Current Newsletter

Outings Highlights!
Bird Sightings!
Christmas Bird Count
Birding Spots
Related Links
What is Loess?
Mission Statement
Contact Information
Become a member!
Birds of Siouxland
Member Photos
Current Newsletter


Text Box: MORE

      The Newsletter of the

    LOESS HILLS AUDUBON SOCIETY     Volume 43: No. 5, May-August 2017



 The Loess Hills Audubon Society meets on the first Thursday of the month at the

                 Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center

                 4500 Sioux River Road (Highway 12 North)

                 Sioux City, IA 51109


                 Like us on Facebook:  Loess Hills Audubon Society


Mission Statement–The Loess Hills Audubon Society exists to educate individuals and the general public, to enjoy and promote birding, and to support ornithology, and to be an advocate for wild areas and environmental issues.




By John Polifka


     It seems consistent with the mission of the Audubon Society to pay tribute to national leaders who have been instrumental in protecting the environment, regardless of the political philosophy of those leaders.

     The setting was Yosemite in 1903.  President Theodore Roosevelt ditched his Secret Service detail to go camping with naturalist John Muir.  The outcome of this meeting was Roosevelt’s creation of eighteen national monuments, five national parks, and one hundred fifty national forests—the sum total representing a conservation of 230 million acres.

     In his spring of 2016 visit to Yosemite, President Obama probably wasn’t as successful in ditching his Secret Service detail as was Roosevelt.  But his visit was no less momentous.  Obama designated 87,000 acres in central Maine as a new national monument and later added about 300 million acres in Hawaii to become the largest ecological preserve on the planet.  Historian Douglas Brinkley dubbed Obama the twenty-first century Theodore Roosevelt.

     The current political sentiment seems to be in favor of wresting land away from federal protection.  For example, legislation was recently introduced to undermine the Antiquities Act, the legislation which was signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and which enabled Obama to designate the land in Maine as a national monument.  It is worth noting that during Obama’s first term, he used the Antiquities Act sparingly and under the belief that parks were a bipartisan concern.  The Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Obama to designate national monuments.

     Roosevelt was quoted as saying the following after his camping trip with Muir:  “We are not building this country of ours for a day.  It is to last through the ages.”  There was a certain prescience in Roosevelt’s comment.  The imperative of protecting the environment for future generations is more critical now than ever.  And it should be apolitical, as exemplified by Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Obama.


                                                CALENDAR OF EVENTS


Thursday, May 4—LHAS monthly meeting  7:30 pm.  DPNC  Election of Officers.  Program:  Madagascar, Part 2.  Paul Roisen will continue his adventure in Madagascar that he began at the February meeting.  Executive board meeting 6:15 pm.  All are invited to attend.

May 5-7—IOU Spring Meeting  Chariton, IA.  In conjunction with Lucas County Birding Festival.

Saturday, May 13—Our May Outing will be our annual Birdathon.  See details elsewhere in this newsletter or go to the Birdathon Page of our web site.  May is one of the best birding months of the year so plan to join us.

Saturday, June 10—Show & Go Outing  We will meet at the Northwest corner of the Super Walmart parking lot on Singing Hills Blvd. At 7:30 am.  Current plans are to bird some of our local areas to the southeast of Sioux City.  Probably destinations include Owego, Fowler Forest Preserve, and Southwood Conservation area among others.  The Polifkas live just east of Smithland and have invited us there for lunch so we will break for some good food and fellowship around noon.  Contact Jerry Von Ehwegen at: or 276-1546 for more information.

Saturday, July 8—Show & Go Outing  We will meet at the Northwest corner of the Super Walmart parking lot at Singing Hills Blvd. At 7:30 am.  An email will be sent shortly before the 8th to advise you of the probable destination and lunch plans.  Our web site outings page will also be updated at that time.  Contact Jerry Von Ehwegen at: or 276-1546 for more information.

Saturday, August 19—Show & Go Outing  We will meet at the Northwest corner of the Super Walmart parking lot on Singing Hills Blvd. At 7:30 am.  An email will be sent shortly before the 19th to advise you of the probable destination and lunch plans.  Our web site outings page will also be updated at that time.  Contact Jerry Von Ehwegen at: or 276-1546 for more information.



DOROTHY PECAUT NATURE CENTER                                                                              

Exit 151 I-29, Take State Road 12 North for 4 miles to the Nature Center.  To register for events or for more information call 712-258-0838  Or check our website –

Monday, May 1—Woodbury County Conservation Board Campgrounds open for the Season.  Camping is first-come, first-served.  See more at

Friday, May 5—On Golden Pond  A projects of HOPE special benefit for the Nature Center at LAMB Arts Regional Theatre.  7:30 pm show time.  Doors open at 7.  Tickets only $10 each.  Purchase online at: or call 712-258-0838 to reserve your seats.  LAMB is at 417 Market St.

