Big Country Audubon Society

News and Events

September Events

Mark your calendar!

Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010 – BCAS Annual Meeting, 6:00pm at the Cedar Gap Farms Birdhouse!  This is a brown bag event. BCAS will provide beverages.  Come earlier if you wish to walk the trails or bird.

Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010Field Trip to Oakwood Trails.  Meet at 7:30 AM.  Oakwood Trails is on east side of Abilene State Living Center campus.

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010 – BCAS Board Meeting at Mezamiz Coffee Shop – 7:00 PM.  Come earlier if you want to eat.

Spring 2010 Events

  • Thursday, April 1, 2010 – Membership meeting 7:00pm at the Rose Park Senior Center. Park Administrator Okie Okerstrom or another staff member will treat us to a presentation on the importance of Abilene State Park to the surrounding communities.
  • Fri & Sat, April 9- 10, 2010 – Field trip to Ft. Hood. This will be an overnight trip, please RSVP by April 5th in order to reserve a room and know how many HIGH CLEARANCE vehicles will be needed. If you have a high clearance vehicle (4X4 is good but not required) and will be able bring it please RSVP with that info. We will expect to depart by 5pm on the 9th. Look forward to this good trip! Target birds will be the Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. Please call the hotline too.
  • Thursday, April 15, 2010 – Audubon Lecture Series – Dr. Tom Lee, Biology Professor at ACU will give a presentation at 6pm at the Grace Museum as the Audubon Exhibit continues.
  • Thursday, May 6, 2010 – Our annual Spring Fling will be at the Cedar Gap Farms Birdhouse at 6:30pm. Come earlier if you wish to bird. This will be a potluck, so sign-up for a couple dishes at the April 1st meeting. BCAS will provide brisket. Target bird will be the Painted Bunting.

Membership Meeting April 1st, 7pm

Our meeting will be at the Rose Park Senior Center at 7pm.  Don’t forget the our meeting room is changed to the room across the hall by the bathrooms.

The subject of our meeting will be, the importance of Abilene State Park to the surrounding communities.  It will be presented by a member of the park staff.

Field Trip to Dyess AFB – CANCELLED

Sorry Folks,

Our field trip to Dyess tomorrow is cancelled due to expected weather conditions.  We will try to reshedule.

2010 GBBC News Release

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count

February 12-15, 2010

BKCCHI_Rodney_Smith_WA09_web.jpgNew York, NY and Ithaca, NY—Bird watchers coast to coast are invited to take part in the 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, Friday, February 12, through Monday, February 15, 2010.  Participants in the free event will join tens of thousands of volunteers counting birds in their own backyards, local parks or wildlife refuges.

Each checklist submitted by these “citizen scientists” helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how the birds are doing—and how to protect them. Last year, participants turned in more than 93,600 checklists online, creating the continent’s largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded.

“Taking part in the Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way to get outside with family and friends, have fun, and help birds—all at the same time,” said Audubon Education Vice President, Judy Braus. “Even if you can only identify a few species you can provide important information that enables scientists to learn more about how the environment is changing and how that affects our conservation priorities.”

GirlWindow_TerieRawn_NY09_web.jpgAnyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from novice bird watchers to experts. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online at One 2009 participant said, “Thank you for the opportunity to participate in citizen science. I have had my eyes opened to a whole new interest and I love it!”

“The GBBC is a perfect first step towards the sort of intensive monitoring needed to discover how birds are responding to environmental change,” said Janis Dickinson, the director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab. “Winter is such a vulnerable period for birds, so winter bird distributions are likely to be very sensitive to change. There is only one way—citizen science—to gather data on private lands where people live and GBBC has been doing this across the continent for many years. GBBC has enormous potential both as an early warning system and in capturing and engaging people in more intensive sampling of birds across the landscape.”

PineSiskins_SteveGillespie_WV09.jpgBird populations are always shifting and changing. For example, 2009 GBBC data highlighted a huge southern invasion of Pine Siskins across much of the eastern United States. Participants counted 279,469 Pine Siskins on 18,528 checklists, as compared to the previous high of 38,977 birds on 4,069 checklists in 2005. Failure of seed crops farther north caused the siskins to move south to find their favorite food.

On the website, participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during the count. The site has tips to help identify birds and special materials for educators. Participants may also enter the GBBC photo contest by uploading images taken during the count. Many images will be featured in the GBBC website’s photo gallery. All participants are entered in a drawing for prizes that include bird feeders, binoculars, books, CDs, and many other great birding products.

For more information about the GBBC, visit the website at Or contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 or (outside the U.S., call (607) 254-2473) or, or Audubon at or 202-861-2242 ext 3050.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible, in part, by generous support from Wild Birds Unlimited.


