November 2021 Meeting Minutes

Cayuga Bird Club
Monthly Zoom Meeting
November 8, 2021

Attendees: 62

Presentation by Dr. Karan Odom, Ph.D.
Listening to Nature’s Divas: What Female Songsters Have to Tell Us

Meeting Portion

Next Month's Webinar:
Monday, December 13, 2021
Jay Falk, University of Washington Seattle
Females that Look Like Males: Unraveling a Hummingbird Mystery

Upcoming Field Trips (registration required):
Nov 14 (Sun): South End of the Lake (Josh Snodgrass)
8am-11am, meet at Cass Park children’s garden
Dec 4-5 (Sat-Sun): overnight to Conowingo Dam, MD
Congregation of Bald Eagles
Participants must be vaccinated
Contact Carl Steckler by Nov 26th
Dec 12 (Sun): Short-Eared Owls (Josh Snodgrass)
1pm-6pm, meet at Taughannock

Field Trip Reports:

Sun, Oct 17, Bob McGuire: Monkey Run, Game Farm

Seen: Carolina Wrens, Ruby Crowned Kinglets, Turkey Vultures, Ruffed Grouse

Sun, Oct 31, Bob McGuire: Up and around the lake

Seen: Marsh Wren, Scaup, Common Loons, Blue-headed Vireo, Ducks, Sandhill Cranes

Sun, Nov 7, Loon Watch at Taughannock Point (Suan Yong):

27 humans attended. Seen: 40 Loons flying over, Peregrine Falcon flew over head, Ring-billed Gull eating crayfish

Beginner Bird Walks:
Every Saturday, 8:30am-10:00am, Cornell Lab Visitor Center
Next year hopefully Sundays will resume
Two weeks ago, for Cornell Family Weekend, 200 people signed up for walk;
6 leaders stepped up to help lead;
with bad weather only about 20 people attended.

Spring Field Ornithology 2022:
Tentative dates set: Thursdays, March 31 - May 19 (8 weeks), 7:00pm-9:00pm
Stay tuned for more information and mark your calendar!
Looking for volunteer to record videos

Binocular donation proposal:

Laura Stenzler presented proposal to donate Four Binoculars to Indigenous Land Guardians in Yukon, Canada. This was in response to a suggestion by Jeff Wells, Audubon VP of Boreal Conservation, who presented at our May 2021 webinar about initiatives to have the indigenous people in Canada monitor birds and protect the boreal forests that serve as breeding grounds for many of the birds we see.

Laura contacted Vortex, who offered 50% discount on four Vortex Diamondback 8x42 binoculars and waived shipping, with a total cost of $540.

Donna Scott moved that we spend the money, Bob McGuire seconded the motion.

Motion was passed with a unanimous vote.

Proposal: Two Amendments to the club's Bylaws.
Procedurally: today, proposals are presented and discussed.
December 1: final proposal published in newsletter.
December 13 meeting: member vote to approve or reject.

Proposed Bylaw Amendment 1 (Budget Date).

Current text:

The Treasurer, in coordination with the President, will prepare an annual budget. The budget will provide an estimate of annual revenues from all sources as well as all project and operating expenses anticipated during the next fiscal year starting September 1st. The budget will be reviewed by the Executive Committee and presented with recommendations to the membership at the September meeting. The membership will vote to approve or disapprove the budget at the October annual meeting.

Proposed change to italicized portion:

The budget will be reviewed by the Executive Committee (by the September meeting)and presented with recommendations to the membership in the club’s newsletter. The membership will vote to approve or disapprove the budget at the following meeting.

Rationale: with the club's fiscal year beginning September 1, the current approval date in the October meeting means there is a 1+ month window from September 1 through the second Monday in October, during which the club is not authorized to spend any money. The proposed wording change eliminates explicit mention of dates, giving the treasurer flexibility to prepare the budget either in the spring, or in late summer to have the budget approved in September, about one week after the start of the fiscal year.

Discussion: it was suggested that the amendment should still specify a deadline of September for budget approval.

Action Item: Suan will adjust the wording to include a September deadline.

Proposed Bylaw Amendment 2 (Paying Members)

Current Text:

No Officer, Director, or member of the corporation may receive any pecuniary profit from its operations or upon its dissolution, except compensation for expenses incurred for services rendered in effecting one or more of its purposes.

Proposed Change:

No Officer, Director, or member of the corporation may receive any pecuniary profit from its operations or upon its dissolution, except reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred or payment for services rendered in effecting one or more of its purposes.

Rationale: this came up because the clause above prevented the club from paying Steve Kress for the Spring Ornithology course, if he were a member. The club's solution was to simply ask Steve not to join the club. The fact that this loophole could work around the problem highlights an inconsistency in the current text.

The proposed change allows the club to reimburse members for expenses or pay members for services. This wording was deemed acceptable by a non-profit lawyer we consulted. The key point is that, as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, no one may profit from the club; but they may be paid a fair rate for services.

The original clause may also have been intended to address conflict of interest. An extensive and detailed conflict of interest section was added somewhat recently to the bylaws to address this concern more explicitly, using language from NYSOA. The gist of the conflict of interest section is that any officer or director with a conflict of interest must declare it, and recuse themselves from the decision-making process related to that issue.

Discussion: Kevin McGowan asked for clarity on the meaning of "profit". Diane Morton clarified from our discussion with the non-profit lawyer that paying a percentage of intake would be profit, but paying a set fee, possibly based on number of students, would be ok. Kevin then asked what exactly should be a fair price to pay Steve, and how do we figure that out? Suan said that this is discussed by the executive committee and included in the annual budget, or could be presented as a separate expenditure for member vote. Suan also clarified that the current bylaw amendment is simply about whether we can pay Steve, with the question of how much to pay him being a separate matter. Ton Schat suggested establishing a policy statement or guidelines on how to determine a fair price to pay. A number of members suggested looking at how much Cornell pays its instructors.

Bob McGuire suggested that the issue be taken up by the Executive Committee for further discussion.

Conservation Action Committee:

In the interest of time, Jody Enck suggested that people read the newsletter for recent activity by the CAC. People are encouraged to contact Jody if they want to help.

Motus Detections:

In late summer, our Motus tower at Myers Park was upgraded with a new life-tag antenna. Since then, we've had four nano-tag detections:

9-16-2021 - Swainson’s Thrush
9-30-2021 - Swainson’s Thrush
10-5-2021 - Tennessee Warbler
10-9-2021 - Swainson’s Thrush

All of these were released near Montreal, Quebec. One of them was later detected in Maryland and South Carolina. Another was detected in Virginia. The other two have not been detected since departing Myers. Many towers are not connected to the internet, so data must be manually uploaded, sometimes after a great delay, so downstream detections may not be registered until much later.

Kevin remarked on how great it is that the club is involved in this ground-breaking work in furthering our understanding of bird migration.

Floor open: no further discussion brought up.

Chat time.