Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 6

©

THE PRAIRIE FALCON - APRIL 1999


NEWSLETTER OF THE NORTHERN FLINT HILLS AUDUBON SOCIETY
P.O. BOX 1932, MANHATTAN, KS 66505-1932
VOL. 27, NO. 8
INSIDE PROGRAM PREVIEW
KONZA PRAIRIE CICADAS
RESTORATION
MATT WHILES
JOURNAL FOR APRIL
1999 - 2 7:30 PM, WED., APRIL 21, 1999
INSECT OF THE
MONTH (MOURNING THROCKMORTON 1014, KSU CAMPUS
CLOAK) - 3 In the spring of 1998, an examination of cicada emergence patterns on Konza Prairie
TREE OF THE MONTH commenced. This study began in response to the 17-year periodical cicada emergence
(AUSTRIAN PINE) - 3 scheduled for this region in spring, 1998. From late May - early June, a massive emergence
of periodical cicadas was quantified on Konza using emergence trap collections and a frame
PLANNING BOARD sampler to count emergence holes. Matt will present general information on the natural
MEETING: PLEASE history and potential ecosystem significance of cicada species in this region, including
ATTEND - 3 highlights from this study of the 1998 cicada mergence on Konza Prairie.
THE SKY BEYOND - 4 Matt graduated in Biology at KSU in 1988, and received his graduate education at
the University of Georgia. He is an assistant professor of Entomology at KSU, with interests
WHAT’S AT STAKE - 4
in invertertebrate ecology as well as herpetology. Please join us for this entertaining and
APRIL BIRDING IN enlightening presentation on one of the more incredible members of the insect world.
KANSAS - 5
Before each program we invite our speakers to join us for an informal dinner and discussion.
1999 NFHAS
Feel free to join us this month at the Hibachi Hut on 12th St. in Aggieville at 5:45 PM. The
BIRDATHON - INSERT
program will commence at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, April 21. Refreshments are served after
the meeting, please bring your own cup. All meetings are open to the public.
Field Trips
Sat. April 10 — Beginning Birdwatching Walk — Join us this Saturday and every second
CONTRIBUTORS Saturday at 8 AM in the Ackert/Durland parking lot on the KSU campus. We will carpool
to a local birding hotspot, and should return by about 11 AM. Birders of every age and
C. BISHOP interest level are welcomed; children are especially encouraged to attend. Call Hoogy
C. COKINOS Hoogheem (539-7080) for more information.
W. CORN Newsletter Editor Wanted - Opportunity available for a dedicated chapter volunteer to take
over editorial duties for the PRAIRIE FALCON. A suite of excellent writers is already in place,
T. MORGAN all you have to to is collect the material from them each month and compose a 6-8 page
M. WHILES newsletter. After 7 years on the job, I am willing to contribute a monthly birdwatching
column, and also willing to help you learn as you go, to donate software, and to make helpful
suggestions if wanted. If needed, I will still edit and manage the online newsletter.
PRINTED BY CLAFLIN Requirements for the job (besides a personal computer and a modicum of computer
BOOKS AND COPIES, expertise) include a willingness to commit 4-6 hours per month for 11 months of the year,
and ability to meet a deadline. Call Dave Rintoul (532-6663 days; 537-0781 eves) if you are
MANHATTAN, KS interested. Here is a chance to learn and grow in an important chapter volunteer role!
The Prairie Falcon - 1
THE PRAIRIE FALCON
Published monthly (except August) by the Northern Flint Hills Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon
Society, and edited by David A. Rintoul, 1124 Woodland, Manhattan KS 66502-2716.
Also available on the World Wide Web at the URL http://www.ksu.edu/audubon/falcon.html

RESTORATION JOURNAL FOR APRIL around special trees and boulders. You won’t find this activity

