CONTENTS:  Events & Programs From the Editor A Word From The President, Laurie Nessel Notes & Announcements National Audubon Sate Director, Sam Campana    •  National Audubon Board Meeting  • Attention: Arizona Employees! •  Photo Quiz AZ Special Species - Rufous-Winged Sparrow Birding for DragonfliesScience without Humanity: The Mt. Graham Telescope Project Classified Ad •   Field Trips  • Field Observations •  Photo Quiz Answers  • Dues Share Christmas Bird Count Schedule 

Short-tailed Hawk photographed by  Jim Burns in the Chiricahua Mountains, AZ, August, 2002 with Canon EOS 1V body, Canon 400 mm f/2.3 lens and Fujichrome Velvia film.



Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month, September-April, at the Phoenix Zoo Auditorium.  Meetings start at 7:30, and feature a speaker, book sales, refreshments, and a chance to socialize with fellow MAS members.  Non-members welcome!

Join us for a pre-meeting dinner at Pete's 19th Tee, 1405 N Mill Avenue, Tempe (at the Rolling Hills Golf Course) starting at 6:00 p.m.  Except for the September meeting which will be our annual potluck starting at 6:30.  Each attendee is invited to bring a platter of his or her favorite h'ors de oeuvres, sufficiently large enough to serve at least six people.  We'll provide the eating utensils, the plates, and the drinks, bring a friend and enjoy swapping birding stories.  The regular meeting will begin at 7:30. Meals average about $5.00 with a variety of choices on the menu.  Join us!

November 5:  Kevin McCoughlin from Adventure Camera in PA—Belize and Central America. Raised as a naturalist, Kevin Loughlin developed a life-long fascination with photography and birding at an early age.  He became hooked on Belize during his first visit and, with his Belizean partner, has become an expert in Central America birding.  Kevin is active in environmental tourism.  His company promotes community service in Belize, teaches photography and birding workshops.  Come and learn about these wonderful places and birds!  (

December 3: 
Southwest Forest Alliance (SWFA) focuses on public education/awareness and protection of old growth forests in Arizona and New Mexico.  Seeking to protect and restore public lands through scientific research, they also help forest-dependent communities become self-sustaining.  Their slide show covers threats to remaining old growth forests and the need to preserve these special places.  Please join us to show your support of this important conservation issue.  ( 

January 7, 03: 
Doug Alexander — Antarctica.  A 34-year Arizona resident from California, Doug Alexander is an avid student of nature photography.  His diverse interests (member of the Arizona Native Plant Society, the Arizona Herpetological Society) show in his love of the Sonoran Desert.  This evening, Doug broadens our horizons by taking us on a trip to the white continent.  Come and enjoy this exceptional program!

February 4:  Mike Rupp “Birds of the Salt River – Gillespie Dam to Coon Bluff”.  The owner of Rupp Aerial Photography, Inc., Mike Rupp successfully combines vocational and life interests.  His documentary-style video presentation contains superb footage of birds and assorted creatures along this stretch of the Salt River.  Having flown and birded around the Phoenix area for twenty years, Mike has just published “The Birdseye Guide to 101 Birding Sites, Phoenix”.  This book is currently available directly through Rupp Aerial (602-277-0439), at the Wild Bird Center in north Scottsdale, and at the Phoenix and Mesa locations of Wide World of Maps.  Additional outlets will be available in the future.  Mike has graciously agreed to have copies of this book for sale and will do a book signing for those interested.  (, select Birding Guide on the home page.)

March 4:  Jim Burns “El Canelo Ranch, Texas.  Jim Burns, MAS writer/photographer, highlights
 his partnership in the 2002 Valley Land Fund Photo Contest with Monica and Ray Burdette, owners of El Canelo Ranch, north of Raymondville, Texas.  The ranch is known in the birding world for the Ferruginous Pygmy-owls nesting in the yard at the inn.  Jim is a regular contributor to the Wren-dition through the Photo Quiz and articles on Arizona’s Special Species.

April  1: 
Peter Moulton “Beyond Birds – Dragons and Damsels in Arizona”  We’ve all seen them – those creatures with gossamer wings, hovering and zipping about, sometimes found in a shrike’s beak!  Join us for a glimpse into the world of dragons and damsels (dragonflies and damselflies) and you will be amazed at their attitudes, habits and colors.  Trained as a biologist, MAS member Pete Moulton has been an avid birder and naturalist for over 30 years.  He has a life-long interest in photography, and became fascinated with photographing these diminutive animals that share many habitats with the birds we all enjoy seeing.  Think they’re always around water?  Are they territorial?  Join us for an engaging evening among Arizona’s dragons and damsels.