May 5-7—Camping kickoff weekend.  Camp at Snyder Bend Park, Little Sioux Park, Bigelow Park, or Southwood Conservation Area this weekend and earn a free camping pass for a night of camping later in the season.

Thursday, May 11—Live Animal Lunchtime 4:30 pm.  Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center.  Come and watch our live animals eat.  Learn about their habitat needs and adaptations.  Free!

Saturday, May 20—Honeybees in Iowa  10:00 am.  DPNC.  The 2017 Iowa Honey Queen, Carly Raye Vannoy, will be sharing about honeybees, honey, beekeeping, and beyond during her presentation.  Participants will learn about the superorganism of honeybees, how bees make mummies, the strange use of beehives in medieval Europe, the color of mystery honey, and so much more!  Come find out why we want to save the bees, and how we can make that happen!

June 2-4—Loess Hills Prairie Seminar.  Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area, Northeast of Onawa, IA.  For more information visit the Loess Hills Prairie Seminar web site.

Thursday, June 8—Live Animal Lunchtime 4:30 pm  DPNC.  Come and watch our live animals eat and learn about their habitat needs and adaptions.  Free!  Open until 7 pm Thursdays during June & July.

Friday, June 9—Evening Campfire DPNC 7:00 pm.  Join the Summer Naturalists and kick off a great summer of activities while we enjoy time around the campfire—complete with S’Mores.  Free!

Saturday, June 10—Iowa Mammals  6:30 pm.  Snyder Bend Park, 3 miles SW of Salix.  Join a Summer Naturalist at the open shelter by the boat ramp to learn about our native Iowa mammals.  Free!

Tuesday, June 13—Nature Tales  10:00 am.  DPNC  Pre-schoolers, join us with an adult for this special story time.  We’ll hike, too.  Please pre-register by calling 712-258-0838 or email

Saturday, June 17—Pheasants Forever Fishing Derby for Youth  9:00 am – 1:00 pm  Little Sioux Park.  Youth up to age 18 are invited.  Under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult with a valid fishing license.  Meet at the shelter by the beach.  For more information call 712-277-2263.

Saturdays, June 17 & 24—Nature Hike  1:30 pm. DPNC.  Take a guided hike on the nature center trails

Saturday, June 17—Digital Photography  10:00 am – noon DPNC  Bring your own camera and be prepared to go into the field to learn some basic digital photography techniques.  Please pre-register with Resource Naturalist Tyler Flammang at

Saturday, June 24—Camouflage Critters  6:30 pm Southwood Conservation Area.  Meet at the parking lot near the ponds for a program about animals and camouflage.  Free!

Thursday, June 29—Make a Paracord Dog Leash/Part One  6:00-8:00 pm.  DPNC.  Create a handmade leash for your dog.  This is Part One of the two-part course.  Cost is $15.00/leash.   All supplies provided.  Pre-registration is required.  Limit of 10 participants.  Contact Tyler Flammang at or call 712-258-0838 to register.

Saturday, July 1—Play in the Park  9:00 am – 1:00 pm  Little Sioux Park.  There will be various activities set up through the park that may include:  archery, water games, hikes, and live animal programs.  Free!

Thursday, July 6—Make a Paracord Dog Leash/Part Two.  6:00-8:00 pm. DPNC. See above June 29

Saturday, July 8—Nature Hike 1:30 pm DPNC.  Hike the nature center trails with a Summer Naturalist.

Saturday, July 8—Reptiles 6:30 pm.  Bigelow Park, Brown’s Lake.  Meet a naturalist at the playground.

Tuesday, July 11—Nature Tales  10:00 am.  DPNC Pre-schoolers, join us with an adult for this special story time at the Nature Playscape.  Please pre-register by calling 712-258-0838 or email Theresa Kruid.

Thursday, July 13—Live Animal Lunchtime 4:30 pm DPNC.  Watch our live animals eat. 

Thursday, July 20—Map & Compass  6:00-8:00 pm.  DPNC.  Learn some basic orienterring skills using a map and compass.  Bring your own compass if you have one.

Saturday, July 22—Nature Hike 1:30 pm.  DPNC  Hike with a naturalist on the nature center trails.

Saturday, July 22—All About Birds  6:30 pm.  Snyder Bend Park.  Meet at the open shelter by the boat ramp to learn about birds and tips on how to identify them.  Bring binoculars if you have them.

Thursday, July 27—Meet the Animals  1:30-3:30 pm DPNC  You can view the live animals up close.



Saturday, July 29—Canoeing & Water Safety  5:00-9:00 pm Little Sioux Park.  Meet at the beach area.

