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Newsletter of the Northern Arizona Audubon Society Volume XXXIII • Number 3 • Jan/Feb 2004

Mexican Spotted Owl Yellowbilled Cuckoos in AZ

At the January meetings, Joseph Ganey, a In February Matthew Johnson will discuss
Research Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Forest the natural history, population status and
Service, will present a program on conservation distribution of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo in
planning for the Mexican Spotted Owl. Due to Arizona. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is also called
its status as a threatened species, most of us are the Raincrow or Stormcrow because its call
familiar with this southwestern owl, but perhaps heralds the coming of summer rains. This habit,
don’t know a great deal about its combined with its beauty and
natural history or the conservation ability to eat enormous quantities
issues surrounding it. of defoliating caterpillars, has
Mexican spotted owls live in made the Yellow-billed cuckoo a
forested canyon and mountain popular bird in North America.
habitats across the southwest and Unlike European cuckoos, it rarely
into Mexico, and prefer closed- lays its eggs in the nests of other
canopy forests or rocky canyons birds.
for nesting and roosting. Since Occupying riparian habitat that
these forests often contain mature is more imperiled with each
or old-growth stands, forest passing year, it has been
management practices greatly recommended for listing under the
affect the status of this owl. federal Endangered Species Act by
Dr. Ganey’s talk will cover the a broad array of scientists. It is a
basic natural history and ecology
neo-tropical migrant which winters
of Mexican spotted owls, as well as
in South America, and before its precipitous
conservation (or recovery) planning for the owl,
decline, it summered and bred in most of the
and the implications of that effort for forest
United States, southernmost Canada, and
management in the southwestern U.S. The
presentation will not be technical, and does not northern Mexico. Its only remaining
assume detailed prior knowledge on the topic. strongholds in the western U.S. are three small
populations in California, and scattered
Joseph Ganey is a Research Wildlife Biologist populations in Arizona and New Mexico.
with the U.S. Forest Service. He is also a Rocky
Mountain Research Station Member, and on the Matthew Johnson, a Wildlife Biologist at USGS,
Southwest Biological Science Center, Colorado
picture of Mexican Spotted Owl please see Owl, page 3 please see Cuckoo, page 3
by Diane Knudson, USFW

