Saint Paul Audubon Society March News

GREETINGS TO MEMBERS AND FRIENDS, There are several (four!) news items to share with you today.

Star Tribune | St. Paul City Council asks state to help clean up Pig’s Eye Lake

Article in the January 11, 2022 Star Tribune

The St. Paul City Council is asking the state for funds from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the state’s $7 billion budget surplus to help clean up years of pollution near the underutilized Pig’s Eye Lake.

St. Paul Audubon Society Treasurer Kiki Sonnen has visited Pig’s Eye Regional Park since the 1970s. The park is part of a major North America flyway for herons, who nest there and travel up to 30 miles around the region to feed before returning to Pig’s Eye.

Sandhill Cranes in Crex Meadows SWA

Since historic times, Greater Sandhill Cranes have congregated by the thousands every autumn evening in the marshes and ponds now called Crex Meadows, located on the north side of Grantsburg, WI.

SENTINELS OF THE BOREAL – A Short Film by Tomas Koeck

The boreal forest is the largest piece of forested wilderness in the world. In the Americas, it stretches from Maine to Alaska and is a prominent biome in Europe and Asia. This forest is home to many different species of wildlife such as moose, warblers, and even wolves. Yet few of these species can capture the mystique as one of the most elusive animals in the world, the great gray owl.

Meet Field Trip Leader Chase Davies

Chase Davies loves being outdoors and she loves leading nature walks. No surprise, as she is one of the most frequent field trip leaders for the Saint Paul Audubon Society.

Chase is an ecologist with deep knowledge of the natural world and a wide range of experiences outdoors, beginning from the time she was growing up in Dayton, Ohio. “This was during WWII and there were no men around,” she says. “We lived on the edge of the city, on the edge of the school district, and there weren’t many kids around either. But there were fields and I wandered and took everything in. I was just outside most of the time.” She spent summers with a grandmother who lived in upstate New York on a lake, exploring the outdoors there by boat; and the family drove to Naples FL many years for Christmas. “We explored Marco Island and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary – a National Audubon Society sanctuary — driving around in my father’s jeep,” she recalls. Then at age 11 she went to a rustic summer camp near Rocky Mountain National Park and ended up going back every summer for nine years as a camper and then a counselor.

Birding started at age 9 when a friend of her mother’s began taking her along on Dayton Audubon Society outings. “Four rivers converge in Dayton and there are dams to control flooding. The area around the dams is fabulous birding habitat,” says Chase. “We also went out to the countryside, along the dirt roads. When the fields were flooded, they were full of water fowl and that’s when I learned to identify ducks.”

The trip that really hooked her on birds was a weekend near Sandusky Ohio. “Sandusky is on the south shore of Lake Erie, at one end of an archipelago of islands that extend to Point Pelee, Ontario, on the other side. This is where migrating birds – and many warblers – hop across the lake to Canada and further north.”

The next stop in Chase’s life was Vassar College, where she majored in Zoology. “As a freshman, I took a class that used Eugene Odum’s brand new textbook Ecology, which was a radically new approach to science. That course really set me up for knowing what I wanted to do in college and for my future interests,” says Chase. “I took an interdepartmental approach and did independent study, one time studying chickadees and another investigating conservation practices on a dairy farm.”

In pursuing work and a career, Chase realized, “I was not cut out for classroom teaching.” Eventually settling in St. Paul, she worked for the Science Museum of Minnesota teaching classes to adults and kids, and directing the Minnesota Zoological Society as the New Zoo was opening in Apple Valley. In 1994, after a substantial stint as an accountant at H.B. Fuller, Chase retired and was able to spend a year

at the Thorne Ecological Institute in Boulder, CO, where she prepared to become an interpretive naturalist for the Rocky Mountain National Park. She continues to spend “as much time as possible” in the Rockies, often now as a field trip follower.

Chase’s most meaningful birding experiences are when she is leading a group. “I enjoy watching people as they are seeing and learning new things. My goal is to help people open up a little so they are more observant using all their senses. I love to see the joy on a kid’s face looking through a scope.”

Going on a bird walk with Chase is a real pleasure but you need to catch her between travels. Most years this includes a trip to Nebraska in March to see the cranes, back to Minnesota for May, and June in the Rockies, experiencing spring in each location. This year she is going to take in spring on South San Padre Island, Texas.

“I have managed to do what I love for most of my life,” she says. “Being outdoors, learning together with other people. Everyone knows something, and the fun is in sharing what we all know. I call it cooperative learning.”

Proposed Swan Legislation

COVID-19 and birding

Hi everyone,

So I know this is somewhat off-topic (and you are probably all sick of reading about COVID-19), so admin please delete if inappropriate. But in my non-birding day job I’m a physician, bracing for the ramping up of COVID cases and the horrifying specter of lives lost to this disease.

It’s become abundantly clear that this is a disease that needs to be beaten on the public health front, not at the bedside. As a member of a wonderful, vibrant birding community, with many birders “of a certain age”. I feel the need to speak up a bit about our responsibilities to each other and to the country as a whole.

As we’ve all heard, social distancing is key, and birding can be a wonderful form of social distancing. However, it’s not social distancing when you are riding in the car with other birders who don’t live with you. It’s not social distancing when you are clustering in groups, and certainly not when you are sharing optics such as scopes. Anyone of us can be exposed to the virus through asymptomatic friends, so to restrict yourself to hanging out with people who have no symptoms is not enough.

