From Our President: 2020 Has Been a Year Like No Other!

Due to the pandemic, we have learned enlightening essential practices to secure our families and ourselves from an infection affecting the human population of the earth. Precautions to ensure protection from disease have become daily rituals, changing our lives dramatically. This situation has also raised awareness of our basic needs for safe food supplies, safe water, and safe spaces for shelter. And it has also shown us the fragility of having safe and productive ways to make a living.

All of these are the same essentials we strive to protect for the birds and wildlife who share the earth with us. Usually humans feel they are above or apart from these necessities, since many of us are buffered from the precarious edge of survival. Unfortunately, this is not true for all people.

Recently we have seen the violent side of human nature on stark display. This is an aspect of our humanity that I cannot fathom. Humans are all related – we share the DNA, the human history, the earth. Each of us has the same biological and daily needs, and together we could recreate a safe earth for all. Why are compassion and empathy such elusive principles?

We need to find the resolve to be better at supplying essential needs for ourselves and each other. We need to stop and learn from our huge ongoing mistakes. Drop the prehistoric sub-brain ego responses, and use our hearts to feel the flow of compassion toward all living things. We can do better together in focusing on our mutual needs. 

Can we learn from this stressful time and actually make our lives and communities healthier, more holistic and more productive for everyone? It is time for humans to lift themselves to fulfill their potential for caring, empathy, and compassion. Please, let us use our big brains to imagine this into our new reality and make choices that bring us forward to a better future together. This goal needs to become more than a dream and more than rhetoric. Humans have great capacity for adaptation.

Let’s make it work for the common good of all people and the earth. My deepest wish is that we reach a time of peace and wellness for us all.

Conservation Column: Anti-poaching Campaign

Lane County Audubon Society has joined a diverse group of stakeholders to fight poaching and illegal harm to wildlife in Oregon. This campaign is a collaboration among conservationists, recreationists, hunters, and landowners. We and other wildlife organizations (including Portland Audubon) believe this to be an opportunity to help protect non-game wildlife.

Stakeholder meetings include representatives from the legislature, Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Hunters Association, and Defenders of Wildlife among others. Recently passed legislation authorized the Oregon Department of Justice, State Police, and Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to work together to fight poaching. New legislation increased fines and restitutions for fish and wildlife crimes. Funding was made available to support the Stop Poaching campaign. 

Numerous illegal bird-killing reports over the years have included Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks and other raptors, swans, crows, and Red-winged Blackbirds.

Book Review: "This Land – How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West"

--by Jim Maloney 

This capsule book review concerns a new book by Christopher Ketcham entitled “This Land – How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West.” It’s a non-fiction book set in the West but with a broader scope. 

The book concerns the exploitation of Western lands by livestock grazers, loggers, mining and fracking companies, and by the corporations that become rich by enabling them. It is an Ed Abbey-take-no-prisoners indictment of not only Cliven and Amon Bundy, the Mormon/Utah public lands grab, and the ultimate entitlement-demanding cattle grazers, loggers, and fossil fuel exploiters. It also manages to include the collusion, manipulation, control, and corporate direction of so-called “public agencies” like Wildlife Services, the BLM, the Forest Service, and other government “protection” agencies under Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump. 

Third Saturday Bird Walks

In May, a small group of birders met for a Saturday Bird Walk, the first since February. We will continue to hold small walks, with some restrictions in place in order to adhere to local guidelines. (At this writing, the June walk had not yet taken place.) We will keep attendance very small—no more than 10 birders, and will not be announcing the location publicly.

Date: 
Saturday, July 18, 2020 - 8:00am
Location: 
TBA

What Will Our Fall and Winter Program Meetings Look Like?

For many years, Lane County Audubon Society (LCAS) has put on monthly program meetings with very good speakers and interesting programs. Sandy Poinsett sets up chairs, Joyce Baker brings treats, and Ron Renchler greets each guest. Dick Lamster and Maeve Sowles make sure everything is ready. This team wants to continue bringing you enjoyable and educational meetings.

Date: 
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 7:00pm
Location: 
TBA

William Sullivan on New Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades

Although we had to cancel William Sullivan's April presentation on “New Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” for the Lane County Audubon Society, here’s a happy twist: the Deschutes Public Library has posted the same program online, and here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBbBJMoQyJY&feature=youtu.be

The focus of the presentation is on the need for social distancing to avoid overcrowding as trails reopen. Bill also talks about the upcoming permit system, fire damage, and newly built trails. We have rescheduled a live presentation for the Lane County Audubon Society next year, February 23, 2021.

Date: 
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 7:00pm
Location: 
TBD

Armchair Birding

By Ron Renchler

Although we all may wish otherwise, it’s quite possible that the statewide stay-at-home order issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic will still be in effect by the time you receive this issue of The Quail. The pandemic has all of us in an unfamiliar spot—staying at home as much as possible and keeping a distance of at least six feet between friends and strangers alike. Although bird watching, especially backyard birding, is still possible as an outdoor activity, we are all probably spending more time indoors than we’d like. 

But indoor time is great for armchair birding, especially given all the helpful online resources made possible by current technologies. If you have access to a mobile phone or computer and wi-fi, you can use some of your indoor time to explore and learn more about our fine feathered friends.

Lane County Audubon’s website has a Resources tab (laneaudubon.org/resources) where you can start your adventure. This page has links on a variety of topics, including Field Notes (monthly, going back to 2001), Christmas Bird Count Reports (annually, also going back to 2001), Vaux’s Swift Information, Birding Eugene (links to several birding locations in our area), Mt. Pisgah Arboretum Bird List, LCAS Informational Handouts (handouts produced by LCAS over the years), and Web Links.  (cont.)

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