January & February Meetings

“Mexican Spotted Owl” “YellowBilled Cuckoo in Arizona”
Joseph Ganey Matthew Johnson
Sedona  January  (Wed) Sedona  February  (Wed)
Adult Community Center Adult Community Center
2645 Melody Ln (behind the Sedona Car Wash) 2645 Melody Ln (behind the Sedona Car Wash)
Flagstaff  January  (Thurs) Flagstaff  February  (Thurs)
Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
1601 N San Francisco St 1601 N San Francisco St
Meetings start at 7:00 pm with social time. Formal meeting begins at 7:30pm.
President’s Corner
Phyllis Kegley, President
More About Our Dedicated Volunteers under the chairmanship of Sue Ordway, have
been especially good. If you have attended the
In my last column I wrote about some of the last two meetings, one on California condors,
volunteers who have given so much time and and the other on jaguars and wolves, then you
effort to making Northern Arizona Audubon know what I am talking about. Check out the
Society a viable chapter of the National calendar insert to see what Sue has arranged
Audubon Society. Here are some more. for the new year.
Herb Henderson, our immediate past presi- Our Field Trip Co-chairs, Barbara Hirt
dent, was an energetic and visionary leader. In (below the Rim) and Jodi Griffith (above the
his two year term as president, he helped us Rim), work really hard to provide us with
get organized in a way that has certainly made knowledgeable leaders and birdy places to go.
my job easier. It was his idea to have commit- It takes a lot of organizing to make these
tee co-chairs, one for the Flagstaff area and happen and we are grateful for the time and
one from the Sedona/Verde Valley. He also has effort they give to providing us two to four
been active in promoting the Verde Valley trips per month.
Birding and Nature Festival. Herb is now a One of the most important aspects of our
Board member of Audubon Arizona, our state Chapter’s mission is the conservation and
office. restoration of natural ecosystems. We are so
Board member, Michael Durgain, has repre- fortunate to have two active and knowledge-
sented us on the nature festival committee able conservation co-chairs, Roger Radd
since its conception, helping with its phenom- (below the Rim) , and Peter Friederici (above
enal success. Education chair, Joan Hamilton the Rim). Roger, who also is the chapter web
and Board members Linda Raymond and Patty master, can always be relied on to know the
Denison have been in charge of our chapter latest on conservation issues in the Verde
booth at the festival each year. Valley. His latest conservation venture has
Joan, our Education Co-Chair below the been working with Arizona Game and Fish to
Rim, does so much for our chapter that it restore overgrazed areas adjacent to the Page
would take the whole newsletter to tell you Springs Fish Hatchery. Linda, Patty, and Joan
about. She has been in charge of our education have worked with him on this important task.
activities for many years, contacting elemen- Thanks to the hard work of these folks, this
tary teachers in Northern Arizona to sign them area is now designated an Important Bird
up for the Audubon Adventures curriculum for Area. Linda is planning more plantings in
their classrooms. She also handles the scholar- January. See the calendar insert for the date.
ships to teachers for environmental education We are so pleased to have Peter as Conser-
summer camps and is in charge of our chapter vation Co-Chair in the Flagstaff area. He is
booth at Verde Valley Days. knowledgeable about forest restoration and
Joan now has help from Marcia Lamkin, co- many other issues that need action. Peter
chair above the Rim, who contacts teachers in organized the Chapter Conservation Hotline
the Flagstaff area and the Hopi and Navajo and the wonderful program on the Arctic
Reservation schools. Marcia has been working National Wildlife Refuge at NAU last year. If
through Habitat Harmony to relocate many of you would like to be included on the Hotline
the Gunnison prairie dogs that have been list serve, please give Peter a call.
displaced by new athletic fields and now the Well, I have not done justice to any of these
mall expansion. Her conservation ideals make Board members and volunteers and I haven’t
her the right person to expand our educational mentioned all the Board members yet, so I will
activities. have to continue in the Mar./April issue. Until
We have always had good programs for our then, happy birding and please think about
monthly meetings, but the last two years, volunteering on one of our committees.

Montezuma Well Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Sunday, January 11 - Barbara Hirt, leader Saturday, January 24 - Wilma Morrison, leader

M eet in the picnic area where we will bird

before going to the Well to check on the
wintering ducks. We will have scopes for close-
W e hope to see Yellow-rumped Warbler,
Western Meadowlark, and maybe some
surprises hanging around. Call Wilma at
up viewing of the ducks. Possibilities: Hermit 928.282.7776 for time and meeting location.
Thrush, Song Sparrow, Pied-billed Grebe,
Gadwall, American Wigeon. Contact Barbara at Bull Pen Ranch
928.284.3367 Saturday, February 28 - Ted Fritzinger, leader

Owl, from page 1

Mexican spotted owl recovery team. He has a B.S.
in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State
M eet at 8:00 AM at the McDonalds
in Camp Verde (I-17
& SR 260). We will carpool
University, and an MS in Biology and Ph.D in from there. Call Ted at
Zoology from Northern Arizona University. 928.567.7402 with questions.
Cuckoo, from page 1
Song Sparrow
Plateau Field Station, has 12 years of experience art by Gary Romig
studying avian populations and behavior. He is
co-author of the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo Be a Regional Trip Leader!
Natural History Summary and Survey
Methodology. His recent work has concentrated We are looking for a volunteer to coordinate a
on studies of bird populations on the Colorado regional trip to the Audubon Appleton-Whittell
Plateau and in the adjacent southwestern U.S. Research Ranch in southern Arizona and sur-
Regional Trips rounding areas such as Sonoita next year. We
Bosque del Apache have contact information for lodging & field trip
leaders but need someone to organize the trip.
February 13-16 - Frank Brandt, leader
Please call Barbara Hirt at 928-284-3367 to

N ow is the time to sign up for the NAAS

trip to Bosque del Apache on Valentine's-
President's Day weekend. This National Wildlife
volunteer or for further information.

