The Limpkin February 2020

Albany Audubon Society
Post Office Box 705
Albany, Georgia 31701
Founded in 1972, Chartered 1973
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President Elaina Nattrass
President-Elect/Vice-President Open until filled
Secretary Kristie Nattrass
Program Chair Shared Position
Treasurer Mark Mitchell
Field Trip Chair Alan Ashley
Conservation Chair Anne Jacobs, PhD
Hospitality Chair Melvin Dees
Education Chair Donna Reshetnichenko
Newsletter/Publications Laurel Foreman
Board Members Donnie Lanier, Elaina Nattrass, Kristie Nattrass, Lucy Power, Ray Power, Debbie Reynolds, Ron Simpson

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Refreshments served at 6:45, the program begins promptly at 7:00 pm
I expect standing room only, so come early to get a seat!
The location is the Flint RiverQuarium Business Office. The address is
117 Pine Avenue Albany, Ga 31701.

That being said, the meeting is not actually in the RiverQuarium, it is in the business office (Which the Imagination Theater is also located.)  For those not acquainted with the “wet-lab,” the best description I can give is as follows.

Coming from Jefferson, drive west on Pine Avenue.  Before getting to the actual FRQ, look for a red brick building on the left.   On the building, it will show Flint RiverQuarium Business Office.  It is directly across from Pretoria Fields Brewery.  Go to the double glass doors and take the stairs or elevator to the second floor. I will post signs on the glass doors, elevator, and on the second floor.

*Those familiar with the area, please park in the back of FRQ so more parking will be available on the street*

For newcomers, this is only a temporary place while the FRQ River Room is being renovated.  Parking may be scarce with the brewery across the road, so give yourself time to find a spot.


If you arrive later, please text me at 229-669-7168 and I will come down to let you in.  Due to our current president, Elaina Nattrass (Horne) planning her wedding, I will assume presidential duties through March 31, 2020.  You may contact me at any time.

Donna Hall Reshetnichenko

Mission Statement: The mission of Albany Audubon Society is to promote conservation and restoration of local natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

February’s Program

Eric Hall who works for the Florida Wildlife Commission.
Eric Hall who works for the Florida Wildlife Commission

The program will be given by Eric Hall who works for the Florida Wildlife Commission.  He will speak on various topics including the impact of python and hog populations on native species, his extensive career in the Navy Special Ops, and his passionate fishing hobby (see image).  This will surely be a one-of-a-kind encounter that you don’t want to miss. He is also fortunate to be my brother 😊, as is Wade Hall, who gave an unforgettable program last March with his son Bruce.

Birding Trip-Saturday, February 15, 2020-Anne Jacobs

On Saturday, February 15, meet fellow Audubon members at 8:00 AM in the parking area of Pirate’s Cove Nature Park (just off Northampton Rd., Leesburg, GA) for a morning of birding. This park features easy trails through swamp and woodlands. In the winter, it is a good place to look for birds such as pileated woodpeckers, belted kingfishers, golden-crowned kinglets, blue-headed vireos, and many more.



Eastern Bluebird
The routes and boxes were created by our very own, Donnie Lanier! He tirelessly makes the boxes and expands and creates new routes every year.
Eastern Bluebird nest
The Eastern Bluebirds are getting ready! They are now often seen nearby. Especially the males who typically arrive first to scope out the nesting options.

Did you know… A bluebird can spot caterpillars and insects in tall grass from a distance of over 50 yards!

A big shout out to three Lee County High School Seniors, Chris Kim, Jordyn Hardy, and Cameron Heard (part of the Evergreen Environmental Club, LCHS) who graciously helped me on the Sasser West bluebird route. After showing them what to do at the first box, they eagerly spent the next 3 hours working the briars and boxes. All I had to do is drive to each box location and sit in the warm truck as they took care of business! Thanks also to Mrs. Jones, teacher and club sponsor!
Be sure to check out their website at


National Audubon Society conducted its 120th CBC, which remarkably was Albany Audubon’s 45th year of participation on January 2nd, 2020. Rain or shine, (mostly the former) six teams of 2 or 3 people spent most of the day (and some of the dark) counting birds seen or heard. Thanks to all who participated, and especially the team leaders: Larry Gridley, Melvin Dees, Wes Hatch (who came from out of town and car camped to begin owling at the stroke of midnight), Wayne Schaffner, and Mike Keenan.

A huge thanks to Peggy and Alan Ashley. Due to a family emergency, The Mitchell’s couldn’t host the CBC Dinner as planned. As most of the meal was prepared in advance by Mark and Karon Mitchell, they handed it off to Peggy Ashley. Since Alan was out counting birds, she managed to pull it all together and welcomed everyone to a warm and DRY home! It poured rain some of the days, but that doesn’t stop a real birder… 😊

Soup and sandwiches were served with love whilst we told stories of our adventures and tallied the results.

Melvin Dees, our CBC compiler, will soon give us an update on the exact numbers and noteworthy species.

Back row: Mike Keenan, Wes Hatch, Ulf Kirchdorfer, Donnie Lanier, Melvin Dees, Alan Ashley, Larry Gridley
Front row: Donna Reshetnichenko, Julie Revell, Debbie Reynolds.  Peggy Ashley is taking the photo.
Back row: Mike Keenan, Wes Hatch, Ulf Kirchdorfer, Donnie Lanier, Melvin Dees, Alan Ashley, Larry Gridley
Front row: Donna Reshetnichenko, Julie Revell, Debbie Reynolds. Peggy Ashley is taking the photo.

