FeaturedMurie Audubon General Meeting & Program, 9 February, 2023

Photo: Habitat Hero Awardee, Ellen Schreiner’s garden in Casper, WY

In this presentation on February 9, we learn how to create wildlife-friendly gardens that help combat the loss of open spaces. Learn how to create green corridors that link your wildscape to larger natural areas by providing habitat for wildlife. Jamie Weiss, Habitat Hero Coordinator for Audubon Rockies, will be presenting this program. Along with her B.S. in marine biology and chemistry from University of North Carolina Wilmington, Jamie is a certified interpretive guide through the National Association for Interpretation. Jamie previously worked at Boyd Lake State Park and the Georgia Aquarium as an educational interpreter, raising awareness of conservation.
When not working, she is often leading an active lifestyle trying to keep up with her Border Collie puppy and Golden Retriever. She enjoys hiking, camping, snowboarding, and long-distance running. Jamie will be presenting remotely from Colorado, we will gather at the usual location at
the Izaak Walton Clubhouse to participate. To take part, come to the Murie Audubon free talk on February 9, 2023, at 7 p.m., at the Izaak Walton Clubhouse, at 4205 Fort Caspar Road.

Bruce Walgren

FeaturedMurie Audubon General Meeting & Program, January 12, 2023

The Swift Fox, a tiny, lesser known, but valuable part of the grassland and desert ecosystems of Wyoming, will be the subject of our January 12, 2023 program. Weighing only five pounds on verage, with a black tipped tail, the Swift Fox is the smallest fox species in North America and the smallest member of the canid family. Historically found across western North America, these foxes were thought to occupy the eastern part of Wyoming and can still be found there in small numbers. Like many predators, Swift Fox numbers in the U.S. and Canada saw a dramatic decline about the turn of the 20th century due to anti-predator campaigns and habitat changes. Efforts have been made in recent decades to preserve remaining Swift Fox populations, and their work seems to be paying off. Wildlife officials in Wyoming are beginning to see an increase in Swift Fox populations, with more frequent sightings across the state. In fact, they’ve been expanding their range into higher-elevation areas like Big Piney and Pinedale. Researchers and Wildlife officials are currently using various methods to get an estimate of Swift Fox numbers, as well as some genetics from scat, to get an idea of how many individuals seem to be showing up within a given area. Research ecologists are working to trap and reintroduce Swift Foxes from Wyoming to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana. Foxes were trapped in Natrona County this past summer. Heather O’ Brien, Nongame Mammal Biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department from Casper, will be our guest speaker.

To find out more about this fascinating Fox, come to the Murie Audubon free talk on January 12, 2023, at 7 p.m., at the Izaak Walton Clubhouse, at 4205 Fort Caspar Road. -Bruce Walgren *All Swift Fox photos by Art Van Rensselae

Gray Reef Field Trip

On Saturday, Feb. 11, we will meet at the Game and Fish Parking Lot at 9:00 AM for a field trip to Gray Reef and Alcova, weather permitting. I tried to go to Gray Reef in January, but I got Covid, then the weather was bad, so I hope to have better luck this time.  We should see wintering ducks, and if we are lucky Trumpeter Swans.  After looking at Alcova Dam, we will drive to the marina at Alcova and see what is in the Russian Olives.  There have been lots of Bohemian waxwings and Robins so far this winter in this area.  Call Stacey Scott at 307-262-0055 for more information or to see if we are still going.

Lincoln School First Grade Bird Trip

Every year First Graders at Lincoln Elementary study birds for two quarters in the spring.  At the end of the year, all the first grade classes take a field trip to Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park to see some of the birds they have been learning about.  Birders and Community Naturalists are needed to guide student groups in spotting and identifying birds.  This is a great opportunity to work with young children and introduce them to the fun of birding.

This year’s First Grade Class from Lincoln Elementary field trip to Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park will be on May 25, 2023.  The itinerary for the field trip includes arriving around 10:20 in the morning, about an hour or so of walking and bird identification, a sack lunch, walking over to the playground area and some continued bird identification as the students walk and play.
The students will arrive about 10:20 a.m. After unloading from the buses, the kids will be ready for a bird identification walk.  It would be a wonderful enriching experience for the students if some experienced birders could guide them and help identify various birds.  Please let me know if any of you could spare a couple morning hours to introduce some potential budding birders to the excitement and wonder of spring at Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park.  You can contact me, Laurie Longtine, at ledgerpluscasper@gmail.com.

Habitat Hero – Landscaping for Water Realities on the High Plains

Landscaping for Water Realities on the High Plains

Learn how native plants can help us adapt to a drier future and support pollinators.

