There are many reasons to love birding. It keeps your mind and senses active. Listening, observing, then trying to decide what bird you are watching are great exercises for the brain. It creates learning challenges for the visual, the sounds, and the memory of birds you know, to come up with a bird’s identification.
There is also a sense of anticipation and excitement in a day of birding. One is always looking for a new or unusual sighting that gives birding the feeling of a treasure hunt. At times there are surprising discoveries! One year on the Eugene Christmas Bird Count, Dave Bontrager identified a rare Falcated Duck on a pond near Coburg. It was a cold, wet, windy day but he persisted in watching this bird riding the whitecaps on the pond, until he was certain of its identity. Way to go Dave!
Bird watching also takes us out of our own headspace and into the world of the birds. Observing their behaviors and feeding strategies, watching them bathe and preen as they interact with each other, delighting in their lovely feathers and songs; all these offer us yet another aspect of the birding adventure.
I want to express my gratitude for many levels of support Lane County Audubon Society (LCAS) receives from our members and volunteers. Every November we send our annual donation request to support our education, conservation, and outreach programs. Our members always respond generously to this request, and we are deeply grateful for the continued support of many people. Lane Audubon thanks you, members, for your financial support!
First, I think I can speak for the entire LCAS membership in expressing our condolences to everyone impacted by the recent wildfires. Our condolences also go out to all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, 2020 has been a tough year for everyone.
LCAS wants to make things a little easier during these trying times by continuing to offer events that we hope redirect your mind and soul to the comforts of nature. We began offering live, virtual program meetings in September and will continue to do so throughout the fall and winter until conditions around the pandemic improve. (See Live on Zoom November Program meeting.)
John Marzluff will present a Zoom meeting entitled “Of Ravens, Wolves and People.” LCAS and the Eugene Natural History Society are cosponsoring this program.
Attached are links to items published recently in Science about intelligence in crows and other birds. The more we get to know about the intelligence of crows and ravens, in particular, the more fascinating these dark birds become. The research might interest you. The research reported on in the items isn’t by Marzluff.
Janet Jernberg passed away at home September 29th. She was number 97 in our membership database, meaning she joined Lane Audubon when it was first formed, in the mid-1970s.
Janet hosted The Quail mailing crew nine times a year in her home, where the group would gather to put mailing labels on the newsletters.
Since the mid-1980s, the mailing group has worked diligently, dependably, and without fanfare. That’s more than 35 years! They have truly enjoyed gathering together for this job. Over the years, different people participated, and each one was a valued member. While applying labels, they also celebrated birthdays, holidays, and bird sightings, and shared cakes, cookies, and snacks!
Janet included her great-niece, Star, and great-nephew, Dominik, in these gatherings, since she did after-school care for him. More recently they have lived with her to help out as her health declined, and they help with The Quail mailings each month.
The National Audubon Society’s colorful and engaging educational program for elementary-age youngsters offers both printed and online materials. They are available in a variety of formats and subjects suitable for classroom groups, libraries, afterschool clubs, science and nature camps, and homeschoolers, as well as families with students in grades 3-5. If you are interested in having the printed materials for your home-schooling or classroom children, Lane Audubon can purchase the kits for school classrooms and homeschool groups.
When I was a young girl, we had a big Modesto Ash tree in our front yard. I loved to climb that tree and sit up in its canopy as high as possible. I would watch the world go by—cars, bikes, walkers, cats, birds, insects, all while feeling safe and invisible to the rest of the world. If I had a bad day at school, or wanted to get away from my big brothers, I would climb that tree and disappear. My mother liked to recount that one day after school, I came home, put down my things, and ran out to climb the tree. She did not know why, but she knew what the action signified. I needed time alone. While I was in the tree, a boy from school came over and rang the doorbell. Mom answered the door and said she did not know where I was, but he could call me later. She did not reveal my secret location. I watched as he walked away. I don’t remember what had upset me that day, but I do remember that my mother had my back, and that the tree was also my protector.
Friday, September 4th was the first of two “Welcome Back the Swifts” events Lane County Audubon Society sponsored in September. Approximately 85 gathered, families and groups of friends, along with some dogs, to watch the biannual spectacle of the Vaux’s Swifts entering the chimney at Agate Hall. A Cooper’s Hawk swooped up to the chimney around 7:55, quickly grabbed a swift, and flew away. It took about 15 minutes for the 7,420 Vaux’s Swifts to enter the chimney.
Our last Program Meeting was in late February and our last face-to-face Board Meeting was in early March. Since then, we have suspended our normal scheduled activities. I often think about our many volunteers and members who attend these Lane Audubon functions, people I only see at that time. Now months have passed and I feel the loss of normal contacts, hugs, smiles, and bird sightings that we would normally share when we see each other. I hope each of you is doing what you can to stay safe and healthy!