consider not feeding birds until the bears have entered dens which usually happens by the end of November.

Other attractants also create conflicts with bears also. Montana FWP Bear and Lion Specialist Erik Wenum says ”We are urging people to step up their efforts in getting attractants secured; lock up the garbage, put the pet foods inside and pick the fruit. It’s unfortunate when we have to kill a bear. It’s not something we enjoy doing, but when a bear is fed human foods that is typically the outcome. If residents take responsibility and clean up all attractants, we will have fewer problems and fewer bears will need to be killed.”  You may contact Erik Wenum at 756-1776 or 250-0062.

Did you know? Most small songbirds have between 1,500 and 3,000 feathers on their bodies. A swan, however, might have as many as 25,000 feathers. A bird of prey, such as the eagle, would have between 5,000 and 8,000 feathers.