Learn water safety & canoeing basics and then practice your skills on the lake.  All equipment provided.  Pre-register by calling 712-258-0838 or

August 2-6—Woodbury County Fair.  Thursday, August 6—Reptiles at the Fair 3:00 pm  Old Town 

Tuesday, August 8—Nature Tales  10:00 am DPNC.  Pre-schoolers with an adult story time.

Thursday, August 10—Live Animal Lunchtime  4:30 pm DPNC.  Watch the animals eat

Friday, August 11—Evening Campfire  7:00 pm. DPNC.  Enjoy time around the campfire with S’Mores

Thursday, August 24—Sunset Photography 7:00-9:00 pm DPNC  Bring your camera, tripod, and shutter release to capture the setting sun.  Pre-registration required.  Limit of 20 people.  Contact Resource Naturalist Tyler Flammang at  




Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is located 1 mile west and mile south of I-29,. Exit 4 in South Dakota.  For information and pre-registration, call (605) 232-0873 or e-mail

Saturday, May 20–2017 Donkey Dash 5K Fun Run  10:00 am.  Join us for this annual event that raises funds for Sonny’s Acres.  Sonny’s acres is a live animal working form on the homestead site.  This event is fun for all ages!  Registration is required and forms are available now.  Register by Thursday, May 11 to be guaranteed a t-shirt.  Same day registration starts at 9:00 am the day of the run.  Run starts at 10:00 am.  Please call 605-232-0873 for a registration form.

Saturday, August 12—Adams Homestead Celebration  10:00 am – 4:00 pm.  On August 14, 1997, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve officially opened as a state park.  We mark this very special occasion by having an annual festival on or around this day.  This year we will be celebrating 20 years!  There are many new and exciting activities that are scheduled throughout the day.  Some of the activities include threshing machine demonstration, corn shelling, candle making, tin punching, homestead tours, rope making, musicians, watermelon seed spitting contest, buffalo chip throwing contest.

PLYMOUTH COUNTY PARKS  Hillview Park is located west of Hinton, Iowa at 25601 C60.  For information and registration call Victoria at 712-947-4270 or e-mail or visit us on Facebook  at Plymouth County Conservation or our website at

Knee High Naturalists.  June 17—Insectigations.  July 15—Wild About Flowers.  August 12—Mud, Mud, Mud.  Knee High Naturalists is a program for children 2-8 years old with an adult.  Each program is held at the Center for Outdoor Learning in Hillview Park at 10:00 am.  Cost is $3 per child and pre-registration is required.  Come prepared to be outdoors.

Paddling 101.  June 7—Hinton Hillview Park.  June 14—Kingsley Southeast Wildwood.  June 21—Akron River’s Bend Wildlife Area.  All events 6:00-7:30 pm.  Come join our naturalist and learn how to paddle a canoe and/or kayak.  Please call to pre-register at 712-947-4270.  This is a free event!!

Have Nature, Will Travel.  Nature is all around.  You don’t have to go far to find it.  Join us at a park in your community and explore nature in your neighborhood.  This is a FREE program for preschool to upper elementary kids.  July 5, 1:00-2:30 pm  Cleveland Park, LeMars.   July 6, 10:00-11:30 am,  Kingsley City Park, Kingsley and 1:00-2:30 pm Beck Park, Remsen.  July 7, 10:00-11:30 am, Akron City Park, Akron and 1:00-2:30 pm, Michael’s Miracle Park, Hinton.

Summer Camps—run from June 6 thru August 10 on various dates, schedules, and age groups.  Check the web site for more information and to register.

                                                      LHAS OUTINGS

                                 By Jerry Von Ehwegen

Saturday, 18 March 2017.  18 people traveled to the Gavin’s Point Dam area to participate in our March outing.  Those participating included Bob & Phyllis N., Chuck J., Donna P., John & Sharon P., Bill & Dotty Z., Carol B., Anne & Gary S., Roger D., Sharon D., Richard & Marjorie R., Randy W., Jan N., and Jerry V.  Part of our group departed Sioux City at 7:30 and found the rest of the group gathered at the north end of Lake Yankton below the dam.  Those who drove up were treated to multiple flocks of migrating Snow Geese whose bright white colors glistened brightly against the clouds as they headed north.  It was a cold, mostly clear morning with a temp of 30 degrees and remained in the low 30’s the rest of the morning before warming up to 55 degrees after lunch.  A light breeze kept our warm gear on as we observed the large numbers of waterfowl on the lake.

     Large numbers of ducks were seen on the lake and we were able to identify all the common duck species that migrate through our area each year.  Ring-necked Ducks seemed to be the most numerous species.  A stop on the dam showed us more ducks close to shore and a huge flock of Snow Geese farther out on the big water.  One birder located 3 Long-tailed Ducks but we were unable to relocate them again in the dense flocks along the shore.  We found 19 species of Ducks and 3 species of Geese plus American Coots.  It was fun to watch the Common Goldeneyes and Buffleheads performing their mating display antics.  Bald Eagles and a Great Horned Owl were occupying nests and were seen by some.  We recorded a total of 54 species for the day which happened to be the exact same total as last year, but several of the species were different.

