The Board of Directors of the New York State Ornithological
Association, Inc. met at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca,
NY on February 19, 2005. The meeting was called to order at 9:52 a.m.
Present were Tim Baird, Brenda Best, Valerie
Freer, Phyllis Jones, Gail Kirch, Berna Lincoln, Andy Mason, Kevin
McGowan, John Ozard, Carena Pooth, and Bill Reeves.
Bob Mauceli, chair of Ad Hoc Governance Committee, arrived during
Summary of Action Items:
1. Approved 2004 Annual Meeting minutes and minutes
of previous board meeting. (Item 1)
2. Approved contracting with Cornell Lab of Ornithology to create
New York eBird and approved Kevin McGowan signing a contract with
Cornell Lab of Ornithology pending Board review and approval of
the contract. (Old Business)
3. Authorized purchase of static cling decals. (New Business)
1. Minutes – Brenda Best
November 2004 Board Meeting Minutes: Andy Mason
made a motion to approve the draft minutes from the November 15,
2004 Board Meeting as written. Bill Reeves seconded. Approved unanimously.
2004 Annual Meeting Minutes: Andy Mason made
a motion to approve the minutes as written. Seconded by Carena Pooth.
Motion was approved unanimously.
2. President’s Report – Kevin McGowan
– Kevin has been hired as the co-editor of the Atlas.
3. Treasurer’s Report – Bill Reeves
– Bill advised that Astoria Federal Savings and Loan would not
change our name on our CD without original paperwork (not a copy).
Bill will contact the lawyer to obtain this. Bill is in the process
of getting a new corporate seal. He has received the signed promissory
note from Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club. Treasurer’s Report dated
December 31, 2004 was distributed. (See Attachment A.) Bill noted
that assets decreased slightly and we had a smaller actual deficit
4. DEC Report – John Ozard – Atlas
now has over 360,000 records. State Wildlife Grants are supporting
several bird-related projects (grassland bird study, boreal birds,
a bird and bat migration study in relation to wind power sites, marsh
bird study). A Comprehensive Bird Monitoring program, a national effort
to coordinate between states on local, regional, and state levels
the various programs in place, will begin soon. There are currently
28 Bird Conservation Areas, with five more ready. Between DEC and
the Parks Department, plan is to designate 20 more over the next two
years. Due to the late freeze, Type E botulism affected more birds
this year, and loons were hit especially hard. DEC continues to monitor
endangered species (Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and Spruce Grouse),
Common Loon migration, Common Terns, and Double-crested Cormorants.
5. Committee Reports
a. Archives – Phyllis Jones – Atlas
papers are starting to be archived.
b. Atlas – Valerie Freer – The
co-editor has been hired and the artists are working. 69.7 species
per block is excellent. Although general fieldwork is done, 124
unvisited blocks and 125 blocks with less than 25 species will be
worked this year. Publication is planned for Fall 2007. Money will
be needed for recognition of volunteers and the regional coordinators.
c. Awards – Andy Mason – Certificates of Appreciation
will be mailed to Alvin Wollin for his service as Region 10 editor,
Seymour Schiff for his service as Region 10 editor, and Vicki Rothman
for hosting a Lark Sparrow in Youngstown. Andy will place an article
in New York Birders to solicit new nominations.
d. Conservation – Andy Mason –
A letter to DEC regarding deer management will be drafted and sent
to Board members for review. Andy will be asking DEC to consider
taking a broader ecological view because deer browsing the understory
affects breeding birds and to look at the impact of lead in deer
carcasses left in the field which is a threat to eagles, vultures,
e. Field Trips – No information regarding
a new committee chair.
f. Finance Committee – Berna Lincoln
– No activity.
g. Membership – Brenda Best – Genesee
Ornithological Association has ceased operation. Theodore Roosevelt
Sanctuary had indicated they wanted to pay dues in 2005, but they
have not been received. Names and addresses of members from Tompkins
and Cortland Counties were given to Lime Hollow Nature Center. 542
dues notices were sent in January with 356 paid to date. We have
one new subscription and 15 new members since the last board meeting,
and we dropped five whose memberships expired last October. A review
of life members was conducted and it was discovered that several
deaths had occurred that we were not aware of. Our current membership
now stands at 644 annual members and 54 life members.
h. Nominating Committee – Tim Baird –
i. NYSARC – Kevin McGowan – 2002
report has been published. Willie D’Anna’s term has
expired and he has declined reappointment at this time. Kevin asks
for suggestions and may need two names if Gerard Philips resigns
due to his move to Canada.
j. Publications – Tim Baird and Kevin
for Shai Mitra – Shai reports the next two issues of The
Kingbird are under control. Shai would like to publish Christmas
Bird Count results in the June issue. There is a concern with the
number of pages, whether stapling and folding will be compromised,
and with the cost. It is also questioned whether National Audubon
owns the data. Kevin will advise Shai of our concerns. Tim advises
he’s investigated accepting ads for New York Birders, but
has not received a formal request yet. He also reports two objections
to Max Wheat’s poem in the January 2005 issue and he will
be more discerning regarding political items in the future.
k. Web site – Carena Pooth – The
full set of NYSARC reports is up except for the recent 2002 report.