Saturday, February 04, 2023
8:00am – 4:00pm Mountain Cheyenne, Wyoming Online Event

Location Details

Clay Pathfinder Building, Rooms 108/109, Laramie County Community College, or Zoom

1400 E College Dr, Cheyenne, 82007, WY

Join Audubon Rockies and Cheyenne-High Plains Audubon Society in-person or virtually for a workshop on adapting gardens and landscaping to be more resilient to the current and future water realities on the High Plains. Climate change is affecting water availability across the western U.S. Rethinking the way we garden and landscape can help us conserve water while also supporting pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. Attend Landscaping for Water Realities on the High Plains to learn from expert speakers about the shortgrass prairie, groundwater, native plants, pollinators, and more! See the full event agenda and learn more about the speakers here. The virtual event will end at 2:30 pm, which is when hands-on activities will begin for in-person attendees.

Cost: $25 for in-person registration, virtual attendance is free
Register here

February 3 is the final day to register.

If you’d like to make an optional donation to support Audubon Rockies’ Habitat Hero events and Cheyenne-High Plains Audubon Society, you can do so here. Be sure to return to this page to complete your registration.

For questions, please contact jamie.weiss@audubon.org.

Native bee on blanketflower
Photo: Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies.

Christmas Bird Count 2022, Saturday December 17

Participate in Casper’s longest-known citizen science project sponsored by the Murie Audubon Society.

All levels of volunteers are welcome as we count species and numbers of birds and report data to a national database.

8 AM – participants meet at the Sonrise room of the Methodist church for pastries, carpooling, and logistics.
5 PM – potluck dinner, merriment, and data compilation.

Meeting Location: First United Methodist Church, 332 East 2nd St, Sonrise Room on the east side of the main church that is entered from under the breezeway between the Asbury Center (on the corner of Beech & Second Streets) and the main church.

For more information or to sign up for an area call Stacey Scott at 262-0055 or Bruce Walgren at 234-7455.

Want more birding confidence?

Murie Audubon and Audubon Rockies are offering free bird identification courses! If you are interested, please contact Zach Hutchinson
at zach.hutchinson@audubon.org to register – walk-ins are also welcome.

Dates: 12/7 Basic Bird ID & 12/14 Raptor ID
Time: 6 – 7:15 PM
Location: Izaak Walton League Lodge
Address: 4205 Fort Caspar Road Casper, WY 82604

Murie Audubon General Meeting & Program, November 10

Joanne Theobald will be our guest speaker on November 10 at 7 PM for her program entitled, “Turkey Vultures: Friend or Foe?” Theobald will share her collection of photographs and videos, as well as information about turkey vulture traits, habits, and folklore. Theobald, formerly director of counselling at Casper College, is a participant in University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Naturalist Program and has been volunteering at Edness Kimball Wilkins Park as well as helping with the Rocky Mountain Amphibian Survey this year. She says, “My real passion is turkey vultures. For the past six years, a group of about forty has roosted in the spruce trees behind my house, and I’ve become obsessed with them. People have many negative misconceptions about them, and I’d like to educate others about these amazing creatures.” Theobald maintains an Instagram page about turkey vultures, @vulturesinmybackyard. If you wish to learn more about Turkey Vultures, come to the Murie Audubon free talk on November 10, 2022, at 7 PM, at the Izaak Walton Clubhouse, at 4205 Fort Caspar Road.
Bruce Walgren

Bates Hole Christmas Bird Count

The weather report for January 1, 2023 is not good.  There is a chance we might have to postpone the count or change how we do it.  We will make the decision in the morning based on what the weather actually is.  If you want to join us, it would be best to talk to us, or be willing to drive to the Two-Bar Ranch and then drive back.  Stacey Scott (307-262-0055) will be owling in the morning so you can call anytime.  Some of the areas don’t have cell service, so I might have to call you back.

The Bates Hole Christmas Bird Count is January 1, 2023.  Meet at Charlie Scott’s house at 7:30 AM and be prepared for walking in the cold.  We will split up into various groups for the morning, meet back at Charlie’s about noon, then go different places in the afternoon.  Because of the way we split up the groups, you can easily go for either half day.  This is one of few actually rural counts in the country, so is different than most counts.  We will have a supper after the count when we compile the results.  Casper is normally windy, cold and generally not very pleasant on January 1.  Bates Hole is usually calm, sunny and very nice.  If there has been a recent snow, the snow will be sitting on top of the grass and sagebrushes and very pretty.  It can be colder than Casper, but the sun and no wind make it much nicer to be outside.  If you want to go owling, or have any questions, please Call Stacey Scott at 307-262-0055 or Charlie Scott at 307-473-2512.  Also, for planning purposes it is nice to know who will show up, but if you wake up and want to get out of the wind just come on out.