From Our Treasurer: Supporting LCAS—Reasons to Give

My travels this summer took me to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology near Ithaca, New York, where I was able to bird in renowned Sapsucker Woods near the lab. I also took a behind-the-scenes tour of the research facility itself, technically known as the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity. The center houses classrooms, a DNA sequencing lab, and a library containing the world’s largest collection of recorded natural sounds, including the songs, sounds, and calls of more than 5,600 species of birds!

Scientists at the lab not only conduct some of the most cutting-edge research on birds and their habitats but also teach students and others about the threats that birds and other wildlife face in response to climate change and environmental destruction taking place throughout the world.

Conservation Column: Helping Migratory and Native Birds

The bad news first. The conservation group BirdLife International’s latest report found that 40 percent of the world’s 11,000 bird species are in decline. The good news is that many people are seeking to protect nature in a myriad of ways. They develop conservation programs to protect ecosystems and for various specific species. Some of this is done in the field, some through communication with policy makers, and some in the courts. It’s easy, but deceptive and disempowering, to think that we as individuals can’t make a difference. One of the most important things we can do now is to vote and let our representatives know that we value laws that protect species and habitats. Protective laws can work: 70 percent of the birds listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have populations that are now stable, increasing, or have recovered enough to be delisted.

Some of the many other things we can do as individuals to make a difference are listed below.

Program Meeting, Tuesday, November 27 -- Bogoslof: The Island of Fire and Ice

Ram Papish will explore changes in Bogoslof, a very actively volcanic Alaskan island north of the Aleutian Island chain in the Bering Sea ecosystem. Ram will present data on seabirds and seals from Bogoslof Island and the Pribilof Islands. The colonies are going in opposite directions. Wildlife thrives on Bogoslof, even as the same species decline over most of the Bering Sea. The presentation will include photographs from both islands as well as scientific information about the area’s wildlife. He has spent about 10 summers on Alaskan Islands assisting in seabird and seal research, and will share stories about camp life in these remote, seldom-visited areas. Other research locales in his past have included French Frigate Shoals, Laguna Atascosa NWR, Panama, Hawaii, and several more.

Date: 
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 7:30pm
Location: 
Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High St., Eugene

Save the Date: December 14 -- Pollinator Primer: Your Tiny Neighbors and the Plants They Love

We co-sponsor a program each December with Eugene Natural History Society. This year Bruce Newhouse will share information about pollinators that will help us nurture them.

Did you ever wonder about all those flying and crawling critters on your flowers? Do you know how to tell a bee from a fly? Do you know that some flies are good pollinators? Do you know how to plant a garden that will be the best possible place for pollinators?

Date: 
Friday, December 14, 2018 - 7:30pm
Location: 
TBA

Bird Bits

Teamwork

Bird couples may work together to decrease predation at their nest. In a behavior called “coordinated misdirection,” both adults will initially fly toward their nest but one will veer off while the other goes directly to the nest. Scientists believe that nest predators are distracted by the bird in flight. This means it’s less likely that the predator will discover the nest entrance itself. The behavior has been shown in at least 28 species of passerine birds, across 5 distinct families.

Eric R. Gulson-Castillo, Harold F. Greeney, and Benjamin G. Freeman (2018) Coordinated misdirection: a probable anti-nest predation behavior widespread in Neotropical birds. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology In Press

Evaluating Expected Outcomes 

In a clever set of experiments, birds in the parrot family learned that they could exchange a token for food. Later, they were given a choice between a token or a piece of food. 

Special Volunteer Opportunity: Audubon in the Schools!

We are very excited to have a newly expanded team working on the Audubon in the Schools program now! Kathy Wilson, Barb Pope, Rose Britton, Marty Merrill, Janet Barnes, and Sue Markley have been organizing the lesson plans, specimens, and supplies while gearing up to offer AITS sessions for the 2018-2019 school year. One teacher has already contacted them and is on the schedule! We still have room for more folks to join this rewarding volunteer effort. If you have an interest in education, care about the children in our community, and want to share your enthusiasm for birds and art, please get in touch! Call Maeve at 541.485.2473, or if you are a teacher wanting to schedule a class session, email Barb Pope at aitsbirds@gmail.com.

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