Meeting Minutes April 16 2013

Attendees: Meena Haribel, Robyn Bailey, Jody Enck, and Candace Cornell

Welcome

Two new members, Robyn Bailey and Jody Enck, were welcomed to the committee. Jody asked for a clarification of the CAC’s mission and how we see ourselves being most effective.

Fishing-Line and Trash Impacts

Renwick Wildlands Clean-Up went very well. Trash load was low, although it’s always highest around water and wetlands. There’s still a sailboat sunk off the boat house in Stewart Park.

As expected, there is a modest problem with discarded fishing line at three popular fishing spots along the inlet. We did not find any along the Renwick Wildlands side of the waterway, although we did find a pile of plastic netting and removed it.

Follow-up action: Candace will call municipal park supervisors and discuss fishing line removal and the placement of recycling containers. Discussion to be continued at our next meeting.

CBC should participate in more clean-ups sponsored by other communities in the area.

Robyn reported a fishing line collection box in Dick’s Sporting Goods store. Candace will see if Wal-Mart has one. 

Cornell’s Gates Building

Candace made inquires regarding the mirrored-glassed Gates building in terms of bird safety. This is of particular concern because of its proximity to the lights of both Hoyt and Schoellkopf athletic fields. 

The question of bird-safety standards never came up during the planning and permitting process. It’s the third recent building on the CU campus to use mostly glass, including the Milstein Hall (architecture), PSB (physical science building), and Gates Hall, none of which followed bird-safe practices. PSB does use tinted glass, but that only helps in the day.

Follow-up action: The CAC will draft a letter to CU to encourage the campus to start using bird-safe designs. Jody will contact a friend at CU, Eric Gray, to find out the appropriate recipient. Discussion to be continued at our next meeting.

Candace sent a list of the current available examples of bird-safe design standards and municipal requirements to the head planners, Susan Ritter and Joanne Cornish, at the Town and City of Ithaca, encouraging them to consider bird-safety if this trend of glass buildings on the campuses continues.

Follow-up action: Candace will draft a letter to the project manager of the Gates Building, John Keefe, discussing bird-safety measures and requesting that modified lighting schedules be put in effect during peak migration dates in the fall and spring. Examples of bird-safe lighting schedules will be included in the letter. We will edit the letter at our next meeting.

Cat vs. Birds

The group discussed the recent article Meena posted on euthanasia of feral cats. Robyn discussed her experience with the Tompkins County SPCA when she attempted to turn in a feral cat. Our local SPCA runs a catch-neuter-and release program. We need to find out where the cat colony is and where the cats are released. Do we want to work with the SPCA on a Cats Indoor program? Discussion tabled until Linda Orkin can be present. 

Osprey Platforms , Bluebird Trails , and Bluebird Houses

Robyn described her efforts to place an osprey platform at Salt Point. The project went smoothly until the town realized the platform was at the site of the annual fireworks display. Robyn will propose two alternate sites and will work with Steve Colt (Town of Lansing) to settle the issue. The CAC is supporting her efforts.

Candace questioned whether the municipal bluebird trails, established over a decade ago, are still functioning. Bluebird trails and the osprey platforms help educate the public about birds as well as helping individual birds. The new Town of Lansing park is a prime location for a series of nest boxes. The Town of Ithaca’s South Hill Trail had a bluebird trail established by the late Dick Fisher, but its upkeep was brought into question.

Follow-up action: Robyn will ask if the Town of Lansing would be amenable to having us put up nesting boxes. A variety of species can be targeted in addition to bluebirds. 

Candace will call the municipalities to see if there are any functioning trails left. Discussion of more trails to be continued at next meeting.

Hunting, Decoys , and Negative Vibes

We discussed the perennial hunting concerns that arise during the birding year. We discussed the idea of Jody being a hunting liaison for the club to help resolve concerns of the membership during the birding year. 

Outreach

Topics for pamphlets could include:
• 10 ways humans impact birds from CBC newsletter
• Window hazards for birds.
• Indoor cat campaign
• Fishing-line Hazards
• Snags, Bird houses, Bluebird Trails, Grasslands (habitats needed for birds)

Discussion tabled until Linda Orkin can be present.

NEXT MEETING: May 14, 7 pm.