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SEPTEMBER 1998

NEXT MEETING: The Executive Committee voted to have no meeting in September - our next meeting will be the regularly scheduled meeting in October. Please see the message from the President later in this newsletter. As you will see at Bob's message, we need someone willing to be Program Chair. If you would be willing to serve in this capacity, please call Bob at 429-8784. We hope to have a full slate of officers to present to you to be voted upon at the October meeting.

At the October meeting will also be having a reception to welcome Margaret Rubega and her husband, Chris Elphick to our community. Ms. Rubega has joined the Uconn faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and will be teaching the Ornithology class formerly taught by George Clark Jim Slater, and Mr. Manter. Mr. Elphick is an experienced birder, both in the US and in his native Great Britain. If anyone is willing to help me with this reception please call me, "Sam" Higgins, 455-0063, ASAP.

DUES NOTICE: The form is included in this month's newsletter. I will publish the membership list of all paid members and the rare bird alert in the December newsletter. All paid memberships received before November 25, will be included in this list. Last year I was remiss in printing the rare bird alert in a timely way and I promise I will not do that this year. (Now we will just have to get Steve Morytko to find us another rare bird!)

FIELD TRIPS: Saturday September 19 to Lighthouse Point in New Haven for the hawk migration, and on to Hammonasset for whatever. Meet at the Audrey Beck Building on the corner of Routes 278 and 195 in Storrs at 7 am. Plan to return during the late afternoon.

Although small in size, Lighthouse Point Park is one of the most important birding sites in the state ... also famous as one of the most important hawkwatch sites in New England. Unusual raptors, such as Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, and an occasional Long-eared Owl are likely in the fall ...

Devine and Smith Connecticut Birding Guide

OTHER AREA EVENTS: The Connecticut Ornithological Association annual Fall field day is September 19, at the Birdcraft Museum in Fairfield. There will be several bird walks both on the grounds of the museum and to nearby locations. There will be butterfly walks, indoor lectures, events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the museum, and events specifically planned for children. These events are all open to the public. Call Fran d'Amico at (203) 237-2734 or Rachel Keneally at (203)268-6904. for registration information or register at the door. The cost is $5.00 for advance registration for adults, $7.50 at the door. (Free under the age of 16.) Registration begins at 7:30 am and all activities will begin at 8.


 At the June meeting several members brought wonderful books for adults and children. We were thinking that it would be nice to share these recommendations with everyone, especially in time for holiday shopping; so if you have a favorite bird or nature book that you would like to tell everyone else about, please either call me (455-0063) or send me an e-mail message (msamh@snet.net). ( I don't remember the ones at the meeting, so those people should also contact me so I can include them.)


HELP!

NOS won't be meeting in September, because we haven't been able to find someone to be the program chair (hence, we cannot put on a program). We decided to skip the meeting because all we would be doing would be "business". Everything you need to know about things that are going on in September (trips, etc.) are included in this newsletter.

I'm afraid the meetings aren't nearly as interesting if we don't have a program. Unfortunately, no one has stepped forward to take on this responsibility. The current officers for the club are stretched thin now as it is, and cannot take on any more responsibility for running the club. We therefore need a volunteer or volunteers to run the programs. This need not be an onerous burden. First of all, out of the ten programs to be scheduled, two are a given--George Clark is almost always willing to come down and speak, and I personally think we could re-do the auction this year (I would be willing to be auctioneer). Second, George has suggested a list of people who could be called upon to put on a program--thinking of people or subjects for talks is therefore that much easier. Third, this position could be flexible--if three or four people want to get together as a committee to do the programs, that would be only two or three programs for each person.

We need your help. NOS has been around for over forty years--it would be a shame to see the club founder just because no one wanted to come up with a few programs. Let's see what we can do to resolve this problem!

Bob Pirrie
NOS President


I would like to share some personal observations on summer bird (??)feeding. This year, for the first time, I kept the sunflower seed feeders filled throughout the summer. Aside from the obvious benefits, such as being able to enjoy beautiful birds, such as Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings "up close and personal" and then having everyone bring their babies to "learn" how to eat seeds from the feeder; there were the antics of the squirrels. They managed to keep me and my dogs entertained for hours on end. I have a tray feeder hanging from a pole about 10 feet outside the sun room of my house. The squirrels and I had an ongoing battle all summer long over whether they should be allowed to eat at this feeder. First I had the baffle too close to the feeder and they were simply able to twist their little bodies around it and reach. So I lowered the baffle a little so there was a slightly greater distance between the baffle and the seeds. So after a while they discovered that they can jump from the ground above the baffle and they were all set. This wasn't all that easy for them as they had to get a running start to get high enough. I sat no more than four feet away from them and watched them make try after try until they got a far enough running start that they made it. Then I found a good compromise position for the baffle; they were not able to jump high enough or twist around - so then they discovered that they could climb a near by tree, travel along the roof and hurl themselves at the feeder from the air. They only made it once in a while; then I had to go out and shoo them away. But it was amazing to sit in a chair and watch them. They ran across the glass ceiling then launched themselves in the general direction of the feeder. It had to hurt when they missed! The dogs could not believe these things were running only inches from their faces and they couldn't get near them - they were frantic most of the summer. I can only imagine what the birds quietly eating must have thought when squirrels suddenly go hurtling by or actually land with them out of thin air. I had no idea that sunflower seeds were worth all that effort! I once read that squirrels don't really even like sunflower seeds - they just like the challenge of trying to outwit us. This seemed to support that theory.

"Sam" Higgins
newsletter editor
455-0063; msamh@snet.net