the Econo Lodge, (505) 835-1500. Make reser-

Refuge on the Rio Grande 20 miles south of
vations by mid January for best price and choice
Soccorro, N.M. features clamorous flyouts of
of rooms. About a dozen members have ex-
snow geese and sandhill cranes. Trip leader
pressed interest in going, but there is room
Frank Brandt scouted the refuge in December
still for you!
and saw these flocks and 60 other species, in-
Because NAAS has costs on a trip like this,
cluding a merlin, greater yellowlegs, white-
such as liability insurance, we will ask for a $25
throated sparrow, and a rough-legged hawk
donation from each participant. This will be
hovering in the wind along US 60 near
waived for students or anyone for whom this
donation makes the trip unaffordable.
The plan is to carpool leaving on Friday,
February 13 or Saturday if that suits your sched-
Contact Frank Brandt before Jan 10, 779-
ule better and return on Monday. The drive from
3855 or kfbrandt@aol.com. After then, he'll be
Flagstaff is six and a half to seven hours and very
chasing birds in Ecuador until the 28th. In the
scenic if you go via US 60 past the VLA (Very
interim, contact Jodi Griffith, 556-0097 or
Large Array) telescope. Frank made arrange-
jgriffith@MNA.mus.az.us. We'll send you more
ments with the Friends of the Bosque for quided
detailed instructions on travel and activities at
birding tours of the refuge on Saturday and
the refuge.
Sunday. The recommended motel in Soccorro is

Rio de Flag Bottoms Page Springs Fish Hatchery

on Townsend-Winona Rd. Saturday, November 15 - Patti Denison, leader
Sunday, October 26 - Zackery Zdinak, leader When scheduling the hike for November 15th, I
Nine participants showed up for a pleasant forgot to take into account the lack of daylight at
morning stroll with trip leader Zackery Zdinak this time of year. In spite of a dark beginning,
along the cattails and pinyon-juniper. Twenty seven hearty Audubon members arrived at the
five species of birds were identified, most by PSFH Bubbling Ponds for a walk around the new
sight, some by calls. Lots of sparrows, as well as trail at 7:00 a.m. With PSFH bird lists in hand,
bluebirds, robins, and solitaires. Scrub and we headed out into the mist of the ponds. There
Pinyon Jays made appearance. Highlights in- were a few sparrows foraging around the ponds,
cluded a Ferruginous Hawk, Lincoln's Sparrow as well as an American Pipit. We heard the call
and entertaining Juniper Titmice. of the Virginia Rail from the back ponds but
never got a look at it. The first bench provided a
Flagstaff Lakes and Wetlands great photo op where Marge Schaeffer, Wilma
Sunday, November 23 - Curt Fultz, leader Morrison and Betty Girvin tried out the comfort
of the first seat provided by AZGF. While Marge
The field trip to "wetlands of the area" had stayed put to keep an eye on the ponds the rest
eleven more duck species than people--- 13 to of us made our way through the mesquite
two. The temperature rose from five degrees to bosque where we found Bushtits, RC Kinglets
a balmy 30 by early afternoon. Nothing very and Abert's Towhees. Jed Fulkerson, Wilma and
unusual was seen, though ducks were Betty left us at the Cottonwood plantings while
particularly well represented, including Wigeon, the remainder finished the tour.
Ruddy, Ring-necked, Lesser Scaup, Mallard, Linda Raymond commented that it appeared
Gadwall, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Red-head, there was about a 30% survival rate for the
Green-winged Teal, Pintail, Shoveler, and Cottonwoods Audubon planted after another hot
Common Merganser. Also tallied were Western dry summer. When we arrived back at the ponds
and Eared Grebe, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, we witnessed an "unknown" drop beneath the
and a flocks of Pinyon Jays. cording protecting the fish ponds where this
small duck began diving for breakfast. Barbara
Wanted! Hirt, Michael Cain, Linda Raymond and I took
turns on the scope and with the aid of Sibley's we
Volunteers at Page Springs
began the process of elimination. Michael
Fish Hatchery called out that, "it has a frog"! After several
Do you like the outdoors and want to make a minutes the bird somehow managed to flip it
positive contribution to wildlife habitat? into it's mouth. With legs protruding from the
NAAS needs volunteers to help with tree bill, we continued an attempt to identify. We
planting, exotic plant eradication, and trail have since agreed that it was a female Hooded
maintenance at the Page Springs Fish Merganser, a species
Hatchery. We’ll be working on Jan 10th and which has not been
recorded there since Thanks to all these people
17th from 9am ö 3pm. We may also have a who renewed/joined NAAS!
work day in February. Bring work gloves, Virginia Gilmore spied
one in 1991. It is a Frank and Linda Brandt
shovels and rakes if you have them, lunch, Ben and Pat Brown
water and sunscreen. We’ll meet at 9am at lovely time of year to Suzy Clemenz
walk the trail, take a Patricia Denison
the Bubbling Ponds side of the hatchery at Susanne Durling
the new parking lot on Page Springs Road. picnic and enjoy the June M. Kaiser
benches provided along Jim Logan and Sherry Lewis
Call Linda Raymond 928-282-6188 Betty J. Martin
(lraym@sedona.net) for more information the way. Nancy Ryder
Philip Walker
and to let us know that you’ll be there.
JAN/FEB 2004
NEWS  Page 5


