Bat and owl presentation at next Weminuche Audubon meeting

By Jean Zirnhelt
Special to The SUN
The monthly meeting of the Weminuche Audubon Society will take place on Wednesday, March 18, at the Community Methodist Church on Lewis Street. Socializing and setup begins at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
An update of chapter activities at 6 p.m. will be followed by a program presented by Jordan McMahon.
After completing his master of science degree in biology at Mississippi State University in 2018, McMahon began work as a wildlife biologist for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Canon City, where he is currently employed. At the BLM, he has focused on implementing a comprehensive monitoring program for bats across the Front Range in anticipation of white-nose syndrome, as well as various monitoring projects with other species of concern such as lynx, Mexican spotted owls and other raptor species.
White-nose syndrome has decimated many colony-forming bat populations since its arrival on the East Coast in the late 2000s. Unfortunately, many scientists think that it will spread to Colorado and across the rest of the U.S., although it has yet to be detected in our state. Because of this threat, the BLM’s Royal Gorge Field Office in Canon City has decided to implement a monitoring project to obtain baseline population estimates for bat species in our state, which will be used to assess future changes in populations and better manage habitats and populations of concern.
Included in McMahon’s talk will be details of a study to characterize habitat variables of the Mexican spotted owl, a species listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1993.
Weminuche Audubon will be participating in two citizen science monitoring projects this summer. We will be continuing our monitoring project of forest bird populations in areas treated for fire mitigation and joining in the expansion of a study of American dipper nesting.
If you are interested in information or in volunteering for either of these studies, please contact us at weminuche.audubon@gmail.com.
Audubon meetings are free and open to the public. In appreciation for our meeting space, we ask that you bring a donation of nonperishable food for the Methodist Church food bank.

This story was posted on March 15, 2020.