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Special Board Meeting,
July 25, at the Southport Library.

Butterfly Count at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary, July 25, 2009 (or July 26 if it rains). Contact Amy Wilms (wilmsab@muohio.edu) to participate.

The Fall Meeting will be held at Indiana Dunes State Park, October 2 - 4, 2009.

The Indiana Audubon Society Bird Survey of Cuba! March 1 - 12, 2010
Go To indianaaudubon.org to find out more about where to bird, what's being seen and how to renew your membership.


Welcome to the new look of the Cardinal. We hope this will be more convenient to you and add more functionality. We're also very excited that now you will be able to view images in color! Also be sure to check out our new website that is projected to go live on
July 17 at

The Bird Record Committee: Helping Hoosiers      Preserve Indiana's Avifauna History                    

by: Brad Bumgardner

In October of 1991, The Indiana Audubon Society approved the formation of the Indiana Bird Record Committee (IBRC). In the nearly 18 years of its existence, members of this committee have evaluated nearly 600 bird records. Through the IBRC, we have a better understanding of the ever-changing bird populations in Indiana. Mere reports of birds seen often lose integrity years down the road when examined long after the original observer is no longer with us. Documentation of these birds helps give detail and credibility to the sighting, as well as bridges the gap from casual bird watching to modern ornithology in the state.

Indiana already has a rich past in ornithological history. Going back over 100 years, such names as Amos Butler, Russell Mumford, Charles Keller, and Ken Brock have contributed greatly to our knowledge of bird populations in Indiana. A tribute to another ornithological great can be found here in Indiana as well at Spring Mill State Park, where a memorial to Alexander Wilson (think Wilson's warbler, Wilson's phalarope, etc...) sits in the depths of a wooded ravine on the edge of a lapping brook.

Those unfamiliar with the concept of producing written details or providing documentation of a sighting may feel somewhat persecuted when informed that their "say-so" is not good enough to make a record legitimate. The initial enthusiasm and excitement of finding and reporting a good bird can quickly turn to disappointment, discouragement, and depression when their undocumented record is treated with skepticism. Don't let this get you down.  It is their records, whether accepted or rejected, that future generations will look to when understanding our ever- changing bird population dynamics. There are great resources for writing a good documentation. The worst excuse ever is that someone else will document it!

New features on the IBRC website allow those who find rare birds to simply fill out an easy online documentation form that can be emailed instantly.  Many of this winter's rare birds have been documented for the IBRC this way already.

Finally, as we continue some great birding in 2009, the IBRC wants to personally thank all those that submitted documentations in the last year.  They include:  David Ayer, Mike Becker, Amy Beringer, Ken Brock, Gary Bowman, John Castrale, John Cassady, James Cole, Dan Collins, Don Gorney, Jim Haw, Roger Hedge, Jim and Susan Hengeveld, James and Laura Hill, Steve Housefield, Pete Janzen, John Kendall, Don Lay, Rebecca Lomax-Sumner, Jeff McCoy, Gary Miller, Chuck Mills, Randy Pals, J.D. Phillips, Michael Retter, Kirk Roth, Lee Sterrenberg, Michael Topp, and Geoffery Williamson.  I very likely forgot some names, but hats off to these birders for not only finding the rare bird, but taking the time to document them too!

The Indiana Bird Record Committee Online:
Main page: http://www.indianaaudubon.org/ibrc.htm
Review List: http://www.indianaaudubon.org/ibrc/review.htm
2009 Decisions: http://www.indianaaudubon.org/ibrc/results2009.html

Bird Monitoring at MGBS

by Serrin Anderson

I visited with Joshua Key on site - in the barn - at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary Tuesday, June 2. This bright and personable young man is part of the Bird Monitoring program recently established at MGBS with Ball State University. In this capacity Josh has set up 'housekeeping' - sleeping on a cot between tables which serve also as 'closet space' and space for computer paraphernalia. This tall slender young man was working at his computer, in-putting bird activity of the morning. He quickly showed me which grid and birds heard and/or spotted at that area sometime between the hours of 6 a.m and 9 a.m.