The Great Backyard Bird Count (February Watch the birds for at least 15 minutes
13-16) has two main purposes. One is to “track on each day that you participate. We recommend
the abundance and distribution of North watching for a half-hour or more, so that you’ll
America’s winter birds”. The other is to call have a good sense of what birds are in your area.
attention to the important and enormous How to count:
habitat that bird-friendly backyards provide Your data will be used by
birds and other species of animals. scientists to analyze bird
One of the largest citizen science projects in populations, so it is very
the world, participants across North American important that everyone
submitted almost 50,000 checklists totaling count their birds in exactly
more than four million birds of 512 species the same way. On the day(s)
during last year’s count. The data collected will that you count, watch your
help to document trends in bird populations bird feeders, or take a short
during the winter months when birds face many walk (less than 1 mile) in
environmental hurdles. Comparisons with your neighborhood or park. Gila Woodpecker
previous counts can indicate which bird species For each kind (species) of bird art by Gary Romig
are declining. Scientists can then do further that you see, keep track of the highest number
research to try to find reasons for the declines of individuals that you observe at any one
and determine what interventions may be time. Use a “Tally Sheet” to help keep track of
necessary. your counts. Be careful not to count the same
“The Great Backyard Bird Count is a terrific bird over and over! Don’t add another Blue Jay to
way for individuals, families, schools, and your tally every time you see a Blue Jay at the
community groups to contribute to a better feeder. You could be seeing the same individual
understanding of birds”, says Frank Gill, again and again. If you record only the highest
National Audubon’s Director of Science. number of individual birds that you see in view at
Also, it calls attention on the best ways to one time, you’re sure to never count the same
improve the health and increase the diversity of bird more than once!
one’s backyard with native plants, water and At the end of the day go to “Submit your
other wildlife-friendly elements. This includes bird checklist” on our GBBC web site,
reducing pesticide use, www.birdsource.org/gbbc. Fill out the questions
conserving water, planting about your location, local habitat, and count
native species and removing duration. Then enter your high counts for each
exotic pests. species sited on that day and location. You can
If you or a group that you submit one bird checklist for each day that you
belong to would like to count or for each new area that you count in.
participate, all you need is Finally, after you’ve submitted your data,
basic knowledge of bird explore our web site. Check our results section to
identification and access to the see other reports from your community, and
Whitecrowned Sparrow Internet at home, a friend’s watch as data comes in from other areas. Have a
art by Gary Romig
house, local library, school, or look through our other pages, and find out other
anywhere you can get access to the web. ways you can help birds.
Follow these steps: The Great Backyard Bird Count is a project
Count the birds in your backyard, developed and managed by the National
local park, or other natural area on one or all Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of
four count days. You can count in as many Ornithology with sponsorship from Wild Birds
different locations as you wish; just make sure Unlimited store owners and the Natural
to keep separate records and fill out a checklist Resources Conservation Service, a division of the
for each area. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
Page 6


