New York State
Ornithological Association

For the birders and birds of the Empire State

New York State Ornithological Association
Board Meeting Minutes
February 19, 2005

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 the meeting.

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 than budgeted.

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, and ravens.

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 – No activity.

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.

 Return to the NYSOA Home Page

About Us  |  Banded/Marked_Birds  |  Breeding Bird Atlas  |  Breeding Bird Survey
Calendar  |  Checklists  |  Conservation  |  Field Trips  |  Member Clubs/Organizations
Membership  | NYSARC (Rare_Birds)  |  Publications  |  Rare Bird Alert
Reporting & Listing  |  Waterfowl Count  |  Web Links