May 6, 2003:  Dan Fischer “Early Southwest Ornithologists – On The Trail Of Pioneering Birders”.  MAS is very pleased to have Dan Fischer as the guest speaker for our annual banquet.  Dan has traveled the southwest for over fifty years, photographing birds and exploring our diverse environments.  Dan and his wife live in a stone house in the Chiricahua Mountains in southeast Arizona, which he says isn’t as warm or as cool as you would think it should be!  He will be talking about his recent book, which reveals the regions’ avian diversity as he traces 100 ornithologists from 1528 to 1900.  As Col. Thomas Henry wrote in 1853, there “are to be found many curious birds, peculiar to the country.”  Copies of the book will be available for sale and Dan has graciously agreed to do a book signing for those who are interested.  Please plan to attend our last event until next fall.  (for more information on the book, visit  and type Dan Fischer in the search bar.)

Speakers wanted:  If you have ideas for speakers, or if you would like to make a presentation yourself, please contact Cynthia Donald, Program Chair, at (602) 791-5157 or 
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  Committees/ Support

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By Deva Burns

Activist Alert: 
Shawn Bauer 
Arizona Audubon 
Council Rep:

Herb Fibel 
Audubon Phone
Book Store
Richard & Karen Kaiser
Field Observations
Janet Witzeman
Web Page
Michell Fulton
Maricopa Audubon Web Site 


Bequests are an important source of support for the Maricopa Audubon Society.  Your chapter has dedicated itself to the protection of natural world through public education and advocacy for the wiser use and preservation of our land, water, air and other irreplaceable natural resources.

You can invest in the future of our natural world by making a bequest in your will to the Maricopa Audubon Society .  Talk to your attorney for more information on how this can be accomplished.

The overall tone of this newsletter is one of need.  A need for members that will get involved in writing letters, a need for members that will make donations to help the chapter survive, and a need for members that will actively participate in projects such as the Christmas Bird Count.  The Wren-dition has always tried to provide you, the members, with information.  In this issue Laurie has provided contact information about Hassayampa, the Environmental Fund has provided information on how to get employers donations to help Maricopa Audubon Society, and Walter Thurber has put together this year's CBC information.  Now you, the members, need to help Maricopa Audubon Society--get involved!

This final issue of the year is the time to say thank you.  Thanks to all of you who have sent in articles.  Whether once or many times, your contributions are greatly appreciated.  I will not take up ink and paper to list everyone, but from the bottom of my heart--THANKS!

By the way--if you are not able to attend the National meeting in December, fill out the proxy that is included in this issue and send it to Herb.  (If you don't like to tear up your Wren-dition, make a copy and send it!).




Cool evenings and double digit days are ushering us into the season that verifies our sanity for living in the desert. The general elections are recently behind us and hopefully your candidates have prevailed. Our supreme wish is for substantial snowpack  in the mountains this winter to recharge our reservoirs and ground water and raise the moisture level of our forests to avert another catastrophic wildfire season next year. But we also must face the potential for continued drought. The SRP announced that it will cut 1/3 of it’s water delivery to valley cities in 2003. The SRP reduced water allocations briefly in 1991. The last time it was reduced for a full  year was in 1951. Local municipalities are forced to compensate by more groundwater pumping, augmented CAP deliveries and actually conserving water. Unbelievably, most cities are assuring their customers that prices will be contained by drawing on water contingency funds or savings elsewhere, which discourages voluntary conservation efforts.

