Presented by Jacob Stinnett and Clare Jusdanis.
(JACOB) Hello, I am Jacob Stinnett, and this is Clare Jusdanis. We are from the newly re-formed Central Ohio Chapter of OYBC. Many years ago, Columbus Audubon had a chapter of the OYBC in Central Ohio. But, as the students grew up and went off to college, the chapter became inactive and died. Immaculate Conception School had a Science Olympiad team for Ornithology, which is a competition between schools in various areas of the sciences. At the end of the season, the Ornithology team wanted to keep the spirit going and looked for a birding club to join. We then found the OYBC and formed the Central Ohio Chapter, with membership coming only from our Science Olympiad team of four. Thanks to email, a newsletter got all around Columbus through schools, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Volunteers, and Columbus Audubon.
We currently have seven student members, five supporting adults, and four adult advisors. We plan to be getting new membership with the media coverage we have been getting in the community newspaper from our first service project. Because we are a newer chapter, our membership is leaning toward younger students, mostly eleven to thirteen.
Our Youth Advisory Board has three members, myself, Clare and Ada Cleary who could not be with us today. Our adult advisors want the Youth Advisory Board to be in charge of planning field trips and service projects, but we still need their help since we have just begun as a chapter. We also plan to have a column on the Columbus Audubon website, and a link from CA’s website will lead you to our newly-live site.
Our first project as a chapter was to build nest boxes with our three original members with one of our adult advisors, Darlene Sillick.
(CLARE) Our first field trip was a BioBlitz at the Governor’s residence. Former First Lady Hope Taft hosted it. She is very interested in environmental issues. A BioBlitz is when you categorize all the organisms you can find in one area. And, for a change, the Black Swamp Bird Observatory chapter came down to work with us! By this time Daniel and I had joined the Central Ohio Chapter!
(JACOB) We had our second official field trip as a chapter to “A Swift Night Out” to see the migrating Chimney Swifts throughout Columbus. Our first night was in Dublin, but we only saw about five swifts and none of them went into the chimney where we were. But we did get to see a large collection of nighthawks that were flying over the nearby Scioto River looking for insects to eat. A couple days later, we went to another school in Clintonville and saw close to five hundred of the swifts — it was truly amazing!
Our next trip was to Prairie Rose Farm, owned by one of our adult advisors, Tim Daniel. Tim taught us about photography and we learned the mnemonic device LLIMBO, which stands for lighting, lines, interest, message, background and off-center) to help us organize and create the perfect photograph. After it got dark we went on a hayride and roasted marshmallows over a campfire.
In October, we had our first service project as a chapter at a local school, Indianola Informal K-8, which has an emphasis on outdoor education. They recently moved into a new building and, with the help from a grant that our OYBC chapter received, we were able to build feeding stations for them. (The grant that our OYBC chapter was awarded is from North Face and is for $2,500 for the next year’s supplies, field trips and service projects.) For this particular project, each feeding station consisted of a central feeder with two suet cages, a thistle feeder, and some sort of peanut feeding device for squirrels or birds. At this event we gained two new members, Doug from Reynoldsburg, and Trinity from Dublin.
A couple weeks ago, we attempted to do Saw-Whet Owl banding in Chillicothe, Ohio but with me on crutches and the weather turning so warm at the last minute, there was little success in that field trip.
(CLARE) Even though we didn’t get to see Saw Whet Owls, our next trip was an Owl Prowl in Powell, Ohio. Darlene, one of our advisors, volunteers at the Ohio Wildlife Center. She brought down a Great Horned Owl and an Eastern Screech Owl! And with luck on our side, we got to see a wild Great Horned Owl! We even found an owl pellet and figured out that he’d recently been feasting on smaller birds, based on the hollow bones and toothless skull in the pellet. Then we decided that we should do some feasting ourselves and ended our night at Graeter’s ice cream!
(JACOB) And now we are here at our first OYBC Conference!
Our plans for December are to take part in one of the various Christmas Bird Counts in Central Ohio with our tireless advisors.
In January we hope to go back to Prairie Rose Farm to do some animal tracking in the snow and then go sledding at the nearby Mad River Mountain.
In February we will be going out to Killdeer Plains in a joint event with the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) chapter.
In March we will be doing our second service project – designing and installing a Bluebird Trail.
April will be another joint event with the BSBO Chapter when they come down to Columbus for birding for spring migrants at Green Lawn Cemetery.
And in May we plan to go up to Magee Marsh to experience the spring migration of warblers and vireos and other species along the shore of Lake Erie. (Also in May, our chapter will form its own Birdathon team for the big Columbus Audubon fundraiser. We’ll see how many species we can find and how much money we can raise with pledges for Columbus Audubon, which is the sponsor of our chapter.)
We’re excited, energized, and full of ideas …
And we’re led by a great team of adult advisors: Tim Daniel, Darlene Sillick, Susan Setterlin, and Gerry Brevoort.
You can see a photo gallery of the OYBC Conference.