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Federation of New York State Bird Clubs, Inc.

54th Annual Meeting
Liverpool, NY
September 14-16, 2001

Richard E. Miga


At 9:19 a.m, Saturday, September 15, 2001, President Mary Alice Koeneke called to order the meeting of the Council of Delegates. This meeting in Liverpool was the 54th Annual Meeting of the Federation of New York State Bird Clubs, Inc. and was hosted by the Onondaga Audubon Society.

A roll call of member clubs showed that 42 delegates represented 26 of 51 member clubs. The minutes of the 53rd Annual Meeting were approved as presented (motion by Valerie Freer, Bill Reeves, second). Mary Alice appointed Valerie Freer and Barbara Butler to the Resolution Committee.

President's Report

Mary Alice Koeneke presented the following President's Report:

The New York State Federation of Bird Clubs has been very active in many activities involving birds and birding throughout New York State in 2001. The Federation has surpassed 50 member clubs. The New York State Breeding Bird Atlas project - Atlas 2000 is currently completing its second year of data collection - once again recognition of the tremendous amount of time and effort put into this project by NYSDEC staff: Kim Hunsinger, John Ozard, Bob Miller, and Bob Budliger the National Audubon Atlas representative. Also recognized was the Cornell Department of Natural Resources staff - Charlie Smith and Milo Richmond along with Federation Coordinator Valerie Freer, who serves as chair of the Atlas 2000 Committee.

Some of the other activities and successes of the Federation this past year were:

  • Three more provisional member clubs have asked for membership bringing our total membership to 52 clubs! Family and Individual memberships have also increased.
  • NYSARC continues to bring the State ornithological records up to date under the fine organization of Angus Wilson, chair and the rest of the committee. Annual reports including some photographs are now on the FNYSBC website. Gerard Philips was appointed to fill a vacancy on the committee formerly held by Ken Able. Jim Lowe, NYSARC secretary, stepped down and has been replaced by Jeanne Skelly.
  • The Federation web site continues to expand public awareness of the Federation and its activities: Federation membership has increased through an electronically available membership form on the web site. Barbara Butler, Kevin McGowan and staff at Cornell continually update and fine-tune the pages.
  • FNYSBC sponsored a team at the Montezuma NWR Muckrace and provided gift Federation memberships to the youth participants in the Muckrace for the third year in a row. FNYSBC supported the 5th Annual Lake Ontario Migratory Bird Festival in Mexico, NY.
  • The FNYSBC was represented at conservation meetings/hearings throughout the year including the ongoing Double-crested Cormorant and Jamaica Bay Bike Path issues and the NY State BCA program. The Federation also continues to support the CARA legislation.
  • The Kingbird and NY Birders, our two wonderful publications, are our most public face and continue to publish quality articles and information for NY State's birding community. Special thanks go to Manny Levine, Phyllis Jones, Willie D'Anna, Bob Spahn and all of the Regional Editors for keeping us in the know. The Kingbird also had its cover updated with a new rendition of its namesake species as well as the addition of color. Also Sue Adair was recognized for her work in editing New York Birders.
  • A new project, the publication of a monograph: Summary of the Hamlin Beach Lakewatch Fall and Winter Bird Data 1993-1999 by Brett Ewald and Dominic F. Sherony is now complete and it is hoped that the FNYSBC may occasionally provide this service for other ornithological monographs.

FNYSBC has accomplished a lot this past year and this next year will bring a third year of atlasing, activities, issues and other projects. If you wish to become more involved in the FNYSBC speak to any of the Board members. If you know of individuals who might like to become members—spread the word. Take brochures to your club meeting and other birding activities. Thank you!


Treasurer's Report

Bill Reeves presented the Treasurer's Report, distributing a detailed 2000 Annual Financial Report.

Unrestricted Funds  
  General Operating
  General Memorial
  Member Clubs Awards
Temporarily Restricted Fund
  John J. Elliott Fund
  Lillian C. Stoner
  Atlas 2000
  Life Member

Total Fund Balances and Total Assets were $135,158.25, an increase of $10,222.00 from those totals at the end of 1999.