What happens if we do get snow this and consecutive winters? Will we return to our complacent habit of unhindered growth in both our desert and forests? As Charles Babbitt pointed out in the last issue, environmentalists are not the cause of catastrophic fires. Decades of fire suppression, logging, and grazing coupled with an extended drought and high temperatures are what caused the largest forest fire in Arizona’s history. Gauged by the fire perimeter, 468,000 acres burned.  The mosaic pattern of the fire path, however,  left untouched acreage that provides habitat for wildlife and a baseline for recovery. Arizona Game and Fish reports that wildlife fared relatively well in Rodeo/Chediski. It is development in the forests and   poor management that turned anatural, healthy event into a crisis. Building in the forest is arisky venture just as building ina flood plain or entering the

  wilderness on foot. We can ask if it is the responsibility of the government to subsidize forest development by spending millions of dollars clearing the wildland-urban interface (WUI) of fuel loads, especially if that burden is borne by publicly owned old growth. Even without “catastrophic” fires like  Rodeo/Chediski, creeping sub-urbanization will require more resources to fight fires  that heretofore would have better served the forest health by being allowed to burn themselves out

Congress is trying to pass legislation to "fix" this problem. But the burden of protecting the WUI is threatening to come at the expense of the last 5% of fire resistant old growth trees. Bush’s Healthy Forests Initiative would open up 10 million acres of national forests to commercial logging without any oversight. It would eliminate environmental analysis, public comment, and administrative appeal. Both plans disguise destructive timber harvesting as salvage logging, fuel reduction and forest restoration.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration announced Sept. 20th  that it would provide $752 million in emergency aid for livestock producers in the west and elsewhere. This subsidy serves to perpetuate an already heavily subsidized, marginal industry in the arid west. Dry lands grazing is arguably more destructive than productive in the best of years. It leaves a legacy of introduced grasses crowding out natives, trampled riparian habitat,  endangered and candidate species such as the Southwest Willow Flycatcher and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and soil erosion so egregious that some liken it to mining. 

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Now more than ever we need your contributions to maintain the programs that make the Maricopa Audubon the unique organization that appeals to you.
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Another pressing issue is the state of our local chapter. With dues share from National Audubon being incrementally phased out, it is more critical than ever that we continue to lend our support both financially and by volunteering. We have a small but dedicated group of volunteers working on securing prizes to entice all you  Birdathon ’03 participants. More help is always welcome. We need people to obtain prizes and donations. Or you can join or lead a birdathon team and solicit monetary pledges. Contact me about this. But I hope that the lure of prizes is not the only reason you participate. Now more than ever we need your contributions to maintain the programs that make Maricopa Audubon the unique organization that appeals to you. Your donations support out-of-town program speakers, monthly meetings, free field trips, bookstore capital, subsidized banquets, Audubon Adventures for our school children, conservation efforts and this newsletter that informs you of our many field trips, bird sightings and conservation. Last years birdathon raised $1,200, with $1,000 coming from an anonymous donor. Aside from this anonymous donation, Sharon Arnold and Alison Grinder were the top contributors, raising a total of $200.00, but fell short of the $300.00 required to win the stained glass hummingbird. Sharon and Alison received custom bead necklaces for their efforts. The stained glass prize will be rolled over to Birdathon ’03, to the individual or team that raises the most money over $300.00. Check out our website, , to see a picture of it.

In other news, The Nature Conservancy's intent to sell 35 of its 333 acre Hassayampa Preserve to the Desert Caballeros Western Museum of Wickenburg was uncovered by preserve volunteers. It was TNC's desire to keep the

 story under wraps. It is part of an organization wide effort to offset management expenses and concentrate on watershed protection by partnering with entities that agree to conservation easements. Whether relegating the gateway to the preserve to a living history museum is compatible with TNC's mission, to preserve natural communities that represent the diversity of life on earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive, remains to be seen. The endangered Southwest Willow Flycatcher nests on the land in question, as have Red-shouldered Hawks, only the second confirmed breeding record in the state. The Nature Conservancy has extended a comment period beyond the original Oct. 4th deadline after hearing vociferous protests from birders and preserve advocates during a meeting with preserve director, Mike Rigney ( , The Hassayampa Preserve, 49614 Hwy. 60, Wickenburg 85390, 928-684-2772, fax 2773), TNC's State Director, Pat Graham, (, 333 E.Virginia Ave. Suite 216, Phoenix, AZ 85004, 602-712-0048 x 18) and Desert Caballeros Western Museum Executive Director Michael Ettema, on Saturday, Sept.28th. An open house is planned at the preserve for mid- to late November to address our concerns and provide a status report on the negotiations. Before then, I urge you to contact Messrs. Rigney, Graham as well as TNC's headquarters (The Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203-1606,, (800) 628-6860), especially if you are a TNC member.

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Last updated: December 1, 2002
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