O
listed in a Parks and Rec. brochure. But I hope on some full
n my hikes lately, I’ve felt a tinge of regret for the
moon night a small group of wild men and wild women will
passing of winter. I like to listen to the cold rush of
fullfill some young strong oak’s destiny and dance around the
northerly winds high in the trees and sometimes,
Druid’s tree. — Wayne Corn
warm and protected below the branches, I feel a calm
surrender. This momentary calm I learn from the trees. It is INSECT OF THE MONTH

T
their gift, their skill. A tree is he Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) is a long-
faithful to the wind. Without the lived, adult butterfly. It overwinters beneath loose
tree, the wind is alone and silent. tree bark, or within a hollow log, or perhaps it is in
Once, while visiting a mag- the shed behind your house. This butterfly flies on sunny,
nificent stone cathedral it oc- winter days, gracefully using its 3 inch wingspan, ... with
curred to me that the building’s beautiful colors on the upper surfaces, velvety black with
columns were like great tree a row of wonderful bluish spots, and a yellow border all
trunks and the arches like spread- along the outer, irregular edge of each wing.
ing limbs. A friend and I wan-
dered through the cathedral in a When the cold air chills the butterfly, it returns to its
slow searching meditation; the crevice, and enters its bedroom with its wings folded
organist practiced from a high above its back, with the undersides of its wings a rather
loft, sending swirls and eddies of dull shade of brown with pale, irregular edges that break
sound through the twilight of the stained glass interior. The its outline and provide camoflauge. Now it’s almost
tall gothic arched windows seemed to frame a view of a invisible. Safe from harm, it goes to sleep.
sunlit meadow beyond the trees, seen from the cover of dark
woods. A cathedral is like the Oak Grove of the Druids and The delicate antennae are protected between the wings,
the music is the wild wind that has been tamed in the organ’s and the somewhat brittle legs are drawn up close to the
giant bellows. To stand among the brown-robed Burr Oaks body. Now the butterfly waits for the warmth of a new day.
of our Kansas woods is to be in the presence of the matri- During winter, the sap begins to flow again in some trees
archs and the patriarchs of the original church. such as the maples. Squirrels and other animals will break
I recently received a letter from a friend, a nurturer of wild the bark on a twig or the trunk, and lap up the sweet fluid.
creatures, a lover of nature’s holy places, a man with the Such sap flows are the favorite feeding locations for this
spirit of a Druid Prince. He was responding to our call for the butterfly.
brave and kind lovers of nature, the knowers, to come out
and share their knowledge with the world. We are knowers When the new leaves of hackberry, elm, willow, or
— anyone who finds even the simplest pleasure or wisdom cottonwood are available, the female butterfly fulfills her
in nature has a special knowledge to pass on. And many drive to reproduce. She lays 200 eggs or more in a single
people out there are asking for this information. This acces- group. Each caterpillar is born, by eating its way through
sible urban prairie and woodland restoration of the North- the upper surface of the shell of the egg. The caterpillars
east Community Park that we are working to create allows stay together, and sometimes cause noticeable damage to
people to come out of their homes or get out of their cars and the tree’s foliage.
just walk. Here, in a spider web woven between tall grass
stalks on a sun drenched dewy morning, or in a dead and The yellow-billed cuckoo is one of the birds that will eat
decomposing coyote filtering back to its beginning on some this spiny caterpillar. If the caterpillar survives, it forms a
long shadowy evening, they may find something they are chrysalis from which it emerges with wings which dry and
seeking. offering this place — without words, letting nature strengthen. As it flies up into the sky, the birds tear at its
speak its subtle language is sharing our knowledge with the wings. It can live ten months, ... long enough to mourn for
world. its youth as its wings become tattered. During this life, the
This friend, in his letter, offered to buy trees for the nature adult moves around quite a bit, and some individuals even
park and went on to extoll the pleasures of dancing naked migrate south. — Thomas D. Morgan
The Prairie Falcon - 2
CONTRIBUTIONS FROM OUR READERS
TREE OF THE MONTH the tree swayed. I moved upward and the trunk swayed again.

