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MARCH 2000

NEXT MEETING: Friday March 3, 2000 at the Unitarian Meeting House on Spring Hill Road in Storrs. The program will begin at 7:30 pm. Chris Ephlick will present a program called California Rice Fields: Birds and Conservation . Sue Craig has volunteered to bring refreshments.

The April semi-annual auction is fast approaching. Are you saving your treasures to be auctioned?? Are you planning to attend to snap up some wonderful object that you had not know you could not live without? Come have fun and clean your closets at the same time…..

FIELD TRIPS: The February trip that was planned to Cape Ann was canceled due to inclement weather.

There will be a trip to Sachuest Point NWR in Middletown, Rhode Island and other spots along the Rhode Island shore on Sunday March 5. Meet at the Audrey Beck Town Hall at the intersection of Routes 275 and 195 at 7 am. This will be an all day trip, returning to Storrs in the early evening. Please call Larry Marcus (429-7195) or Sam Higgins (455-0063) if you plan to attend and please pack a lunch. Sachuest has become the premier spot in New England to view Harlequin Ducks. There are often a lot of them in great light making them easy to see. Also expect to see loons, grebes, many species of ducks; last year there were two Short-eared Owls at the Charlestown Breachway.

 

Have you joined the NOS listserve yet? To do so, go to the NOS home page at

http://members.tripod.com/~NOS98/nos.html

Then click on e-mail list and follow the instructions you will find there. Then you will receive messages from other members of the list - you can post what birds you have seen, if you are interested in going birding with someone, if you have a question about a bird id…….It's also a very efficient way to notify other members of rare bird sightings.

Steve Morytko's sightings from yesterday (2/26/2000) posted at the listserve: 'Yesterday at 3pm a Northern Shrike in the trees along the road between Ibis Swale and Horsebarn Hill (south of the chicken coops). A Red-winged Blackbird was perched 5 feet away calling. On the other side of this road, at the south end of the field, on a fence post, was a Northern Harrier (gray ghost).

Backyard birds today were 2 Fox Sparrows, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk consuming Blue Jay, and a Black-capped Chickadee with just a trace of the black cap. Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cow-birds for the first time this season. '

Bruce Carver has seen a first winter Iceland Gull in downtown Willimantic for the past 3 days. The bird is being seen on the roof of the Social Security Building, in the fields next to Jillson Theater and other downtown locations.

At my feeders, I have been watching a pair of Carolina Wrens that have survived the cold spell and a flock of 14 Pine Siskins.

 

How has the internet revolution influenced birders? The internet, for better or worse, has impacted every facet of today's society, including activities such as birding. The speed at which information can be transferred to everyone that is connected electronically is extraordinary. Sarah Hume is conducting a survey to begin to understand how birders are using this incredible informational resource. In particular, she is interested in how the internet effects where and when birders are going out into the field and how this information is increasing or changing the way birders are spending their time and money. Douglas Hume is conducting a simultaneous survey of how birders define themselves.

They are hoping that fellow NOS members will help them edit their survey before it is submitted to the major bird lists, which will be the actual sample population for the research. They want to ensure that the questions in the survey are clear and understandable so that the participants can answer the questions correctly and the researchers can analyze the information properly. If these questions are misinterpreted by either party, the results will be wrong misleading. Only by having third parties, such as NOS members editing the survey prior to the actual gathering of information can a relevant survey be produced. Creating the survey is the hardest and most important aspect of this type of research. Therefore, it is imperative to them to have a group of individuals, who would fit the criteria of participants, look over the questions before the survey is conducted.

If you wish to be involved in assisting in a research project and have access to the internet, please check out the website: http://members.aol.com/lithicat/survey.htm . Please answer the questions and

at the end of the survey there will be a section in which you can include any comments about the survey especially if the questions seem to be confusing.

If you have any further questions or comments regarding this survey, you can contact Doug and Sarah Hume by phone at 860/429-2346 or e-mail at Lithicat@aol.com. They are very grateful for your help. If you are interested in the results of the survey please contact them.

There are 77 North American birds named for people, from Abert's Towhee to Xantus' murrelet. Most are western or northern, for a good reason - birds of the eastern colonies were known by colloquial names generations before serious naturalists began studying them. But as explorers penetrated the wilderness in the 1800s, the scientists accompanying them had an opportunity to name their newest finds in honor of friends, colleagues. collectors, and financial supporters.

With four birds named for him ( a storm petrel, plover, phalarope, and warbler), Alexander Wilson is better enshrined in field guides than any other person. Although not as well known today as Audubon, Wilson had an arguably greater impact on early American ornithology, and his illustrated American Ornithology preceded Audubon's work by many years.