Since this began, I have gone birding once with another person. We met at the site, having come in separate cars. We kept 6 feet distance between us at all times, and did not share any optics. If you are not following procedures like that, you’re not social distancing. It’s also obviously important at more popular sites to avoid touching handrails that other people could be touching, as the virus can live on surfaces for up to three to five days. Frequent handwashing and use of at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also crucial.

It discourages me when I look on eBird and see multiple people reporting the same group checklist from a site. Maybe I am wrong, and they are all arriving in separate cars and keeping distance between themselves, but I doubt that’s the case. We are at a tipping point in this crisis, and as an educated and caring group we need to commit to doing everything we can to stop COVID-19. If we lose one member of our birding community because of this virus, it will be a tragedy. Make no mistake, if we do not change our behavior, that is near certain.

I am happy to answer anyone’s questions to the best of my ability. I’m in frequent contact with Cape Cod Healthcare’s COVID-19 response team, keeping up with all of the latest on testing and management of cases.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me anytime. I’m also on FB and can be messaged there.

Thank you for reading,

Peter Crosson, MD
West Barnstable, MA

The Saint Paul Audubon Society 2019 Annual Meeting

The Saint Paul Audubon Society Annual Meeting is on May 9 at 7:00 p.m. for the purpose of elections of Board Members and Officers. It precedes the evening program.

In accordance with procedures used by most nonprofits, the SPAS Board voted at the February 2019 Board meeting to change the approval process of the annual budget. The proposed Fiscal Year Budget is to be posted for information and comment on the SPAS website starting April 1 of each year for at least 28 days, after which time the Board will approve a final budget.

Comments should be received by Treasurer, Louise Eidsmoe  by May 2, 2019.

Click here for PDF version of 2019-2020 budget


Proposed Budget  2019-2020 by Board 2-4-2019  
SPAS FY is 6/1 – 5/31     Dec 31 2018 Prop Budget
REVENUE  YTD-5/31/18  17/18Bud  18/19 Bud 18/19 YTD 2019-2020
Conservation Committee
Field trips and Warbler Weekend  $   3,160  $ 3,500  $3,500  $  3,500
Landscape Revival event  $  1,270  $     500
meeting snacks  $       62  $  –
Fund Drive – Endowment
Fund Drive – Operating Fund  $ 10,475  $ 9,000  $ 9,000  $ 8,313  $ 10,000
Donations  $    300  $  300  $      450
 $      –
 Dues: from National  $  7,057  $  6,300  $ 6,300  $   270  $   7,000
 Grants – Endowment  $  2,023  $  2,000  $ 2,000  $   2,000
 Interest  $       20  $    –  $       5  $        12
 Outside Grant  $  3,100  $    –  $   –  $     –
Total Revenue  $ 27,147  $ 21,120  $ 21,100  $ 8,588  $  23,462
Total  $ 27,147  $ 21,120  $ 21,100  $ 8,588  $  23,462
EXPENSES 17/18 actual 17/18 Bud 18/19 Bud 18/19




Equipment & Display  $      300  $      300  $    300
Fund drive
Insurance  $   315  $    350  $   350  $   315  $    350
Membership Recruitment  $    100  $   164  $    200
Misc & Contingency  $     36  $    150


 $  150  $    142  $    150
Operating Expenses  $     291  $    600  $   600  $    188  $     600
Conference (Upper Midwest)  $     300
Web Page  $  1,815  $  2,000  $ 2,300  $    500  $  2,000
Web Page Development  $     –
operating exp – total  $  2,457  $  3,500  $  3,700  $ 1,309  $   3,900
Conservation Committee  $  2,180  $   2,000  $  4,000  $  1,526  $   6,000
Education Committee  $      500  $     500  $  1,500  $    1,500
Landscape Revival  $     939  $      –  $     557  $     275  $    1,500
Birdathon & Butterfly Count  $     258  $      200  $      300  $       300
Christmas Bird Count
           sub- total  $  3,377  $   2,700      
Field Trips incl Warbler Wkend  $  4,575  $          4,500  $  3,500  $    228  $   4,500
Member Meeting Programs  $   1,900  $         2,700  $  3,000  $ 1,045  $   2,100
Ramsey Cty Birding web map  $   4,000  $         5,000
           Programs subtotal  $ 10,475  $ 12,200  $ 11,857  $  4,574  $ 15,900
Art and Misc – Newsletter  $      100  $      100  $      100
Design – Newsletter  $    1,000  $   1,000  $   1,000
Labels – Newsletter  $     150  $       32  $      150
Postage – Newsletter  $   2,550  $   2,700  $     600  $   2,700
Printing – Newsletter  $  8,000  $  8,000  $  2,005  $   8,000
               Newsletter subtotal  $  9,375  $ 11,800  $ 11,800  $  2,637  $ 11,950
MEP membership  $     150  $      200  $      200  $      150
Audubon/ other  $     100  $       –
MN Ornithologists Union  $       75 $         75 $       75  $     75  $       75
Grants  $ 1,500 $    2,000 $  2,000  $  4,000
Audubon of the North Woods  $ 2,000 $    2,000 $  2,000
Support to orgs – total  $  3,825  $   4,275 $  4,275  $     75  $  4,225
Total Expenses  $ 29,509  $ 34,475  $ 31,632 $ 8,595  $ 35,975
total expenses  $ 29,509  $  34,475  $ 31,632 $ 8,595  $ 35,975
Income – expenses  $  (2,362)  $(13,355)  $(10,532)  $    (7)  $(12,513)
Savalajo Grant of $3,100 was received in FY 17/18 but spent in FY 18/19
Landscape Revival had remaining income of $331 received in FY 17/18  but spent in FY 18/19