     We broke for lunch at Chuck & Donna’s cabin and were treated to some very delicious goodies including 3 kinds of soup, several species of cookies, two flavors of ice cream with choices of toppings, sandwich choices, chips, veggies, and the like.  Thanks to all who participated and especially to Chuck and Donna for hosting us and to all others who contributed to the feast.  The entire species listing can be found on the Outings Highlights Page on our web site at:

Saturday, 22 April 2017  Bob & Phyllis N., Dotty Z., Jerry P., Bob L., Carol B., and Jerry V., participated in our April outing.  It was a mostly clear, calm morning at 42 degrees and warmed to the upper 60’s later in the day with clear skies and continued calm conditions.  Our first stop was the Owego Wetlands to look for the Eurasian Wigeon (a rare visitor to interior North America) which was found there the preceding Monday and was present all week including Friday, but we were unable to relocate it.  We did observe nesting Great Horned Owls and Bald Eagles.  A trip to Table Marsh produced an amazingly close up view of a very patient Great-tailed Grackle right out our car windows.  He serenaded us with a few of his loud clack calls which may have been directed toward the two females perched nearby.  After a nice lunch at the subway in Sloan, a stop at the Osprey nest nearby found a pair of nesting Osprey.  At Sandhill Lake we found two Spotted Sandpipers and additional stops were made at Snyder’s Bend and New Lake.  One of the Osprey platforms at Brown’s Lake also had nesting Osprey.

     Other highlights included Northern Mockingbird, American Golden-plovers, and Wilson’s Snipe.  We recorded a total of 65 species for the day.  The entire species listing can be found on the Outings Highlights Page of our web site at:  Thanks to all who participated.  It was a beautiful day for birding!

                                                          BIRDATHON 2017

Saturday, May 13th is the day of Birdathon!  This is one of our important fundraising events.  This is a good date because some of our winter birds are still here and many of our summer birds have just arrived, providing a great overlap of species.

     Come and be a part of a team or make up your own team.  Old timers welcome and teach beginning birders.  Some teams are singles who watch their feeders or neighborhoods.  Sometimes a rare bird is spotted at a feeder.  Some go out a few hours, some go all day, some start pre-dawn and go until after dark.  Some people donate a lump sum dollar amount, some people give a certain amount for each species of bird that is spotted that day.  At the May 4th meeting, I will have a sign-up sheet, a donation sheet, and species lists.

     Please join and list the species you see.  Then report your observed list to me.  We do not need the number of each species this time.  If you want to become part of a team or have questions about Birdathon this year, please contact me at: or 712-274-1979 or 712-251-5535.


                                    MEMBERSHIP PAYMENT PROCEDURE

                                      By Donna Popp

After a long conversation with National Audubon Society, I think I understand the new procedures for membership.  For Renewals, send your dues to:  National Audubon Society, PO Box 97194, Washington, DC 20090-7194.  Be sure to put on the check which should be made out to National Audubon Society, our chapter identification H52.  For new memberships,  send them to me with a check made out to National Audubon Society and the H52 identification.  The renewal memberships begin at $20 and the new memberships are $25.  Anything above the $20 is, of course, much appreciated.  This has been a difficult transition and I hope that National has this straightened out.  I know that many members whose memberships were to have expired in the fall of 2016 are still on the roster.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 712-274-1979 or


                                                           Loess Hills Audubon Society

                                                            Membership Application




City___________________State_____ Zip__________



Introductory 1 year membership $25

Make check payable to National Audubon Society and send to:

                    Donna Popp, 630 Surrey Lane, Sioux City, IA 51106

                               CHAPTER OFFICERS


President John Polifka 712-253-2138


Vice Pres./Progs. Rex Rundquist 712-251-0345 or 712-255-3136


Secretary Sharon Polifka 712-212-5395


Treasurer Herman Schultz 712-943-4388


Membership Donna Popp 712-274-1979


Newsletter Anne Shaner 712-252-2182


Iowa Audubon Rex Rundquist 712-251-0345 or 712-255-3136


Conservation Bill Zales 802-275-4716 (text only)


Education Jody Moats 712-490-5570


Outings Jerry VonEhwegen 712-276-1546


Bird Food Sales Bill&Dotty Zales 712-568-1006


Social Committee Carol Blair 712-948-3350


Publicity Dawn Snyder 258-0838or898-9168


Birdathon Czar Chuck Johnson 712-274-1979


Audubon Adventures Gary Heineman 712-428-6443


Naturalist Jody Moats 712-490-5570


Past President Bob Livermore 712-301-8880


Website Jerry VonEhwegen 712-276-1546