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Held January 28-30 at Dayton

The 2005 winter meeting of the TOS was held January 28, 29 and 30 in Dayton, TN. Members from across the state and guest turned out in impressive numbers despite weather predictions of rain, freezing rain, and snow. Attendance at all the scheduled events was outstanding with total attendance for the weekend topping 60.

The weekend meeting was the result of a cooperative effort by the Bristol, Chattanooga, Knoxville chapters. Special thanks go to our field trip leaders, Wallace Coffey, Daniel Moss, and Charlie Muise.

A cold dreary rain failed to dampen the spirits of the Saturday morning field trip participants who visited Yuchi and Hiawassee WMAs. Click here for a compilation of the birds seen on all the field trips.

The gazebo at Yuchi was a good spot
to see American Pipits.
(click images to enlarge)

The finance committee held an early afternoon meeting that was very popular. At one point there were 32 people participating in the meeting. We are very grateful to Ron Hoff and the members of the finance committee for allowing us to ask questions and offer opinions. At the end of the session the committee was planning to make recommendations on a budget to be presented to the membership at the spring meeting in Memphis.

Later Saturday afternoon Mike Roedel, TWRA State Ornithologist, and Charlie Muise, TOS Conservation Committee Chair, made a presentation on a bird-monitoring plan for Tennessee. The program will involve gathering precise data on species of concern to aid in the development of conservation plans. Charlie and Mike will be taking the program on the road soon so watch for them at your local chapter meetings!

A group of hungry birders filled the Heartland Grill banquet room for dinner. Good food and good company are hard to beat after a day birding.

40 birders flocked to the Heartland Grill for dinner.
A National Geographic field guide was given to Charlie Parker of Bristol for being the youngest birder attending (that would not drool on the pages).

The evening started with a presentation from Geoff Dixon of Operation Migration. Geoff told an interesting saga of the process that is required to hand raise and then train whooping cranes to migrate while not allowing them to become imprinted on humans. It was an impressive story and the process has yielded impressive results. There are now 47 whooping cranes in the eastern flock that have made the trek from the breeding grounds in Wisconsin to the wintering grounds in Florida. Whooper 107, which made its first trip three years ago, has spent this winter season at Hiawassee. The bird was seen on both days by our field trip participants.

Following the operation migration presentation, Mike Roedel introduced Richard Kirk, TWRA State Non-Game Coordinator. Richard started our round table discussion by explaining the conservation planning process required by federal regulations. The presentation included historical perspectives on wildlife and the current status of many species of concern. TWRA's local conservation planning is derived from larger regional plans which are derived from planning on the continental scale. Among other topics discussed were TWRA's position on TVA divestment of its public land and TVA's plans for mountain top mining in Royal Blue WMA. The folks from TWRA were available for more than two hours of conversation about plans to save and restore habitat, raise funds, and gather meaningful data on the current status of wildlife.

TWRA Non-Game folks answered questions to wrap up the day's events.
Sunday field trip participants pose in from of the hotel's welcome sign.

A group photo was taken Sunday morning before the field trips left the motel. Unfortunately several folks had already left when the photo was taken. Sunday field trips were drier than Saturday’s, but not much warmer while the skies remained overcast.

Photos and text contributed by Dan and Laurie Mooney.

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