Bill Reeves also reported on the activity of the General Operating Fund. He indicated that our major source of income is individual memberships, and suggests that the Federation maintain its financial condition by encouraging members to upgrade their membership category. Our major expense is our quarterly journal, The Kingbird, accounting for about 77% of our annual expenses.


Auditing Committee Report

Manny Levine reported for the Auditing Committee. The committee members, Manny Levine, Irving Cantor, and Peter Campainolo reported that the financial statements fairly represent the financial condition of the Federation, and the operating records of the Federation to be in good shape.


Membership Report

Valerie Freer reported that as of July 2001 there are: 742 Individual Members, 71 Life Members for a total of 813 Members. She also noted that the Life Members are decreasing. There are now 51 Member Clubs representing approximately 33,000 individuals.


Election of New Clubs

Three clubs have requested membership in the Federation: Four Harbors Audubon Society (700 Members), Pfeiffer Nature Center (119 Members), and South Shore Audubon Society (2000 Members). With a motion by Tim Baird, seconded by Barb Reuter, the clubs were accepted into membership.


Atlas 2000 Committee

Valerie Freer reported that the project is going well and the deadline for reports will be through the week after the Federation meeting. She thanked all Regional Coordinators and volunteers for their efforts.



Manny Levine reported that Federation checklists are available at Federation booth. The Kingbird is in good shape and the September 2001 issue is going to press. The use of color photographs is being investigated as to cost. Sue Adair indicated that the October issue of New York Birders is presently being worked on.


Committee Chair Mary Alice Koeneke reported that the Federation has taken an active role in statewide conservation issues as well as those impacting local clubs. Specific items addressed for the past year included:

  • The Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). This legislation is being tracked and updates are reported on the Federation website as well as alerts for letters and phone calls.
  • Mary Alice has been involved with the Cormorant issue in Lake Ontario since 1992 and reports that things are comparatively quiet this year. Most cormorants are nesting on the Canadian side of lake this year. Very little activity has been going on regarding bass fish consumption and Little Galoo Island this year. NYSDEC continues its ecological studies of Little Galoo.
  • The Jamaica Bay bike path situation continues to be Federation monitored in support of the New York City Audubon chapter in addition to signing on to the letter requesting the park to compromise on the proposed path. Al Ott, Joe O'Connell and Nellie Larsen are to be commended for their continued work on the issue.
  • The Chesapeake Bay issue regarding our state involvement as a watershed and of the many state birds wintering there continues to be monitored. This is in keeping with the resolution adopted by the Federation at the 2000 meeting. Governor Pataki with his signing supported resolution, as well as the National Audubon Society resolution was adapted from the Federation's.
  • The Federation also sent comments to the USFWS on the document proposing the designation of critical habitat for Great Lakes Piping Plovers; areas have since received the designation. Also the Long Island Piping Plover breeding situation at the west end of Jones Beach continues to be monitored. John Fritz, co-chair of conservation for the downstate area and LI keeps well informed of the issue.
  • The Federation thanked Commissioner Bernadette Castro for ensuring that the fall hawk watch platform was constructed as promised.



Peter Nye gave the annual report from the DEC. He reported that Bob Miller had retired and will be missed. Pete reported that DEC is working cooperatively with other agencies and organizations to monitor and manage many bird species as part of their wildlife management program. This includes the:

Statewide Breeding Bird Atlas in conjunction with Federation and Cornell University. New York is first state in nation to repeat its Breeding Bird Atlas Project. Approximately 850 volunteers surveyed 1600 blocks. Breeding maps can now be downloaded from DEC website. The Atlas database now holds over 86,000 species records.

Bird Conservation Planning. DEC staff participated in a three-day workshop on the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) and related planning efforts in the Lower Great Lakes-St. Lawrence river bird conservation region. Follow up meetings are planned for developing management and habitat restoration projects for identified focus areas that then can be submitted as grant proposals.

