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Meet Us in Chariton May 5 - 7   

Summer TanagerThe IOU 2017 spring meeting will be held in Chariton on May 5-7.  We’re doing it a bit differently this time by partnering with the Lucas County tourism board for their inaugural Lucas County Birding Festival.  It will be open to the public, but the format will similar to our regular IOU meetings.  We’ll have field trips in the mornings and several presentations and workshops on Saturday afternoon, including a Trumpeter Swan release.  There will a banquet Saturday evening with a keynote speaker.  Our speaker this year is Heather Sanders from Ankeny.  She participated in an EarthWatch expedition last summer to study Flammulated Owls in northern Utah.  It should be a fun and informative program.

Lucas County has the second highest percentage of public land in Iowa and has two of Iowa’s Bird Conservation Areas (BCA’s) – Stephens Forest and 1000 Acre Forest.  The forests and grasslands host the typical southern Iowa specialties, including Northern Bobwhite, Northern Mockingbird and several resident warblers.  While not extensive, there are several nice wetlands in the county.  As always, who knows what spring migration will bring.  We’ll also do a night outing for Whip-poor-will and Chuck-will’s-widow.  There’s a good chance for staked-out Barn Owl nests.

Click here to register.

Full festival information here 

Here's a link to lodging options from the Lucas County chamber site.  The festival site mentioned above offers some additional options.

Heather Sanders Keynote Speaker - Heather Sanders

Following Flammulated Owls in the Western United States

Heather Sanders lives in Ankeny and has taught secondary school biological science for nineteen years.  She has a strong love for ecology, especially birds and mammals, and has traveled to thirty countries both for leisure and for research purposes. She studied the Laughing Kookaburra in the savannas of Australia as part of a Field Studies course at Iowa State.  Heather enjoys making a difference in our planet by studying ways to help other species thrive. She has used videography to document many of these expeditions and the videos have been used for educational purposes.


Heather’s passion for protecting endangered species led her to participate in an Earthwatch expedition last July to study Flammulated Owls in northern Utah, The owls typically live in aspen trees in tiny cavities that woodpeckers have drilled.  However, due to climate change, aspen trees are not surviving in these areas, so there aren't enough cavities for the owls to nest.  Because they are losing habitat, the owls are declining in numbers.  As part of the Earthwatch Expedition, Heather and fourteen others from across the US worked with two scientists, one from HawkWatch International and the other a professor of biology at UW-LaCrosse. The volunteers helped collect data of tree cavities remaining, tree density, using scope cams to look in cavities for nesting owls, etc.  They also helped search artificial nest boxes for owls that are using that space due to lack of trees available.  The scientists wanted to learn about the age and health of birds in that area, so mist nets were set up late at night after hiking to the top of the mountain.  The captured owls were measured and weighed.  The owls then were marked with tags to help account for their numbers over time.


Friday, May 5, 2017
Carpenters Hall 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Registration / Reception
Carpenters Hall 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm Movie - "The Big Year"
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Carpenters Hall 6:00 am - 7:00 am Breakfast buffet
Carpenters Hall 7:00 am - 12:00 pm Field trips (leave from Carpenters Hall) -Sack Lunch - sandwich, chips, fruit, cookie, beverage
Carpenter's Hall 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Conservation for Birds = Conservation of the Land
Carpenter's Hall 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Hummingbirds-Winged Wonders of the Western World
Doug Harr
Pin Oak Marsh 1:30 pm - 2:00 pm Trumpeter Swan releease
Carpenter's Hall 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm How to Choose and Use Birding Optics
Carpenter's Hall 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Restoring the Northern Bobwhite Quail Population through High-quality Habitat Planting Strategy
Carpenter's Hall 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Barn Owls
Bruce Ehrsman
Carpenters Hall 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm IOU membership meeting
Carpenters Hall 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Banquet - Salad Bar Broasted Chicken and Baked Chicken Vegetarian Pasta Entree Green Beans Roasted Potatoes Ice Cream and Brownies
Carpenters Hall 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm Keynote address - Following Flammulated Owls in the Western U.S.
Heather Sanders
Carpenters Hall 8:45 pm - 10:00 pm Field trip to Lucas S.F.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
Carpenters Hall 6:00 am - 7:00 am Breakfast buffet
Carpenters Hall 7:00 am - 12:00 pm Field trips (leave from Carpenters Hall) -Sack Lunch - sandwich, chips, fruit, cookie, beverage
Carpenters Hall 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm Compilation