A
ustrian pine (Pinus nigra) has strong wood, but a There was the nest, next to the trunk, and the cup was
branch broke off, and I took that branch home, and surprisingly small. The crows appeared and dived at me, but
sawed a board out of it. I also they didn’t come very close.
sawed my thumb. It was with a single A second nest tree was in the parking lot of
stroke, but the handsaw had large teeth that Mercy Hospital north of Tecumseh Road. I
sawed into my flesh as if it were butter. My approached the fledgling as it walked on the
thumb should have been tougher. I was grass with its parents at the end of May. The
shocked to discover how much weaker my adults immediately took off, cawing angrily,
flesh was compared to the wood. That board and then they dived and hovered just above my
has strips of fibrous bark, pale sapwood, head, cawing with the right intonation to ex-
and reddish brown heartwood. I used it as a press their righteous anger.
decorative shelf that holds a pot of Swedish When I was a boy, I spent hours trying to
ivy. catch crows with a box trap. When I caught one of them, they
But did the pine cover its wound with bark? It was a large all understood that a screen wire box was dangerous. I don’t
wound, but I’m sure that the tree survived. The pine was fairly want to capture them now, but I long to see through their eyes,
close to the sidewalk at Kansas State University, but I don’t as they fly across the sky, as they play with the wind. The raven
remember which individual it was. Not far to the north, there also played with the wind here in Kansas. They lived here, ...
is the pine with that statuesque shape, ... the tree that’s as the wolf did, but they went the way of the wolf, poisoned
southwest of Denison Hall, the one that has a sign identifying with strychnine. Somday perhaps the raven can return. Per-
it as an Austrian pine. haps it can play with the wind.
The needles of that tree are grouped into bundles of two, and — Thomas D. Morgan
the needles are 3 to 6 inches long. They are longer than those
of the Scotch Pine, and certainly more beautiful and graceful. IMPORTANT!

S
To compare these trees, walk past the statuesque pine, until
you reach a grove of pines, northwest of Hale Library. The ustainable Manhattan has requested that the Man
bark of their upper trunks has a shade of red that has inspired hattan Urban Area Planning Board amend the
many landscape painters, and it has given the Scotch pine Comprehensive Land Use Plan to include the fol-
another name, the red pine. lowing community sustainability goal statement:
Austrian pines lack the red color, and are considered black
pines. Crows often nest in black pines in Manhattan. Crows Goal: Community Sustainability. Encourage sustain-
are secretive when flying towards the nest, and the Austrian able use of economic, social and environmental assets
pine has enough foliage that it’s sometimes difficult to see the that will ensure of future generations to meet their own
trunk, ... close to where the crows often nest. Crows reuse their needs.
nests sometimes, and Austrian pines with their long needles
Objectives:
partially hide the nest even during the winter.
Crows begin to build nests in late March, ... but this is an 1. Develop indicators that will measure the community’s
intensely covert operation that I’ve never witnessed myself. progress toward achieving sustainability.
Someday, I swear that I’ll outsmart those crows, but I’ve got
to admit that I haven’t gotten much smarter this month. I’ve 2. Promote full public participation in community plan-
only seen a squirrel that was relaxing in a crow’s old nest. I ning processes.
wonder whether he was the squirrel that the crows chased last 3. Promote land use and development practices that
year. They were only playing with each other, but squirrels eat consider current and future economic, social, and envi-
eggs sometimes, and crows can be fiercely protective. If the
ronmental impacts.
squirrel enters that nest on a regular basis, I hope he’s learned
karate. The Planning Board will conduct a public hearing to
One crow fledged on May 27th last year, and then hopped consider the proposed amendment on April 5, 1999, at 7
on the ground for about a week, as he slowly mastered the art p.m. in the City Commission meeting room at City Hall.
of flying. Eventually, I climbed the nest tree. After I climbed PLEASE ATTEND. We need this in our plan. And we
35 feet, I noticed a row of holes that were made by insects. One need a show of support.
possible culprit is a pine sawyer which gets its name from the
buzzing that it makes as it saws. I didn’t hear the sawing, but — Christopher Cokinos
The Prairie Falcon - 3
THE SKY BEYOND a long time, and scan, often frustrated, for other galaxies,

