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October 9, 2017, 7:30pm- A Runaway Hobby


October 9, 2017, 7:30pm- A Runaway Hobby, Dave Russell, Department of Biology, Miami University.

What started as a sociable birding competition between childhood friends, morphed into a frenzied quest to the four corners of the continent in the pursuit of 600 species–all while keeping a couple of full-time jobs and not trying to spend too much of the grocery money. Join us for an evening of fun and adventure as we crisscross North America chasing birds.

David E. Russell received his BS in Entomology from University of California Davis and his Master’s and Doctorate in Molecular Systematics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A Senior Lecturer of Intro and Environmental Biology at Miami University, he teaches a number of courses including Biology, Environmental Biology, and Ornithology. A Master Bird Bander and certified North American Banding Council Trainer, he is the co-founder and Research/Education Director for the Avian Research and Education Institute (AREI), a nonprofit bird conservation, education, and advocacy organization. An avid birder with a passion for sharing the birding world with all that will listen, Dave frequently leads field trips and conducts birding workshops throughout the US. Dave and Jill are also Peony farmers in Alaska and own and operate the business, Boral Peonies.

Audubon Miami Valley meets the second Monday of September through May in the 2nd floor usually in the conference room of the Lebanon Citizens National Bank building at 30 West Park Place. These meetings are free and open to the public.

Bird Seed Sale 2017


Support our programming and feed winter birds by buying your seed from Audubon Miami Valley. Download the brochure by clicking HERE. For additional information or to volunteer at the sale, call Marlene at 513-461-9639.

‘Dr. Bluebird’ spurs AMV nesting box project


Based on the recommendations of our March speaker, Dr. Kent Hall of the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, we built and installed 38 Bluebird nesting boxes. (Hall is known as  “Dr. Bluebird” in Wisconsin!) 

The houses went up at the Hueston Woods State Park Golf Course in three phases. All were built in my woodworking shop with help from Libby Birch, Hardy Eshbaugh, Brian Grubb, and especially George Simonds. 

We have 14 sponsors at $35 each, which nearly covers the entire cost of the houses.  We have three extra houses and can always use more sponsors

We were late in getting the houses installed but they were well-received regardless. We had all 38 houses occupied at some point during the nesting season I plan to move a few houses by next spring to afford easier access for both birds and monitors.  Otherwise the initial locations were excellent. 

Libby Birch and I monitored the boxes several times through July. (The normal monitoring season lasts 7-11 weeks.  As the years pass we will gain more experience and our efforts will become more precise.) Then the boxes were cleaned out and prepared for winter.

I put together two complete sets of monitoring notebooks and tools needed by monitors for minor repairs, box cleaning, etc. I also sewed an AMV flag that is placed on the back of the golf cart to give official status of the monitors while on the course. In conjunction with Matthew Bourne, superintendent of the golf course, a list of monitoring instructions were written.  Training sessions will be scheduled before next spring for anyone wanting to be a monitor.

In the future, we may implement additional Bluebird trails in Hueston Woods State Park, accessible by bike, hike, or auto, and a Bluebird trail on the new bike trail surrounding Oxford. These new trails will require much greater planning and approval by the Board of AMV.  

There is no end to the enthusiasm from members with regard to becoming monitors.  The future looks very bright.  Our first year results are highly encouraging.

— Dick Munson, Conservation Chair


What’s at the Big Woods?


Photo by Lynette Dean

To see more photos from the September 10 field trip to the Big Woods, Hueston Woods State Park go to:

Big Woods Field Trip, Sunday, September 10, 2017


Field Trip, Sunday, September 10, 2017: Big Woods, Hueston Woods State Park

The Big Woods area of Hueston Woods State Park is a tiny remnant of the beech-maple forest that once stretched in a broad band from southwestern Ohio to its northeastern corner. This forest type is dominated by the ghostly gray trunks of beech trees along with varying proportions of sugar maple, red and white oaks, and white ash. A map of Hueston Woods can be found at Horticulturist Dick Munson will lead us on a visit to this old grown forest within Hueston Woods. The group will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Big Woods Parking Area (straight ahead from the Brown Road park entrance). The guided walk will conclude by around noon. Pack a lunch if desired and bring binoculars if possible.

Hog Island offered Libby Birch Arts and Birding


During the week of June 11-16, 2017, I had the privilege to be sponsored by Audubon Miami Valley to attend Hog Island Audubon Camp, Maine, which was a life-changing experience.

Seventeen artists from the United States as well as Italy attended the Arts and Birding Program. We all had the opportunity to pursue watercolor, ink and pencil technique, focusing on bird anatomy and nature journaling.

The island environment was a perfect backdrop for immersing oneself in the creative process and quiet. Hiking island trails, bird watching, lectures and workshops were offered daily.

Another highlight was a day trip to Egg Rock Island to view Puffins, which are a significant draw for the camp. Puffins were re-introduced 50 years ago, through the Puffin Project founded by Director Stephen Kress.

A mission of Hog Island and Audubon is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

Hog Island has a rich history in American ornithology. Its first bird instructor was Roger Tory Peterson. Dr. Stephen Kress continues his efforts to restore and preserve Puffin populations.

Meals were served family-style, with chefs emphasizing nutrition, environmental and ethical sustainability – along with connecting to place and community.

My “take-away” was a renewed sense of wonder, motivation to create more paintings and journals, and to continue to seek experiences in nature.

Thank you, Audubon Miami Valley!


— Libby Birch

A Honey of a Bee: Fascinating facts from our flower-loving friends,


September 11, 2017, 7:30pm- A Honey of a Bee: Fascinating facts from our flower-loving friends, Randy C. Morgan, Emeritus Curator-Insectarium, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

The familiar honey bee Apis mellifera is a vitally important agricultural pollinator threatened by many human activities. It is also a behaviorally fascinating insect. This talk celebrates honey bees’ sophisticated social organization, intimate association with flowers, and past and present relationships with humans. We will also explore the wonderful ways honey bees sense their world and communicate with nest mates including their astonishing waggle dance language.

Randy is an entomologist and holds an M.S. in entomology from the University of Wisconsin. He worked at the Cincinnati Zoo Insectarium for 32 years and is now retired from his position as Curator of Invertebrates, Reptiles & Amphibians. At the zoo he managed a diverse collection of live insects and other small animals for public educational display and developed a world-class exhibit. Randy has received significant recognition and awards for his work. He has been a beekeeper for nearly 40 years, is active in the South Western Ohio Beekeepers Association and loves to share his passion for honey bees and the other little animals that propel and shape our living world.

Audubon Miami Valley will meet in the conference room of the Lebanon Citizens National Bank building at 30 West Park Place. These meetings are free and open to the public.