Josh hails from Ashland County, Ohio, about six miles from Mohican State forest, park, and nature preserve. He is currently working on a 'user-defined' Masters of Science in biology with a focus on field biology. His hope is that the study will serve as comparison material for a similar study five or so years from now.
To the best of my ability, this is how I understand the procedure for each of 60 monitoring areas which were marked off with fence posts earlier in the spring.  [Many of us saw these bright orange markers at the Spring Birding Festival.] When Josh gets to a marked area he quietly listens and watches for whichever birds show up, call, or sing. This is followed by three minutes of phishing, then noting which birds respond to that. [The 3 minutes is not random, but through trial and error has proven to be long enough to draw all who might respond, short enough not to bore them...] The number of areas he can monitor each morning depends a lot on the terrain and how difficult it may be to locate the marker. Back at the barn he posts this info on a spreadsheet for each marker based on an established grid pattern. Tuesday morning he heard/spotted the following at marker A7  which is roughly midway between east and west boundaries of the Sanctuary and south of the main 'service' road:
yellow billed cuckoo  x2
eastern towhee
white breasted nuthatch
red bellied woodpecker
--3 minutes phishing
acadian flycatcher  [There are a lot of these at MGBS]
eastern towhee
gray catbird   
"Generally speaking,"  he said, "the most frequently heard/seen birds at MGBS in early June have been:  red-eyed vireo, oven bird, acadian flycatcher, with a fair number of wood thrush." ":"
We had quite a conversation about whether or not pine siskins had been known to be in the area during the summer months.  Chatting about it, and referring to one of his three bird guides, it became apparent that he had glanced at the wrong bird -- that no -- the pine siskin IS off in Canada for the summer.  It felt like being a student again myself going through that process with him.
We went to Kunkel's for lunch -- swapping bird commentary/stories [speaking of a hummingbird disputing territory, he said "It was the prettiest irritated cussing I'd ever heard." On kinglets:  "Hyperactive balls of fluff!!"]  as well as history and 'political' angst. A birding tip for spotting the secretive yellow billed cuckoo for those of us not already in the know is to look for the distinctive white markings on the long tail!!   That's how he spotted his. In about a month, he will begin monitoring plants following the same grid system.                                   

Josh is  writing a more comprehension report of his time at MGBS for fellow researchers and professionals.

James Mason Award

by Karen Henman

The James Mason Award was named after Dr. Mason, an English Professor at Indiana State University.  He worked tirelessly, lobbying at the State House in Indianapolis to pass laws to improve the environment in the State of Indiana. He also served as the Conversation Chairman for the Indiana Audubon Society. Each year the Indiana Audubon Society (IAS) selects an individual or individuals to who have shown the same type of dedication to stewardship of the environment that was exhibited by Dr. Mason.  
At the 2008 Fall Meeting, Pam and Tim Keller received the James Mason Award for their dedication to Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary. They were residents at the Sanctuary and as a team spent hours of time and effort to keep the property in excellent shape. The two of them carried out their duties of mowing, chain-sawing, weed-eating, and cleaning. Some of the larger tasks included replacing or repairing bridges.  They both were excellent with handling a saw and a drill.

The Keller's are both excellent photographers. Tim has had numerous photos published in The Quarterly.  Pamela has photographed every insect in the Mary Gray Insect Collection so that interested individuals can have digital access to the collection.

The IAS Immediate Past President Becky Lewis states, "What used to be work days with several volunteers thinking there was a long list of 'chores' that needed to be completed the weekend before a spring or fall program, turned out to be one hour's work because Tim and Pam had already done most of them." Amy and Carl Wilms, current resident managers who worked with the Kellers for a little more than two years, enjoyed their leadership and fellowship. Carl comments that, "Tim and Pamela's presence changes 'work' into adventurous outings. Whether we were building or dragging materials through the property, there was always a moment to appreciate the song being heard or the foliage underfoot. The casual expertise offered by Tim's eye and ear for birding is humbling and the consistently positive outlook of Pamela is terrific."  

Just this past summer Tim and Pam moved to Muncie to be closer to Pam's mom and dad. Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary does not seem the same without them.  While they were here, they left an indelible mark that the rest of the visitors to Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary will continue to enjoy for many years to come.  We would like to thank them for their generosity and years of service to Indiana Audubon Society and Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary.

Editor's Note
by Scott Arvin

We hope you enjoyed this issue. We will be making further changes to the newsletter as things proceed with the new web design at indianaaudubon.org and we are able to establish a closer integration of our materials once it goes live. Thank you.