L
ook to the west. The bright stars and distinctive because I’m amazed at that I can be looking at an island
constellations of winter descend. Sirius, the bright universe, so distant. M104 is 40 million light years away!
est star in our northern sky. Orion the Hunter, with Yet photons from its billions of stars reach my eye.
red Betelgeuse. Golden Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus the Someday, with a telescope of six or more inches, I’ll be
Bull. Capella in the constellation Auriga. And the wee able to sweep across the faint skies of Virgo, with
dipper-shape of the Pleiades, so stunning in binoculars. galaxies swimming into view like tiny creatures under a
Soon they’ll vanish from our evening skies till later in the microscope. I’m in no hurry, though. The galaxies
year. remain, and M104’s a good companion. I nudged the
And among these lovely sights is brilliant Venus. So telescope up as the earth moved and the galaxy rose in the
why turn from that show to the east? After all, just two sky. I kept my eye on it. North of Manhattan, on an empty
bright stars appear there. The spring skies bring faint gravel road, I watched and listened. Coyotes yipped.
constellations, apparently lacking in glory and interest. Geese honked northwards. A Barred Owl called.
One reason to look east—well, north and then east—is Invisible galaxies teemed in the night.
to learn a bit of star-hopping. Locate the Big Dipper and — Christopher Cokinos
use its handle to point you across a swath of sky to a
WHAT’S AT STAKE
golden star called Arcturus, then continue in that general
direction to a blue-white star called Spica. The phrase to Boise Cascade is planning the world’s largest timber
remember is, “Arc to Arcturus, speed on to Spica.” You mill—right in the middle of Southern Chile’s temperate
can’t miss them. Spica is by far the brightest star in the rainforests. The project is so huge and so destructive it
faint constellation Virgo. And Virgo harbors the Realm alone would double the rate of deforestation in that
of the Galaxies. nation, according to the Rainforest Action Network. The
mill would be located near Puerto Montt, in the midst of
The reason the spring sky rising in the east is so faint is
Chile’s lake district and Patagonia; ironically, this area is
that we’re looking outside of the Milky Way, beyond the
a hotspot for ecotourism. One study shows that ecotour-
“Orion Arm” of our home galaxy. (Our solar system is
ism generates seven times more economic impact in the
located on the edge of the Orion Arm, one of the arms of
region than chipping mills. Tourism groups, salmon
the spiral, many-armed Milky Way.) That seemingly
farmers, scientists, environmentalists and other Chileans
dull spring sky—dull in contrast to winter’s glitter—is
strongly oppose this project, which would destroy much
home to thousands of distant galaxies, vast islands each
of Chile’s unique temperate rainforest. Despite this and
containing tens or hundreds of billions of stars.
the fact that 90% of the species in Child’s native forests
You need at least a four-inch telescope—the larger the are found only in Chile and nowhere else, Boise Cascade
better, really—to actually see some of this smudgy is steamrolling ahead. Write to express your dismay and
behemoths, but just knowing they are there may change opposition. Send a note to John Gunn, President, Dodge
your sense of the spring sky. My 90 mm spotting scope and Cox, 1 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104.
can just barely capture some galaxies. One of my Gunn is a major stockholder in Boise Cascade.
favorites is just to the upper right of Corvus the Crow, the
News from the frontlines: According to Department of
squashed square of a constellation that you can’t miss.
Justice figures compiled by Public Employees for Envi-
Corvus is to the right of Spica. It probably looks more
ronmental Responsibility, criminal referrals from the
like a Cubist house than a crow. On good, dark nights,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have dropped by more
when Corvus is out of the glare of townlight and the
than half (52 percent) from 1992 to 1996. During the
scrim of horizon haze, I can scan slowly up from its top-
same time, federal prosecutions filed and convictions
left star...slowly...then a wee blob of green light comes
obtained from FWS investigations have fallen by more
into view. M104, the Sombrero Galaxy, so-named for its
than a third (43 and 38 percent, respectively). According
resemblance to the hat.
to a survey of FWS Special Agents, many FWS managers
Galaxies aren’t terribly impressive visual objects, es- are interfering with investigations in order to avoid
pecially in small telescopes. But I can stare at M104 for controversies. — Christopher Cokinos
The Prairie Falcon - 4
APRIL BIRDING IN KANSAS
“One of the new pleasures of country life when one has made information deduce the migration strategies of whole
the acquaintance of the birds is to witness the northward bird populations. If you would like to look at
procession as it passes or tarries with us in the spring — a banding data for North American birds, the
procession which lasts from April till June and has Bird Banding Laboratory has an interesting
some new feature daily. web site where you can spend many hours
The migrating wild creatures, whether birds (http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/).
or beasts, always arrest the attention. They
During WWII, British radar operators
seem to link up animal life with the great
currents of the globe. It is moving day on a first noticed wavering radar images which
continental scale. It is the call of the primal they named “angels;” these turned out to be
instinct to increase and multiply, suddenly flocks of migrating birds. European and American
setting in motion whole tribes and races. The ornithologists have since used radar to learn quite a
first phoebe bird, the first song sparrow, the first robin or bit about the behavior of migrating bird flocks, and this
bluebird in March or early April, is like the first ripple of the
is an exciting research area today. You can even learn a
rising tide on the shore.” — John Burroughs, (1919) Field and bit yourself, by taking advantage of weather and radar
Study, Houghton-Mifflin Publishers, Boston MA. sites on the internet. Take a peek at the Houston radar