Last winter was a season of extremes for bird make some interesting observations concerning
populations. In West Nile virus-afflicted regions, the whereabouts of birds across the continent,”
counts of American Crows dropped to a 15-year says David Bonter, project leader for Project
low. Chickadees also were seen in fewer numbers FeederWatch.
than usual, while other species appeared in Bonter says FeederWatch has been able to
record-high numbers. How do researchers know track such trends as the movement of disease in
this? Because more than 16,000 people from House Finches, winter irruptions of such species
across the United States and Canada count the as Evening Grosbeaks, and changes in abun-
birds that visit their feeders and send this infor- dance of Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks.
mation to scientists at the Cornell Lab of Orni- “It’s truly amazing what we’ve learned from the
thology, where it is collated and analyzed to remarkable dataset provided by Project
determine the status of North America’s feeder FeederWatch,” he says. “And to think that it
birds. This winter, won't you join them? exists solely because so many people are willing
The observers are volunteers for Project to take a little time to tell us which birds are
FeederWatch, a winter-long survey of North visiting their bird feeders through the winter
American birds that visit backyard bird feeders. makes it more remarkable still. We are truly
FeederWatch, which began in 1987, is organized grateful for their help.”
by Cornell and Bird Studies Canada. The more volunteers submitting bird counts
“FeederWatchers” represent a range of ages to Project FeederWatch, the more scientists can
and backgrounds, but all of them share a passion learn about feeder bird populations. Participants
and concern for birds. They follow a simple receive a Research Kit that includes bird-feeding
protocol that was designed by scientists and tips, an identification poster of common feeder
educators. The protocol asks participants to birds, a bird-counting days calendar featuring
choose count days, record how many birds of photos taken by FeederWatchers, and more. It's
each species they see, and note details about a worthwhile winter project -- and lots of fun. A
weather conditions. Then they send this infor- $15 fee helps defray the cost of operating the
mation to scientists at Cornell via the Internet or study. To learn more, including how you can
paper data forms. “Thanks to the careful reports become a member, call (800) 843-2473 or visit
of these dedicated volunteers, we’ve been able to www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw.

We all receive hundreds of solicitations asking onset of leaf rust. Unfortunately, this new
us to support the efforts of the many agricultural method is more dependent on
conservation groups, while not always certain chemicals and has encouraged the clearing of
how much our money really helps. Here’s a way more rain forest - habitat that supports birds
to help the environment directly by buying and many other species.
shade- grown coffee. Shade grown coffee is usually more expensive
Coffee was traditionally grown under a canopy than the open sun brands but much stronger so
of shade trees with other types of vegetation. one has to use only half as much to get the
Grown this way, coffee is an environmentally- desired flavor. People who have tried it say its
friendly crop. The shade trees fix nitrogen in soil flavor is better and even the coffee industry is
and the fallen leaves also provide nutrients, willing to admit that the new high-yield open
reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. sun varieties “are simply not as good in the cup.”
Recently, many coffee growers in northern Climate significantly affects coffee flavor so it
Latin America have reduced or eliminated shade stands to reason that plants grown in the shade
to grow new high-yielding coffee plants under produce fewer berries which “tend to be sweet
direct sun. By using new varieties that can and of high quality.” please see page 7
survive open sun, growers hoped to reduce the
JAN/FEB 2004 NEWS  Page 7

