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 44: No. 2, November/December 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


     One of the items that was discussed at the October 5 Board meeting was the possibility of Sioux City hosting the Spring 2018 Iowa Ornithologist’s Union meeting.  This would entail the arrangement of logistics, such as a meeting site and field trip leaders/locations.  If Sioux City were to host the event, it would be held May 18, 19, and 20.  It was decided by the Board that the final decision to host the meeting would be made in the event that all the arrangements could be made.  If hosting the Spring IOU meeting comes to fruition, it would have a positive economic impact on the city.

     I researched some of the websites dealing with the economic impact of birding (a/k/a avitourism).  A four-day Hummingbird Migration Celebration was attended by 7,970 individuals and had a total economic impact of $97,654, for example.  Over 71 million Americans spent nearly $45 billion on observing, feeding, or watching wildlife in the US in 2006.  Forty-six million Americans watch birds.  This exceeds the economic impact of hunting and fishing.  The impact spreads to restaurants, hotels/motels, and other retail establishments.  The economic importance of birding was apparent when birders converged on the small community of Chariton for the IOU meeting last Spring.  There were volunteers from the community who didn’t consider themselves to be birders beyond their back yards but knew a good thing for their community when they saw it.

     I’m hopeful that LHAS will partner with the IOU in bringing the Spring 2018 meeting to Sioux City but, as I said, it is not yet a done deal.  The last time Sioux City hosted the IOU was May of 2007.  And before that it was May 1997 and May 1987, respectively.  The pattern appears to have missed being auspicious by one year.  Maybe 2018 will make it relatively so.





                                                CALENDAR OF EVENTS


Thursday, November 2—LHAS monthly meeting  7:30 pm.  DPNC.  Program:  “Bluebirds”.  DPNC Resource Naturalist, Tyler Flammang, will present stories and insights from the field, photography from inside the nest boxes, nest box building and mounting tips, website resources, etc.  He will share his opinions and real-world application of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “Nest Watch” app.  You’ll also learn how to utilize this free and simple to use website and portable electronic application for your own backyard citizen science enjoyment.  Board meeting 6:15 pm.  All are welcome to attend.


Saturday, November 18—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 18th to advise you of the probable destination and lunch plans.  Our web site outings page will also be updated at that time.  Contact Jerry VonEhwegen at or 276-1546 for more information.

Thursday, December 7—LHAS monthly meeting  DPNC.  7:30 pm.  Christmas Party.  Program will be pictures that you have taken of birds or travels during the last year.  Please limit your pictures to about 20.  A computer will be available to show the pictures.  Still pictures can be displayed on a table as well.  Everyone please bring a treat to share.  Board meeting 6:15 pm.  All are welcome to attend.

December Outings will be the various Christmas bird counts.

     Ponca—Contact Bill Huser for date and meeting locations at

     Sioux City—Saturday, December 16.  Contact Jerry Probst for information at

     Yankton and Ida Grove—Sunday, December 17.  Contact Jerry Probst for information.

     Westfield—Thursday, December 21, the first day of winter.  Plan to arrive at Zales mailbox at 15384 North Ridge Road at 8:00 am and we will divide into groups and “bird” until 1:00 pm when we will serve a hearty and hot lunch at our home and tabulate our group counts.  Those wanting to bird afterwards may do so.




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 –

Thursday, November 2—Bluebirds  7:30 pm DPNC.  Spend an evening recapping the 2016 and 2017 Bluebird nesting seasons with Resource Naturalist Tyler Flamming.

Saturday, November 4—Float the Little Sioux River from Walling Access to Little Sioux Park.  Noon-5 pm.  Meet at Walling Access, 1 mile north of Correctionville off Highway 31.  Bring your own kayak or canoe, paddles, personal flotation device and transportation.  Meet at Walling Access at noon and we’ll organize a shuttle on site.  Don’t have your own boat?  No problem!  We will have 10 canoes, life jackets, and paddles available for reservation for this event only.  Pre-registration for ALL attendees is appreciated and necessary if you plan to reserve a canoe.  Contact Resource Naturalist Tyler Flammang with questions.  712-258-0838 or

Tuesday, November 14—Nature Tales  10:00 am. DPNC.  Pre-schoolers, join us with an adult for this special story time about foxes and coyotes.  We’ll hike too, weather permitting.  Please pre-register by calling 712-258-0838 or email

