THE CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE
It's the end of another year, and along with
the many trappings of this holiday season many of
us are thinking about Christmas Bird Counts. Of
course I want everyone of our OG members to participate in the oldest, and one of the best of counts
along the Uppper Texas Coast. Coincidentally this
happens to be our very own, OG sponsored Houston
Count. (Please see Coming Events for additional
information.) Another of my favorites is the Attwater National Wildlife Refuge Count. This count,
begun in 1977, ranks as one of the best inland counts
in the country, with a species tally in the 160 range.
With many a plus for birding in East Colorado County
there is the gnawing problem of the steadily declining Attwater's Prairie-Chicken. As an example:
Year of count Refuge population total CBC total
The problem this species has is not unlike that
of the Spotted Owl in the Northwest. The disappearance of specific habitats is the reason for the decline and near extinction of this native grouse.
The rationale in the Pacific Northwest is the
shameful plundering of old growth forests, accompanied by the roar of chainsaws. Here in Texas it
has been the relentless expansion of rice farming
and ranching. Not so noisy perhaps, but no less
devastating to the once vast expanses of long grass
prairie. No prairie habitat = no prairie-chickens.
We are the watchmen (and women) on the wall!
Will we see the extinction of this bird in our turn
at the watch? Many feel that it is already too
late, that the prairie-chicken is unalterably doomed.
I am not willing to concede just yet!
Attwater's Refuge Manager, Mr. Steve LaBuda
has, at my request, agreed to give us a brief update
on the precipitous decline of this seriously endangered
species at our December meeting. Please bring your
thinking cap and we'll consider this conundrum.
Richard Uzar, Chairman
BROWN PELICAN GOOD NEWS - BAD NEWS
from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Hews Release
On January 7, 1988 the OG meeting program
was presented by Mike Lang, biologist for the
Brazoria/San Bernard/Big Boggy NWR complex. He
explained and showed slides to illustrate the experimental program of placing young Brown Pelicans in
suitable habitat at San Bernard NWR which had
taken place in 1987. The purpose was to establish
a new breeding population in addition to the one at
Pelican Island in Corpus Christi Bay in case that
colony should ever be affected by disease or other
disaster. It was hoped that these pelicans would
return and breed when mature. The good news is
that 14 pairs did nest at San Bernard NWR in the
spring of 1989, but the tropical storm on June 23
drowned the young that had been produced. Nevertheless the fact that nesting pairs returned to the
refuge is encouraging, and we may hope for better
luck in 1990.
OCTl l«f FIELD TRIP TO BRAZOS BEND SP
by David Bradford
The October 14 ONC/OG field trip to Brazos
Bend State Park had twenty-four participants and
sighted over sixty species of birds. Camera buffs enjoyed close up shots of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons
and White Ibis. Others enjoyed adding Wood Duck
and Vermilion Flycatcher to their life lists. As
usual Red-shouldered Hawks were seen hunting in
early morning light while Anhingas sat quietly on
perches drying their wings. After lunch a few hardy
souls continued birding and were treated to seven
duck species off Davis Estates Road.
SPOONBILL EDITOR WILL RESIGN IN MAY
Due to an increasing work load I will resign
in May, 1990. This advance notice, will, I hope
provide time for an orderly transition to a new
Spoonbill staff. I urge anyone who has good ideas
"for future Spoonbills to consider volunteering. It
is a rewarding job. Not only do you learn a great
deal, but you become better acquainted with a lot
of very nice people in the OG.
Connie Clark, who has pasted up the copy by
hand, and I both feel that it is time to take advantage of modern technology and compose The Spoon -
bill on computer. If editing and publishing seem like
too big a job, it would be a good idea to separate
the two. One person could edit, type up "Coming
Events," write and solicit articles, while another
person could do the actual publishing with the new
computer programs available. The Clearing House
is already on computer.
So let's hear from some of you with good
ideas, and from computer buffs who have grown up
with modern technology. As one who wouldn't know
a byte if it bit her I will pass the torch to you.
Libby Price, Editor
REPORT GEESE WITH NECKBANDS
Birders are asked to help those researching the
movements of geese in Southeast Texas by reporting
geese seen with neckbands. The neckbands are
green and white with the first number or letter vertical and the second two horizontal. Report to U.S.
Fish and Wildlife, Brazoria NWR Complex, P.O. Box
1088, Angleton, Texas 77516-1088, or call (409)
849-7771, and tell date, time and location of sighting,
as well as the code you read on neckband.
FOR OG information, checklists, maps, contact
Maxine Davis, 10602 Cedarhurst, Houston
SEND bird sightings for Clearing House to:
Clearing House (OG), P.O. Box 271374, Houston
TEXAS RARE Bird Alert Tape, sponsored by Piney
Woods Wildlife Society and Houston Audubon
Society: (713) 821-2846.
FOR LOCAL nature societies' meetings and field
trips call the Audubon Society's "Voice of the
Naturalist" tape: 932-1392.
SEND material for Spoonbill to Editor, Libby Price,
3715 Sunset, Houston 77005, 665-1159.
SEND dues, subscriptions and address changes to
Jerry Patrick, 814 St. Francis, Houston 77079.
Members' annual dues: $15 (ONC $5, OG $10).
Spoonbill subscriptions for non-members: $13.