Bird Conservation Areas (BCA). The New York State BCA (modeled after the National Audubon IBA program) is based on legislation supported by the Department and passed by the Legislature. The BCA program seeks to provide a comprehensive, ecosystem approach to conserving birds and their habitats on state lands and waters, by integrating bird conservation interests in agency planning, management, and research projects, within the context of agency missions.

Raptor Management. In an ongoing effort to restore the bald eagle population in New York State, staff has taken several management actions to augment reproductive success, monitor habitat use, and survey wintering eagle populations.

  • Wintering Bald Eagle Research and Surveys. A total of 126 aerial and ground surveys were conducted. Numbers in 2001 (350) were nearly same as 2000 data (349). It was another record breeding year for the bald eagle in the state as 56 breeding pairs had 47 successful nests producing a total of 83 fledged young.
  • Peregrine Falcon. 2001 was a record setting year, in nearly all categories, for peregrine falcons in the state. 45 pairs bred and 41 were successful in producing 97 young.
  • Osprey. A bird of special concern continues to be monitored statewide. The population seems to be growing steadily. Record numbers in 2001 were likely due to favorable nesting, hatching and rearing conditions, compared to the spring and summer of 2000, which was extremely wet.

Colonial Waterbird Management. This is a complex issue, ranging from nuisance birds (e.g., double-crested cormorants) to threatened and endangered species (e.g., terns, piping plovers). The management of colonial waterbird species requires the cooperation of many individuals, organizations and the DEC. Specific species being studied include the double-crested cormorant, ring-billed gull, great egrets, great blue heron, black-crowned night-herons, piping plover, black terns, and Roseate terns.

Maps. In 2001 DEC developed the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program. During the initial year 278 total birds of 26 different species were captured. This is a national data gathering effort with over 500 such stations in the United States.

Spruce Grouse. The results of recent work indicate a decline in the population of Spruce Grouse. DEC believes there is a need for expanded population studies and possibly for active management.

Canada Goose Migration Studies. Utilizing satellite telemetry on geese from the Finger Lakes region, results revealed that central Quebec was an important source for those birds, not previously known. Using the transmitters, DEC is determining the extent and timing of "molt migration" by non-breeding Canada Geese. It is known that the birds fly north, but where they go and when they return is not known.

Mid-Winter Waterfowl Surveys. Two winter waterfowl surveys were conducted in New York during January 2001. One count is the annual aerial survey by DEC, and the other is the traditional survey coordinated by the Federation. These counts help determine long-term population trends as well as help determine appropriate hunting regulations. As expected Federation counts were higher than DEC, especially mallards, Canada Geese and many diving duck. Results will be published in the Kingbird.

Grass Seed and Shrub Establishment Program. The "Pheasant Management Plan" which calls for the purchase of $10,000 of warm and cool season grass seeds and shrubs has been used to establish a 103 acre site. These sites will be monitored over the next few years to determine success. It is hoped that these projects will be successful and encourage others to initiate similar programs.

Loons. The Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program (ACLP) was "hatched" in late spring of 2001. It is a cooperative research and education program designed to study the natural history of the Common Loon. During the summer of 2001, 42 of 56 (75%) potentially returning banded loons were confirmed to return to Adirondack bodies with most returning to the locations where they were banded.

Game Bird Management. Game birds including waterfowl and upland species, due to the many demands placed upon them, were monitored statewide by DEC. Species studied were Canada Goose, American Woodcock, and Mourning Dove. The Woodcock (1968-2001) shows an annual population decline of 2.5% in the northeast primarily due to the continued decline in quality and quantity of habitat.


Waterfowl Report

Bryan Swift - Annual count was held during January 13-21, 2001 with target date of January 14. State covered by approximately 250 observers with all regions completing counts on time. A total of 397,764 birds (46 species) were documented. The total count was an all time high, up 4% from 2000, and 48% above the 28-year average (1973-2000). The top ten species, accounting for 87% of total, were Canada Goose, Greater Scaup, Mallard, Canvasback, Redhead, Common Goldeneye, American Black Duck, White-winged Scoter, Surf Scoter, and Bufflehead.