M
site (http://www.intellicast.com/weather/iah/nexrad/)
igration is one of the fascinating topics for
sometime this month when the nighttime winds are
birdwatchers. Not only does it bring new (and
from the southwest over the Gulf of Mexico. You
perhaps rare or unusual) birds to our vicinity
should see the rippling images of migrant bird flocks
every year, it also engages the speculative and intellectual
hurrying across the Gulf from South and Central
aspects of our study of birds. How do those upland
America, hoping to make landfall before the wind shifts
sandpipers, wintering in the far pampas of Argentina, find
or the sun comes up. And keep it in mind for next fall,
their way back to Konza Prairie every year, just in time for
when you can watch radar images of flocks of broad-
the spring burns and the flush of new green growth? What
winged hawks cruising apolitically across the border.
sights must a sandhill crane see as it flies from the irrigated
circles of Nebraska, through the amber grasslands of the Finally, the latest in technology, global position
prairie provinces, along the Yukon River valley through mapping and orbiting Argos satellites, has also helped
Alaska, and across the ice-jammed Bering Strait to Siberia? us understand the movements of individual birds.
And what incredible inner forces must act to inspire the Transmitters which transmit for a year or more, yet only
tide of buntings, warblers, vireos, orioles and weigh 20-30 gms, have been attached to migrants such
hummingbirds, departing from Yucatan for a 600 mile trip as ducks, geese, hawks, and sandhill cranes. The location
to the next landfall near Galveston? At some point our of these transmitters (and hopefully the location of the
understanding of the biology and evolution of migration attached bird) can be determined using orbiting satellites,
becomes inadequate, and we are merely left in awe of the allowing researchers to follow birds to places that are
spectacle unfolding daily during the month of April in uninhabited and/or inhospitable. Results of studies using
Kansas. this approach can also be found at various websites, e.g.
We do know a few things about migration, and have been http://159.189.96.215/perm/cranemov/cranemov.htm
able to learn a lot more in recent years with some incredible (sandhill crane migration)
technological advances. Tools such as bird-banding have
long been used to track the movements of birds, beginning or visit the Argos website (http://www.argosinc.com/
with a peregrine falcon belonging to Henry IV, which was docs/biouser.htm) for other migrants.
lost in France one day in 1595 and ended up on Malta 24
Migration is upon us this month, and as Burroughs
hours later. Audubon himself used a silver thread to mark
says, there is a new feature daily. So don’t just sit there
nestling phoebes in his yard in Philadelphia, and was
reading this newsletter, or staring at your computer
delighted to see them return the next spring. This time-
monitor. Get out and enjoy the northward procession of
honored technique has allowed researchers to determine
birds this month, and see what you can learn!
the migration paths of individual birds, and from that
— Dave Rintoul
The Prairie Falcon - 5
Northern Flint Hills Audubon Society Non-profit Organization
P.O. Box 1932 U.S. Postage Paid
Manhattan KS 66505-1932 Permit No. 662
printed on 100% post-consumer Manhattan KS 66501
recycled paper
Return Service Requested