Friday, November 17—Painting with Light Photography  6:30-8:30 pm.  DPNC.  Ever wondered how names, shapes, and designs are drawn with light in photos?  Here’s your opportunity to find out!.  Resource Naturalist Tyler Flammang will share tips and insights for creating beautiful and interesting light trail images.  Bring your own digital camera, tripod, and trigger release.  Digital cameras with a full manual mode work best, but any camera will do.  Pre-registration is appreciated.  Contact Tyler Flammang with any questions at 712-258-0838 or

Saturday, November 18—Appalachian Trail Adventures  10:00 am.  DPNC.  Tim and Christine Case, age 60-something amateur trail hikers, have recently hiked 2 sections of the Appalachian Trail.  They will share memorable experiences and photos of breathtaking views and discuss why they hiked, how they prepared, and what equipment they carried.  Weather permitting, take your own hike afterwards on the DPNC trails.

Friday, December 1—Snowshoe Hike  6:00-8:00 pm.  DPNC.  Enjoy an evening of hiking by starlight through the hills of DPNC.  If snow amounts are greater than 4 inches, we will strap on a pair of snowshoes and hit the trails, If not, we will still hike and take in the sights and sounds of the loess hills after dark.  Pre-register at 712-238-0838 or email

Saturday, December 9—Winter Fun Day and Artist Open House  10:00 am – 3:00 pm.  DPNC.  Join us for a fun day of winter activities.  We plan to have recycled materials crafts for you to create for holiday gifts; snowshoeing or hiking; and other fun indoor & outdoor activities.  Dress appropriately.  Free!  Area artists will also have their artwork on display and available to purchase.  For more information or to be a vendor, contact us at 712-258-0838,  Limited vendor space is available.

Tuesday, December 12—Nature Tales  10:00 am.  DPNC.  Pre-schoolers, join us with an adult for this special story time about Animal Tracks.  We’ll hike too, weather permitting.  Please pre-register by calling 712-258-0838 or email

Friday, December 15—Retirement Open House for Director Rick Schneider  1:00-4:00 pm.  DPNC.  Rick Schneider is retiring as Conservation Board Director after serving 42 years.  Please attend this open house to greet, thank, and wish him well during his retirement.

Thursday, December 21—Winter Solstice Snowshoe or Hike  3:00 pm.  DPNC.  Take a walk or snowshoe in the woods on the shortest day of the year.  Dress for the weather and in layers.  Call 712-258-0838 to reserve a pair of snowshoes.

Thursday, December 28—Survival Shelters  1:00-3:00 pm.  DPNC.  Ages 10 & up.  Come learn multiple shelter styles and arrangements as well as useful rope and knot combinations.  Dress for the outdoor weather.  Contact Resource Naturalist Tyler Flammang at

Friday, December 29—Fire Starters  1:00-3:00 pm.  DPNC.  Ages 10 & up.  In this thrilling program, you will get the opportunity to try out multiple commercially made and homemade fire starters, using conventional and unconventional ignition methods.  There will be time available to make and take your own fire starters for home and camping.  Pre-registration is required at 712-258-0838 or





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, November 11—Christmas at the Homestead  12:00 – 4:00 pm.  Get into the holiday spirit and take a step back in time by visiting Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve.  Tour the homestead buildings decorated for the Christmas season.  Enjoy refreshments in the visitor center and carolers in the Stavenger Church.  Vendors will also be in the visitor center.  Have fun Christmas shopping while enjoying some homemade goodies and the warmth of the fireplace.  Santa Claus will be in the visitor center all afternoon.  For a free will donation, you may get your picture taken with Santa.



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

Saturday, December 16—Knee High Naturalists  10:00 am.  Hillview Outdoor Learning Center.  $3.00 per child.  “Animals Prepare for Winter”, a program for young children and their caregivers.   Please register by the day before the program.



                                                      LHAS OUTINGS

                                 By Jerry Von Ehwegen

Saturday, 30 September, 2017  Bob & Phyllis N., Rex & Maria R., Anne S., Jan N., and Jerry V., participated in our September outing.  It was a cloudy, cool morning with a temp of 47 degrees and a few spotty showers, but it warmed to the low 70’s later in the day.  We made stops at New Lake, Snyder’s Bend, Sandhill Lake, and Luton Wildlife Area North before lunch at the Subway in Sloan.  After lunch, one car visited Owego and 252nd Street on the way home.