Future counts are set for:

2002 - January 12-20 (target date - Sunday, January 13);
2003 - January 11-19 (target date - Sunday, January 12);
2004 - January 10-18 (target date - Sunday, January 11).


Kevin McGowan reported that the 1998 report is in the March 2001 issue of the Kingbird V.51 No. 1. Submissions to the committee are up. Jeanne Skelly has information regarding reports.


FNYSBC Website

Barbara Butler reported that the Federation checklist is updated immediately on the website. There is a new section on reporting marked birds. The featured site is the Shawangunk Grassland. Hits to the site peaked at 30 per day in May 2001. Since than they have fluctuated downward and are now going back up.

Awards Committee Report

Tim Baird. The following awards will be presented:

  • Gordon Meade Award - Dorothy Crumb
  • Presidents Award - Bob Miller
  • John J. Elliott Award - Andew Guthrie and Angus Wilson
  • Lillian Stoner Award - Sarah Mae Pascoe

Certificates of Appreciation Awards to:

  • Angus Wilson - NYSARC activity
  • Jeff and Sue Capolito and Mr. & Mrs. Williams for permitting birders access to view Wood Storks on their property.

Nominating Committee Report

Valerie Freer. Nominations for 2001-2002 are:

President - Tim Baird
Vice-President - Dick Miga
Corresponding Secretary - Berna Lincoln
Recording Secretary - Brenda Best
Treasurer - Bill Reeves
Directors - Bob Miller, Bill Ostrander, Mike Galas

Nominations were requested from the floor. Kevin McGowan motioned and John Confer seconded that nominations be approved unanimously.

Field Trip Committee Report

Bill Lee reported on the following field trips conducted during the past year:

  • Niagara River December 2-3, 2000 for white-winged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls
  • Cape Vincent, Point Peninsula, and Amherst Island, Ontario February 10-11, 2001 for
    Gray Partridge, Snowy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Saw-whet Owl and Boreal owl for a few brave souls.
  • Bear Mountain State Park, Doodletown Road and Iona Island June 2, 2001 for Hooded and Worm-eating Warblers, Black Vulture
  • Whiskey Hollow, Onondaga County June 16, 2001 for Hooded and Mourning warblers, Acadian Flycatcher
  • Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge August 25, 2001 for Wilson's Phalarope, Hudsonian Godwit and Gull-billed Tern

Bill gave a special thanks to Willie D'Anna for leading the Niagara River trip, Phil Meisner of Sullivan County Audubon for leading the Bear Mountain trip, Joe Brin of Onondaga Audubon for leading the Whiskey Hollow trip, and Mike Bochnik of Hudson River Audubon (formerly Yonkers Audubon) for leading the Jamaica Bay trip. Attendance varied from low teens on Niagara River to 30+ on the Cape Vincent trip.

County Listing Report

Berna Lincoln reported that approximately 90 to 100 members submit reports. These data are published in New York Birders.

Archives and Bibliography Report

Phyllis Jones informed the members that an Bibliography Committee consisting of Barb Butler, Valerie Freer, and Walt Sabin has been formed.

Election of Nominating Committee

Mary Alice Koeneke, Stan Lincoln and Kevin McGowan were nominated to serve on the Nominating Committee. Phyllis Jones motioned and Chad Covey seconded. Motion approved unanimously.

Election of Auditing Committee

Manny Levine, Irving Cantor and Peter Campainolo were nominated to serve on the Auditing Committee. Kevin McGowan motioned and Barbara Butler seconded. Motion approved unanimously.

Election of Finance Committee

Mary Alice Koeneke, Bill Reeves and Berna Lincoln (Chairman) were nominated to serve on the Finance Committee. Andy Mason motioned and Bill Watson seconded. Motion approved unanimously.

Future Annual Meetings

The 2002 Meeting of the Federation of New York State Bird Clubs is scheduled for Binghamton, NY on September 20-22, 2002.


Meeting Adjourned 11:17 AM.

Respectfully Submitted,

Richard E. Miga
Recording Secretary
September 15, 2001