Albany Audubon Society thanks Roy and Fran Brown! They have generously shared with us “Frances’ Garden,” where the ‘not typically seen’ wintering birds have found a haven. Daily buffets of juicy oranges and Welch’s Grape Jelly (NOT JAM) have made at least one Summer Tanager and a flock of approximately 20 Baltimore Orioles a reliable sight. We appreciate their kindness towards us and the birds. 😊

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act Under Threat

Conservation Chair, Anne Jacobs, PhD

You’ve probably heard about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). This law, passed in 1918, is the major law in the United States intended to prevent the killing and selling of birds, bird parts, and bird eggs without a valid permit. Over the last several decades, it has also been used as a legal basis to fine and penalize various industries when their negligence leads to the death of birds. Now, just over one hundred years after the law came into being, it is under threat.

A couple of years ago, the Trump administration proposed a new, weakened interpretation of the law. Specifically, they proposed not penalizing any company that killed birds incidentally (as opposed to killing birds intentionally). Under the new interpretation, for example, if an oil company didn’t cover its oil pits, and birds mistook the pits for water, flew into them, and died, that oil company could not be fined. No matter how many birds died, as a result, the company would face no legal consequences and would, therefore, have no incentive to take preventative measures (such as covering over the oil pit to prevent birds from getting in). The new rule would also affect how companies responded in the aftermath of incidents like oil spills. In the wake of massive oil spills such as the Exon Valdez oil spill in Alaska or the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the companies responsible had to pay large fines for the damage they caused to wildlife as part of the MBTA. The new rule does away with all that by arguing that since the birds were not killed intentionally, the company shouldn’t be punished.

The Trump Administration’s new guidelines for the MBTA started back in 2017, but now the administration is seeking to make them more permanent by turning the guidelines into an official regulation. This change would effectively do away with any incentive for private companies to protect birds and would make it harder for a future administration to restore those protections. The Trump Administration has stated that they’re relying on companies to protect birds voluntarily. However, with no incentives for protecting birds and no penalties for bad behavior, it is difficult to see that happening. Moreover, this change comes at a time when North American birds are already facing population declines. The changes to how the MBTA is enforced could not come at a worse time.

What can be done about this? There are several possible ways to respond. The new guidelines are open to public comments for a 45-day period beginning on February 3, 2020. Additionally, several states and conservation organizations are already challenging the new guidelines in federal court. There is also a proposed new law that has been introduced to the House of Representatives. Its current title is the Migratory Bird Protection Act, and it aims to stop industries from killing birds in unintentional, but easily preventable, ways. Now is a good time to contact your elected representatives and ask them to prioritize bird conservation.

Spring Birding Tour (April 17-19, 2020) St. George Island, FL

By Alan Ashley, Field Trip Chair
For more information, contact Alan at 229-894-2362

Every spring millions of birds that winter in the tropics return to their breeding grounds on the North American continent via the Gulf of Mexico. For many of these weary voyagers, the trans-gulf flight will end on the barrier islands off the Florida coast. North winds, rain, cold fronts or heavy fog may induce exhausted birds to come down to the first available land. When any of these conditions exist, thousands of trans-gulf migrants, worn out by a flight of more than 500 miles, will seek refuge on Florida’s barrier islands.

St. George Island, located in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the coast from Eastpoint, Florida is considered to be one of the best places in the southeastern states to see neotropical migrants. Birds are regularly seen resting in open view too exhausted to move. Others are so engrossed in feeding after their long flight that they seem oblivious to human activity.

Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks intermingled with 20 or more species of eastern wood warblers decked out in their new spring garb and a countless number of vireos, thrushes, buntings, cuckoos and flycatchers may be seen. In addition to songbirds, a wealth of shorebirds, gulls, terns, and waders are possible.

We will make several stops on our way to St. George Island in search of birds of the shores and marshes. We will stop for a picnic lunch at Otter Lake in Panacea. This area is always good for the Yellow-throated and Prothonotary Warblers.

We usually dine as a group on Friday and Saturday evenings. Breakfast and lunches are on your own. However, you may do as you wish.
On Friday, April 17, 2020, meet in the Big Lots Parking Lot on N. Slappey at 7:15 am, sharp!

Note: If your schedule allows, be prepared to stay an extra day. You never know when a bird fallout may occur.

Spring Birding Tour to St. George Island, FL, April 13-15, 2018-Memories

?Interested in More?
Continue reading to learn how YOU can make a difference
Anyone wishing to volunteer, please text Donna @ 229-669-7168!

Up and coming educational outreach events

Thursday, February 20th, 2020 (8:00-2:30)
Biodiversity Day at Chehaw for Lee County Middle School, West

Friday, February 21st, 2020 (8:00-2:30)
Biodiversity Day at Chehaw for Lee County Middle School, East

Friday, March 20th, 2020 (8:00-2:30)
Biodiversity Day at Chehaw for Richmond Hill Middle School
This event is gaining in popularity! Thank you to Jackie Entz, Director of
Education at Chehaw for asking us to be a part of this.

Saturday, May 16th, 2020 (10:45-12:00)
I know this is several months from now, but time gets by very quickly!
Adventure Seekers is a new program offered by Flint RiverQuarium in the Imagination Theater Lobby every third Saturday each month.
AAS has been asked to be the guest speaker and prepare a 45-minute program on birding, native species, migratory birds, etc. The target audience is Kindergarten through fifth graders.
Thank you to Malloree Holcombe, FRQ Education Coordinator for inviting us to take part in this neat experience.

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 (9:30 am)
Serving on the Board of Directors of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful (KADB) in recent months has truly shown me the big picture of the needs in Albany, Georgia.
Show your support for a group that shares many common goals of the Albany Audubon Society by volunteering your time in celebration of Arbor Day.
101 thirty-gallon trees and 93 shrubs will be planted at the site of 1100 Antioch Road/Putney Park
9:30 am
46 thirty-gallon trees will be planted at the site of 1900 North Monroe Street
Contact the KADB office at 229-302-3098 for additional information.

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