     We recorded a total of 50 species for the day.  Highlights included:  Marsh Wren, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Red-eyed Vireo, Clay-colored Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Peregrine Falcon, and American Golden-plover.  The Peregrine was perched in a dead tree at the SW corner of New Lake, so we drove down for a closer look and it flew real low right in front of us with its powerful Falcon flight towards the east.  The Plover was found at Sandhill Lake and we studied it close by for quite a spell and the consensus was that it was an American Golden-plover.  (Winter plumage birds can be a challenge to ID this time of year).  The entire species listing can be found on the Outings Highlights Page on our web site at  Thanks to all who participated.

Saturday, 14 October 2017  Bob & Phyllis N., Paul R., Bob L., Jan N., and Jerry V., participated in our October outing.  It was a misty morning with a temperature of 52 degrees with calm conditions.  The forecast of rain never materialized and we were able to bird the entire morning and into the afternoon with just a few sprinkles and steady temperatures.  Our first stop was at Graceland Cemetery where we found some good bird activity to search through in the poor light conditions.  We found some good birds including Pine Siskins, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and several Ruby-crowned Kinglets, but no Crossbills that had been located the night before.  On the way to Luton Wildlife Area North as we turned onto the Luton blacktop, we were greeted with a massive flock of blackbirds which included Common Grackles, Red-wings, and Brown-headed Cowbirds.  We were enjoying searching the flock for Rustys and Brewers when a train went roaring by blowing its loud whistle causing the entire flock to lift off and fill the sky with noisy black birds.

     At L.W.A. No. we found several species of sparrows including one LeConte’s After lunch at the Subway in Sloan, our next stop was at Owego where we found several raptors including a Merlin and several Northern Harriers.  There were 2 Sharp-shinned Hawks in a tree at the town site interacting with each other and as we were posing for our group picture one of them zoomed right over our heads in hot pursuit of a frightened Mourning Dove which it just missed grabbing.  The Dove and Sharpie were similar in size and we thought maybe the Sharpie was just having fun or practicing his pursuit skills or trying to get in our picture.  It was a good day for raptors as we found 9 species and multiple numbers for some of them.  Sparrow species were also good.  We rounded out the day with a quick stop at Table Marsh.  Other highlights included Hermit Thrush, Rusty Blackbird, and Brewer’s Blackbird.  We recorded a total of 64 species for the day.  The entire species listing can be found on the Outings Highlight Page of our web site at  Thanks to all who participated.





                                                         BIRD FOOD SALE

     The LHAS Bird Food Sale was a grand success thanks to folks like YOU who plan to keep our local birds healthy and well fed this winter!  THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH!!  Delivery will be sometime the middle of the day on Thursday, November 2 at Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center.  Donna Popp will send out an email the day before or that day with a definite time, so watch for a notice from LHAS.  You are encouraged to come & help unload the seed or just come to pick up your order.  There are several of you who requested delivery & we will contact you that day to set up a delivery time.  Seed will be available to pick up at 7:00 pm that night before the LHAS meeting.  Stay for our program.  We will have a few extra bags of 50# black oil sunflower seeds @ $25.00 & 50# Cardinal Supreme @ $29.00 (our 2 most popular items) available for sale that day.  Thanks again for your support of this fundraiser!




                                           WHAT IS “BIRD FRIENDLY IOWA”?

     “Bird Friendly Iowa” is a statewide bird habitat conservation and educational outreach program created by a partnership of Iowa conservation organizations.  The flagship outreach and action program of Bird Friendly Iowa is called “Bird Friendly City”, similar to the Arbor Day Foundation’s “Tree City USA” program.  Other states have recently initiated programs with “Bird City Wisconsin” being recognized as the national leader.  Bird Friendly Iowa was envisioned by its partners as a program which could promote birds and habitat conservation in a variety of public and private locations across the entire landscape.  Check it out at



Bill Zales, Conservation chair, recommends the purchase of the yearly Duck Stamp.  Buy it at the post office.

Jody Moats was recently honored for distinguished service by South Dakota State Parks.  Congrats, Jody!



                                    MEMBERSHIP PAYMENT PROCEDURE

                                      By Donna Popp

 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. 

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 Jeri Watkins 712-389-6342


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  Vacant


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