Shade Grown Coffee , from page 6

In researching web sites for this article, I Where to buy shadegrown/organic coffee:
was reminded of another aspect of the organic/
shade-grown coffee movement: helping the Flagstaff:
local people whose lives depend on this crop. • Macy’s, 14 S. Beaver
One example of this is the Organic Coffee Co., a • Campus Coffee Bean,1800 S.Milton
• Helen Yard’s Toucanet Coffee; 779-1865
division of JBR Gourmet Foods. At the Finca (helentoucanet@npgcable.com)
Irlanda coffee plantation in Chiapas, Mexico, • Basha’s Supermarkets,
JBR has established a nonprofit foundation to 1000 N. Humphrey’s and 2700 S. Woodlands Village
provide additional economic and educational Blvd, Organic Coffee Co. brand*,
opportunities for coffee farm workers and to • Federated Community Church
(Contact: Tish Bogan-Ozmun at 526-3212)
protect its natural resources, including rain • New Frontiers, 1000 S. Milton Rd.
forest and endangered wildlife. As part of its Cafe Ibis -Look for stickers on the packages of shade
commitment to protect the environment, JBR grown varieties by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird
encourages “green” growing and processing Council
practices and supplies both organic and “fair • Safeway, 4910 N. Hwy 89 only,
Seattle’s Best (Be sure the package is labeled shade-
trade” certified coffee. JBR also pays special grown)
attention to the use of organic fertilizer and the • Mountain Harvest - Kalani Organica
quality and conservation of water and natural • Jitter’s-Has some but you need to ask for it because it is
habitat preservation. Because not all coffee sold not labeled.
under the label, Organic Coffee Co., is shade- • Starbuck’s-one decaffeinated brand, Shade-grown
grown, they cannot advertise it as such. (This is • Late-for-the-Train-Some is labeled shade-grown
the organic coffee that Basha’s Supermarkets Sedona
sells and although it is not all shade-grown, • Basha’s-160 Coffee Pot Dr., same as Flagstaff
JBR’s practices are helping the environment • New Frontiers, 1420 W. Hwy. 89A, same as Flagstaff
and the farm workers.) • Ravenheart of Sedona, 1370 W. Hwy. 89A - All their
coffees are all natural, chemical free and shade grown.
We hope you will support the movement They don’t pay for the organic certification label
to return coffee growing to the shade (see list at though. Check out povertybay.com
right). I am happy to see that more local • Safeway-2300 W. 89A, same as Flagstaff
supermarkets and coffee shops now carry this Cottonwood
coffee. If you are in a coffee shop or grocery • Safeway-1635 E. Cottonwood St., same as Flagstaff
that does not offer it, ask for shade-grown or
*Not entirely shade-grown
organic coffee anyway. If enough people do
this, it can influence more businesses to sell it.

Make Your Own Suet in waxed paper and then store the suet cakes in a
plastic bag in the freezer.
1. Start with slabs of animal fat, which you can
7. When it is time to feed the suet, you can either
obtain from your butcher.
slip the suet cake into an onion bag, spread the
2. Melt the fat in a pot over low heat until
suet onto a pine cone, or slip it into a suet basket.
8. Suet is best fed in the winter. If you feed it in
3. Strain the liquid fat through a sieve;throw
the summer, place in a cool location and check
away any solid chunks.
often. If the suet becomes rancid, throw it away.
4. Before the fat congeals, add your choice of bird
seed, nuts, or dried fruit. You can also add pea-
Suet is a high energy food that helps birds survive in
nut butter. cold weather. This is one of many different recipes.
5. Once the suet is mixed, spoon into muffin tins You can buy a suet holder, or you can put it in a
and set in the refrigerator to cool. mesh bag. Make sure you hang it high enough that
6. Once the suet has hardened, wrap individually animals don’t get at the suet.
Northern Arizona Audubon Society PAID
PO Box 1496, Sedona, AZ 86339 Flagstaff, AZ
Permit No. 163

visit our web site:


JOIN US! Shop at Bashas

Please enroll me/our household as a Chap-
and Help NAAS!
ter Member of Northern Arizona Audubon If you haven’t done so already, make sure you
Society (NAAS). let Bashas know you want to support Northern
Arizona Audubon. Bashas’ “Thanks a Million”
Name: program in which it encourages customers to
Address: designate a local non-profit to receive 1% of
City, State, Zip that customer’s purchases will continue
Phone: through May. Just give the cashier the NAAS
Email: number 28834 the next time you check out at
(If you wish to be a part of the NAAS email list) Bashas’, and thereafter NAAS will automati-
cally receive a 1% skim from subsequent pur-
Enclosed: chases. Encourage your friends to do so as well!
$12 for 1 year
$22 for 2 years
$30 for 3 years • The BlackHawk Watch is published bi-monthly Septem-
ber through June , and is sent to members of the Northern
Please make checks payable to NAAS and mail to: Arizona Audubon Society as a membership benefit.
Membership Chair, NAAS • Articles are welcome from members and non-members. Send
PO Box 1496, Sedona, AZ 86339 proposed articles by email to bryan@coopsmaps.com Deadline
for copy is the 10th of the month.