North America’s woodpeckers play keystone roles in our continent’s forests and woodlands. In fact, nowhere else on earth are woodpeckers such important contributors to forest ecology. Join local naturalist and woodpecker specialist Steve Shunk for an exciting journey into the lives and habits of North America’s woodpeckers. He will take listeners inside the woodpecker anatomy and translate anatomical adaptation into the fascinating behaviors birders love to watch. Prepare to be entertained, educated, and inspired to become ambassadors for woodpecker and woodland conservation.
Steve Shunk started birding in the San Francisco Bay area in 1989. He moved to central Oregon’s “Woodpecker Wonderland” in 1997, where 11 woodpecker species breed annually.
Award-winning photographer Paul Bannick will present a new program featuring video, sound, stories from the field, and several dozen new images from his brand-new book Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls. Paul uses intimate yet dramatic images to follow owls through the course of one year and in their distinct habitats.
The arrival of September means back to school for some, planning for fall activities, and refocusing energies after the summer fun. I invite you to start here. Read through this newsletter, look on our website (laneaudubon.org), and check out our Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Lane-County-AudubonSociety/330177413824?ref=hl) to see what we are all about. We offer so many opportunities to get involved, and hopefully enjoy yourself at the same time!
Looking through the pages of The Quail, you will notice that Lane Audubon members are involved in a variety of activities with varying levels of responsibility and expertise. Audubon, as a group, includes many types of people. Our functions bring beginning and expert birders together. Through participation in community events we find ways to share our interest in birds and nature. And we also present educational programs and talks at schools and for other community groups.
I wish more people talked to animals. Communing with nature has been shown to improve both our mental health and physical well being. I wish more people listened to nature. Paying attention to wild animals is a window to both the endless wonders of nature and to the quality of the job we are doing at protecting it. With so many birds and other wildlife in such steep decline, it is a thundering wake-up call to change business as usual. A connection with nature helps us all to appreciate long-term values rather than just concentrating on short-term profits.
In a fascinating example of cooperation between free-living wild animals and human animals, the African Greater Honeyguide cooperates with people to find bee nests and share the spoils. The birds guide people to the location of a bee nest (hence the name) and the people secure the nest. They then share the food without competition; the birds are wax eaters and the people are honey eaters. This mutual cooperation requires two-way communication. Honeyguides call in a particular way to get people’s attention and then guide them to the food source by flitting from tree to tree. A study by Spottiswoode et al. published this summer explored the human side of the conversation. Scientists found that a special vocal call made by Mozambican honey-hunters notably increased the probability of mutualistic success.
“Go Wild for Birds” is the theme of the Audubon Adventures classroom materials set for the 2016/2017 school year. This award-winning environmental educational program introduces students to the fundamental principles by which the natural world functions. Interest is stimulated and reinforced through a combination of fascinating printed newsletters and exciting online components.
Next time you shop online at amazon.com, first go to smile.amazon.com, search for and select Lane County Audubon Society as your chosen nonprofit, and then make your purchase. By doing so, 0.5 percent of the amount of your Amazon purchases will automatically be deposited in LCAS’s checking account each quarter at no additional cost to you.
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.