Subscription Information NFHAS Officers and Board Members


Introductory memberships are available for $20 per year; after that a
1998-9
basic membership is available for $35 annually. When you join the President: Hoogy Hoogheem* (539-7080)
Northern Flint Hills Audubon Society, you automatically become a Vice-president: Dave Rintoul (537-0781)
member of the National Audubon Society and receive the bimonthly Secretary : Dolly Gudder (537-4102)
Audubon magazine, in addition to the PRAIRIE FALCON. New member- Treasurer: Jan Garton (539-3004)
ship applications may be sent to NFHAS at the address below; make Committee Chairs
checks payable to the National Audubon Society. Renewals of mem-
bership are handled by the National Audubon Society and should not Conservation co-chairs: Janet Throne (776-7624)
be sent to NFHAS. Questions about membership can be answered by Chris Cokinos* (537-4143)
calling a toll-free number, 1-800-274-4201, or by electronic mail to Education: Sue Dwyer (539-8142)
Betsy Hax at the National Audubon Society (bhax@audubon.org). Program: Jan Garton (539-3004)
Fieldtrips: Patricia Yeager (776-9593)
Nonmembers may subscribe to the PRAIRIE FALCON newsletter for
$10 per year. Make checks payable to the Northern Flint Hills Membership: Steve Amy (456-7053)
Audubon Society, and mail to: Treasurer, NFHAS, P.O. Box 1932, Finance: Carla Bishop (539-5129)
Manhattan KS 66505-1932. Public Outreach: Dolly Gudder (537-4102)

RARE BIRD ALERT HOTLINES At-large Board Members


Jan Allen, Phoebe Samelson, Beth Tatarko, John Tatarko,
Kansas (statewide): 316-229-2777 Gerald Weins
Kansas City Area (incl. W. MO): 785-342-2473
Nebraska (statewide): 402-292-5325 (* - Kansas Audubon Council representatives)

Addresses and Phone numbers of Your Elected Representatives - Write - or call ( anytime
Governor Bill Graves: 2nd Floor, State Capitol Bldg., Topeka KS 66612 u Kansas Senator or Representative _________________: State Capitol Bldg., Topeka KS 66612, Phone numbers
(during session only) - Senate: 913-296-7300, House: 913-296-7500 u Senator Roberts or Brownback: US Senate, Washington DC 20510 u Representative _____________________: US
House of Representatives, Washington DC 20515 u US Capitol Switchboard : 202-224-3121 u President Bill Clinton, The White House, Washington DC 20500
u Information about a particular piece of legislation can be obtained by calling the following numbers: In Topeka - 800-432-3924;
in Washington - 202-225-1772; Audubon Action Line - 800-659-2622, or get the latest on the WWW at http://www.audubon.org/campaign/aa/
The Prairie Falcon - 6