The online NYSARC report form has seen 40 submissions in four months,
25 of which included photos. In March the old domain name will expire,
and Carena will renew it for one more year at a cost of $8.95.
6. Old Business
eBird – Brian Sullivan and Steve Kelling
of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology gave a presentation to the Board
illustrating how an eBird clone, to be called New York eBird,
could be developed. Summary of points presented:
a. Observers are identified by their email address,
but NYSOA can require real full name. There is no fee to participate.
b. Historic data can be entered. Lab is working on ability to
import Excel files.
c. A county “layer” already exists. “Search
by county” and a Kingbird Region “layer” can
be provided at no extra cost. Geographic information for Kingbird
regions would have to be supplied to the Lab. Note that some counties
are split between Kingbird Regions.
d. Filters will be implemented for each region, which are dynamic
and can be adjusted. Filters will alert users when they report
an unusual species. Regional editors will have input on the species
checklist, unusual species (general or seasonal) to be flagged,
and high count thresholds for their regions.
e. Regional Editors would have to advise what fields they would
require on eBird.
f. Each record is reviewed and unusual records would be flagged.
Regional editors can perform this function as well as lab personnel.
It would be possible to ask for a NYSARC report when the observer
confirms a flagged species.
g. The Lab can set up a tutorial for the Regional Editors. Regional
Editors will not be required to use New York eBird.
h. The New York eBird page banner would include the NYSOA logo
and Audubon NY logo. NYSOA would control and maintain the content
the New York eBird front page with input from Audubon NY for timely
links and stories.
i. Audubon New York is interested in this eBird project and would
use it for their Important Bird Area program. They are trying
to secure a grant for the $9,000 up-front cost. Steve Kelling
indicated the Lab would waive this cost for NYSOA should Audubon
NY fail to secure it.
j. Annual maintenance cost is $900 and would be split 50/50 with
Audubon New York. Bill Reeves stated $900 is only about 5% of
our budget and believes we can afford this expense should we have
to assume the entire cost.
k. NYSOA would need to promote eBird through our publications,
web site, and programs at local clubs.
l. New York eBird could be “live” in 6-8 weeks, depending
on when checklists and filters are in place. The key dependency
is that NYSOA and the Regional Editors must provide the checklist
information and the necessary level of detail in their requirements
to the Lab.
All the Regional Editors, Shai Mitra, Bob Spahn, and
Carena Pooth are integral to this project. There is a contract,
outlining the Lab’s responsibilities and NYSOA’s responsibilities
as well as fees, which would have to be signed. Bill Reeves made
a motion to contract with Cornell Lab of Ornithology to create New
York eBird. Seconded by Brenda Best. Further discussion indicated
we accept the $900 annual maintenance cost should New York Audubon
fail to pay their half. Motion was approved unanimously. Gail Kirch
made a motion to authorize Kevin McGowan to sign a contract with
Cornell Lab of Ornithology to create New York eBird after review
and approval of the contract by the Board. This was seconded by
Andy Mason and approved unanimously.
Change in governance – Bob Mauceli, chair
of the Ad Hoc Governance Committee, presented the committee’s
report. Various options were investigated, and the recommendation
is to change to individual member governance transitioned over 2-3
years and eliminate club-oriented governance. The committee also
recommends we initiate a research program to determine individual
member demographics, values, and expectations and an aggressive
marketing program. Kevin asked that a list of benefits and problems
be provided for the “individual only” option. Generally,
Board members felt that member club voting should not be eliminated.
We would also need to investigate the state laws that apply to our
type of organization as well as the required changes to our by-laws.
Bob requested a list of individual members residing in zip code
14xxx be provided to him. Next year’s dues notices can include
a survey of individual members.
7. New Business
Decals – Brenda presented price quotes
for adhesive window stickers and static cling decals from two vendors.
The decal will have the same Eastern Kingbird logo as previous decal,
will read NYS Ornithological Association, and will be blue similar
to the blue cover of The Kingbird instead of yellow. Berna made
a motion to purchase 500 static cling decals at a price of $274.20.
Seconded by Tim Baird. Approved unanimously.
Introductory Membership Rate – A request
from the New York State Bluebird Society for a reduced, introductory
membership rate was discussed. The Board declined, noting that our
current membership rate does not fully cover the cost of providing
four Kingbirds and four New York Birders per year
per member. Brenda will advise the Bluebird Society of this decision.
Use of Credit Cards for Dues – The Board
decided we would not accept credit cards for dues payments.
2006 Annual Meeting – Andy asked how
the Board felt about the 2006 meeting being held in November instead
of September. He advises there is a 40% drop in rates for the off-season.
Andy will get specific rates and advise the Board.
Our next Board meeting will be held at Nuthatch Hollow
Nature Center in Vestal on April 16.
Tim Baird made a motion to adjourn, which was seconded
by Bill Reeves. Approved unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.