From Our President: An Abundance of Gratitude

The ending of this year and beginning of a new year make me think of gratitude.

I find it important for my sanity to remember the many ways I need to be thankful for my existence, and to appreciate the many people for whom I am grateful. Obviously family and friends top my list, but many others whom I’ve met through Lane Audubon also enrich my life. 2018 will be the 18th year I’ve served as president of this group. It has become an identity, as well as a passion that fills me with purpose. I am also grateful for the many members who have either become friends or with whom we share a sense of familiarity and common ground. This interconnectedness gives us a shared space within which we can communicate and feel accepted.

Gratitude deepens and energizes relationships.

Conservation Column: Be Alert to Drongo Tactics in Congress

Drongos are short-legged birds who literally speak with forked tongues, as do many passerines. They are good mimics. Birds mimic for many reasons, but the drongo can use this ability for tactical deceit. When they see a meerkat carrying food, the drongos loudly mimic a meerkat alarm call. This causes the duped individual to drop their food and run for cover. Guess who gets the food?

Similarly, some people in Congress are giving an alarm call about forest practices and wildfire danger. Proponents of HR 2936 and SB 1731 claim that these new laws would make our forests healthier. What seems more likely is that they will provide benefits to timber companies without protecting the forests. The ironically named “Resilient Forest Act” just passed in the House. The Senate version, “The Forest Management Improvement Act”, has been introduced and may soon be up for a vote. Some troubling aspects of the bills are that they exempt forest projects from review and from the protection of environmental laws, such as the Endangered Species Act and NEPA, the National Environmental Protection Act. For example, the Forest Service would no longer need to consult with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service experts to determine if a project would harm a protected species, and they would no longer need to do an environmental review to determine what the impacts of their project would be.

Hummingbird Highways

Hummingbird Highways: Why Landscape Connections Matter to Pollination in the Tropics
Matthew Betts, an OSU Professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society, will tell us why. His research interests have included: the influences of landscape structure on demography of animal populations, animal dispersals, and ecological thresholds. This talk, cosponsored by LCAS and the Eugene Natural History Society, will be held in Room 100, Willamette Hall, UO Campus.

Date: 
Friday, December 8, 2017 - 7:30pm
Location: 
100 Willamette Hall, UO Campus

2017 Eugene Christmas Bird Count Approaches

Count Coordinator
Dick Lamster is the Count Coordinator and he will work with NAS on the administrative tasks of the count. He will also coordinate with the Team Leaders, handle publicity, co-write the post-count narrative, and assign new participants to teams. If you want to participate this year or change teams, call or email Dick. Otherwise, call your Team Leader from last year (although he or she might be calling you soon).

Birds
Dan Gleason is retiring as the Species Coordinator, and Vjera Thompson will be taking over those tasks. She will accept the bird checklists from the Team Leaders at the end of the count, hopefully at the chili feed. She will review rare and unusual bird sightings and then submit all the results to NAS. Vjera will also work with Dick to prepare the post-count narrative.

Home Counters
If you cannot participate on a count team but would like to count the birds that visit your yard, please call Herb Wisner at 541-344-3634. Herb is in charge of the Home Counters and will assist you in recording the birds you see and including them in the official count.

Date: 
Sunday, December 31, 2017 - 8:00am

Other Lane County CBCs

Three this year! Feel free to join any or all of them. Florence, Oakridge, Cottage Grove

Florence CBC

Saturday, December 16

The Florence Christmas Bird Count has had a long history as a significant count area. The count circle includes both inland and coastal areas, covering very diverse habitats which attract and support a correspondingly wide-ranging species of birds. Since each area is covered by teams, participants at every level of birding experience can all be valuable contributors. Many eyes see more birds!

Morning Meeting: None. Packets will be sent out a couple weeks before the count, so people can head straight to their areas on count day.

Program Meeting: Tuesday, January 23, 2018--Fernhill Wetlands Restoration Project

In 2014-15 Clean Water Services (CWS) implemented a massive habitat restoration project within the Fernhill Wetlands in the Portland Metro region. Joe Liebezeit, Avian Conservation Program Manager for Portland Audubon, will detail the restoration that transformed 90 acres of unused sewage ponds into a complex native wetlands habitat designed to treat wastewater. Fernhill Wetlands has historically been an important Portland-area birding location. Designated as an Important Bird Area, it provides ecological connectivity for local wildlife. The Audubon Society of Portland (ASOP) has been working with CWS since spring 2015 to assess bird response to the habitat restoration effort. This community science effort has involved local birders, using formal bird surveys designed and conducted by ASOP, and analysis of historical birder surveys conducted at the site for decades. General predictions were that use of the restored area by bird species dependent on open water would diminish, while use by uncommon/vulnerable marsh species (e.g. rails, bitterns) and other species dependent on native wetland habitats would increase. Joe will tell us how that is working out.

Date: 
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 7:30pm
Location: 
Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High St

Thank you

To Bryan Ribelin for providing his artwork for our “Thank You” post cards. His line drawing of a Killdeer provides a lovely artistic image that we will use as an acknowledgement for our member donations.

To Dick Lamster, who presented a bird box talk at the BOGS (Birds of Oregon and General Science) group on November 2. Sixty-three people attended! Dick also presented a backyard bird talk to the Junction City Garden Club on November 7.

To the Darkhorse Band from Salem Oregon (facebook.com/Darkhorsesalem/?fref=mentions), who organized a fundraiser with profits targeted to wildfire relief for animals affected during the summer fire season. Darkhorse, along with Viking Braggot Company (drinkviking.com), raised $308 dollars during a Eugene concert on October 21st. Lane Audubon is matching the donation and dividing the gift between Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis and Cascades Raptor Center, both of whom receive injured animals from our Lane County area. We also want to thank our volunteers who attended the event, Hilary Dearborn and Rachael Friese.

To Jim and Charlotte Maloney, who have been organizing the Third Saturday bird walks since summer of 2013. We want to thank Jim and Charlotte for their time and effort planning and organizing the bird walks, welcoming people in attendance, teaching and helping attendees, and creating a fun, enjoyable experience for all. While they still plan to participate, they are ready to pass on the organizational responsibilities. They recently recruited a new volunteer to head this event, Rebecca Waterman, who has been enjoying the walks for several years. We are happy to welcome and also thank Rebecca for taking on the fun challenge of the Third Saturday bird walks. We look forward to working with you!

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