Images by 2009 GBBC participants: Black-capped Chickadee by Rodney Smith, WA; Bird watcher at window by Terie Rawn, NY; Pine Siskins by Steve Gillespie, WV.

Editors: Please go the GBBC News Room for high-resolution images, top-10 lists, FAQS, and results of the 2009 count. To interview a participant in your area, please get in touch with one of the media contacts listed below.


The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in conservation.

Haskell Wild Goose Chase

Wild Goose Chasers

“WGC”–October 31,2009
On a chilly, calm Saturday morning, eleven birders gathered at Towne
Crier.  Most had breakfast before traveling to Haskell County to view
the geese at and coming to Winchester Lake.  Since the lake is on
private property, we birded from a gravel read near by.  This made a
good place to set Joe’s telescope and the club scope between the three
vehicles.  We tried to encourage the geese to land on the near shore of
the lake, but they refused to cooperate.  At least, we had “optics” to
help to see them better.
Birders were Kim Berry, Linda Collins, Kathy Hampton, Bill Hughes, Bera
Johnson, Larry Millar, Edna Ross, Dan Symonds, Bonnie and Joe Thompson,
and Charlene Wheeler.  Some were rather new birders.  Everyone enjoyed
sharing “optics” and pointing pictures in guide books to identify birds
and help some to get several new life birds.

The most common bird was the Greater White-fronted Goose.  There were
hundreds of them.  They are very graceful and show beautiful colors as
they circle the water with wings and tail spread.  Then they put down
their yellow landing gear and oh so gently settle on the water without a

Two coyotes and a deer attracted much attention.  Larry Millar was
delighted to find a nanny goat’s head and horns, and one ram’s horn to
take back to school for his art students to draw.

TBS sends Randy plaques in memory of Laura


In 1995 Ben Black built four Bluebird Boxes to be put up at Oakwood Trails. Among those who attached boxes to poles, dug holes for the poles and set them were Lorie Black, Laura Packer, Charlene and Tom Wheeler. Through the years, all of these have continued to have a keen interest in the Bluebirds of Oakwood Trails.  Laura also tended the 42 Bluebird boxes at Dyess Air Force Base.

The Texas Bluebird Society Board of Directors sent this True Blue Friend Plaque to Randy Packer in Memory of Laura Packer. It was installed on Bluebird Box #3 at Oakwood Trails, Saturday, September 26, 2009 by Dan Symonds, Charlene Wheeler, and Kathy Hampton.  Thanks Randy for Sharing. The TBS’s motto is “Bluebirds Across Texas…one nestbox at a time.”


It was so fitting that on this gorgeous morning we saw at this site numerous White-wing Dove, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Barn Swallows, a Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and FOUR Eastern Bluebirds.  Thanks Bluebirds for your “Flyover for Laura!”


Blind Sightings

Bird Blind

Big Country Audubon is pleased to announce that our bird blind at the Abilene State Park is now ready for birders, wildlife watchers, and birds! In September, 2007, the blind was delivered to the State Park. Over the next few months our eager volunteers painted the inside, hung feeders, and constructed a water feature. Immediately the birds found the food and water; cameras found the birds; and we hope you find the Bird Blind Photos!

And now I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful TPWD personnel for helping us with our project: Paul, Okie, Bobby, and Cody. Big Country Audubon volunteers who helped make this dream a reality: John, Lorie, Kathy, Joan, Charline, Carolyn, W.K, Steve, Heidi, Dan, Bera, and Peggy. Special thanks to Earth Share of Texas, and Texas Audubon for helping us achieve our goals.

There’ll be a few more improvements in the near future and we look forward to seeing all at our grand opening during the Abilene State Park Spring Festival, April 19. Stay tuned; I’m sure there will be more birds-from-the-blind photos to come.


Christmas Social, 2007


Big Country Audubon had another wonderful Christmas Social this past December, 2007. And like the 2006 social, I got a little inventive on the captions. Thanks to everyone for making 2007 a great year! Pictures are up at Christmas Social 2007.

And, did you know Tom, Toni, Carolyn, and WK found THE rarest bird ever recorded on Christmas Bird Count? It was a very rare bird for the Abilene area and I’m pretty sure it’s the rarest seen in North America. Ornithologists are still trying to determine how to classify it. For a complete list of birds seen on our 2007 CBC, check out the Christmas Bird Count 2007 list. Anyone wanting a copy for their personal records, let me know and I’ll get one to you.

Annual Meeting a Success!


Nothing brings a group together like humor. Upon popular demand the Unusual Bird Sightings presentation has been reproduced. Any resemblance to actual persons is strictly accidental. No birds were harmed in the making of this presentation; I don’t know about the people.

If you don’t see your likeness here; it is only a matter of time before the club president immortalizes your image.