As late spring and summer arrive, Celebrate Nature is on my calendar. This time of year I want to hang out in my garden and keep ears and eyes open for birds, butterflies, and any other life forms that present themselves. I do, of course, work in the garden and the exercise is good for me, plus we benefit from the fruits and veggies of our labor. I do hit “pause” whenever something new makes itself known to me, so I take breaks from the labor at regular intervals. Obviously the bird life is one of my great joys, but other animals are also unique and amazing in their own ways.
Springtime brings birdsong and baby birds and feelings of exuberance. There was uplifting news this month out of Midway Island when it was announced that Wisdom, the world’s oldest Laysan Albatross on record and a symbol of hope for many people, has hatched yet another egg—likely her 40th baby! Her new chick is named Kukini, after the Hawaiian word for messenger.
GABON, straddling the equator on the western coast of Africa, is part of the Congo Rainforest Biome. With some 80% of the nation covered in forest, Gabon was thrust into an enviable position in African conservation when in 2002 president Bongo inaugurated 13 national parks.
ODFW and the City of Eugene are seeking volunteers to assist with breeding-bird surveys and grassland-bird monitoring on restoration projects south of Fern Ridge Reservoir, specifically along Nielson and Cantrell Roads. Ideal volunteers should have significant bird identification experience, both by sight and call, with grassland birds, waterfowl, and other associated species found in the Willamette Valley. We also want general observations by birders to provide usage information about the sites.
Links to information and maps of the monitoring sites are on the LCAS website: www.laneaudubon.org/node/556.
Surveys will begin in April and continue through June. If you’re interested, please contact Chris Vogel at 541.935.2591 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Call soon to get on the schedule!
by Cheron Ferland, Wildlife Biologist, US Forest Service
It was several years ago that I first heard about a particular wildlife conflict—one which I assumed occurred infrequently. I saw a photo of a Saw-whet Owl standing in the bottom of a recreation toilet—yep, down in the nasty slurry. By recreation toilet, I mean the ones that you find in national forest and national park trailheads and campgrounds. Somehow that owl was rescued from the unsavory environment. I have retrieved many distressed raptors in my day, but thankfully have never had to execute that type of retrieval. At the time, my impression of the situation was that it was probably very unusual and unlikely. Then I heard about a Barn Owl showing up in another recreation toilet, and a duck in another. And then I read an article called Bird Death Pipes by California Audubon that documented the deaths of 200 birds that were found in one 6” wide x 10’ tall pipe! LCAS President Maeve Sowles highlighted this very issue in her From Our President column in the April 2012 issue of The Quail.
So as I thought about it more, I realized that wildlife—not just birds, but also reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals—view hollow pipes as potential nesting sites or sources of refuge. They are often curious or seeking shelter or nest sites, and once they enter an open pipe, it is often impossible for them to get out.
Lane County Audubon Society is an all-volunteer organization, and our members are very proud of the energy and diverse talents that volunteers bring to our cause—we couldn’t do it without them. Volunteering with LCAS is a great way to meet new people, give back to the community, and—best of all—have fun! For more information, contact Maeve Sowles at 541.343.8664 or president (at) laneaudubon.org.