April and springtime are a welcome change from our intense winter weather. Nature and the outdoors beckon with spring plant growth and the arrival of migrating birds. Each morning I open the upstairs window and breathe in the fresh air. I take stock of the weather, watch and listen to the birds for a few minutes, and assess the new day. Connecting with nature is a necessity for my mental and physical health.
Join us to welcome back the Vaux's Swifts at Agate Hall chimney this Saturday April 22nd at sunset!!
A few birds have been sighted, so we want to check it our ourselves.
We expect the Vaux’s swifts to arrive with a warm wind from the south sometime between early April and early May. The timing of the migration has varied recently, with the birds coming through earlier. This makes it hard for humans to know when to have a party to celebrate their arrival!
We will be monitoring the reports from the chimneys south of us and watching the skies to see when the birds ride in on the wind.
For up-to-date reports, tune into the Lane Audubon Facebook page, check our web site, or call the Lane Audubon phone at 541.485.2473.
Vaux’s Happening website for more information about Vaux’s Swifts: vauxhappening.org/Vauxs_Happening_Home.html
We are happy to announce that the newly revised Birds of Lane County Checklist has just been printed. Copies will now be available at our program meetings and other LCAS events, as well as at Wild Birds Unlimited.
Many thanks to co-authors Alan Contreras and Vjera Thompson, with contributions from Tye Jeske, Sean Burns, and Tom Mickel. Lane County Audubon Society and Wild Birds Unlimited covered the costs of the publication.
Pins commemorating the 75th Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) are available free to all participants in any of the past ECBCs, including field counters and home counters. To pick up your free pin, come to one of the LCAS monthly program meetings on April 25th or May 23rd. If you cannot attend one, please let Dick Lamster know, via email or snail mail. Include your name and mailing address, so he can send a pin to you.
Contact him at: P.O. Box 5086, Eugene, OR 97405, or email@example.com
ECBC History Compilation
The 75-year history of the Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) is now available on the LCAS website for downloading.
Over the past few winter months, my husband and I have hosted two males and one female Anna’s Hummingbirds at our property. This is the fifth year we have had them consistently all winter. We live at a 1,000-foot elevation, so tend to have cooler temperatures than the valley floor. Many Willamette Valley folks have been hosting over-wintering Anna’s here for more than a decade. It has become normal to see these birds during the winter months. Through the cold, harsh ice storm (we were without power for 5 days) with its snow and sub-freezing nights, we tried to keep the sugar water feeders thawed for them. My husband would get out early to change out the warm feeders for the birds, having brought them in for the night. We even rigged up heat lamps and extension cords to keep them thawed during the day. Feeding wild birds is a big commitment!
A woman from the Coos Bay area called the Lane Audubon phone to report she has been hosting about 40 Anna’s Hummingbirds since the fall. They stay until early spring and then move on, probably heading north and east into the interior of the state. She said it was more typical for her to have seven or eight birds, so 40 was a new record for her!
In light of recent moves to roll back environmental protections, the American Bird Conservancy is circulating a petition entitled Together for the Birds. The group encourages everyone who cares about birds to sign this petition. It asks the new Administration and Congress to protect conservation priorities that protect wildlife and the environment we share with them.
Lane County Audubon Society was in the midst of the action again this year at the Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show, which ran from Friday, January 20, to Sunday, January 22, at the Lane County Fairgrounds. A steady stream of people from all over Lane County visited the LCAS booth to share their birding experiences and ask questions about avian life in our area.
LCAS is fortunate to have a dedicated crew of booth volunteers who enjoy sharing their enthusiasm for birds and their habitats. Because the Good Earth Show draws a crowd with similar enthusiasms, this has become our premiere booth event each year.
Thanks to everyone at the booth: Flo Alvergue, Connie Berglund, Judy Brown, Theresa Burnett, Hilary Dearborn, Margot Fetz, Barb Foreman, Dolly Marshall, Dianne McInnes, Sally O’Donnell, Nancy Radius, Bruce Stermer, Caryn Stoess, Dave Stone, Janie Thomas, Vjera Thompson, Joyce Trawle, and Susanne Twight-Alexander.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Yurok Tribe are considering release of California Condors in northern California. Support the reintroduction of the California Condor to Oregon and urge policy makers to provide full protection for this endangered but recovering species. It would be a thrill to see these magnificent, intelligent, and social birds soaring in Oregon once again but if we are going to invite them back, we must take steps to ensure that they are not poisoned when consuming carcasses and gut-piles left by hunters using lead ammunition.
Please send comments to the link below by Feb 28 (Click on "Read More")
Winter is not the greatest time to find and watch birds, thanks to cold, inclement weather. But it is a great time to read and learn about birds! Here are some book recommendations shared by other nature lovers. Finding an interesting bird book to expand our knowledge and interest in nature will be easy this year. Hope you enjoy the flights of mental imagery on the pages of some of these books!
Steve Gordon’s recommendation: “I just read a really nice little book, The Path by Chet Raymo (Walker & Co., 2003). It makes me remember the amazing wonder I felt as a child for small parts of my yard and the fields nearby.” The author teaches astronomy and physics at Stonehill College in Massachusetts. His daily walks to and from work take him about one mile, including a stretch through a park. He ties the history of the universe and his town in with observations of stars, birds, plants, photosynthesis, and more. He has a good eye, ear, and mind. Through his story, he tells us of his feelings and knowledge of “place” at both a minute and universal scale.
Jim Maloney recommends The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman (Penguin Press, 2016). A New York Times bestseller, this book is not pretty prose about our favorite feathered friends. It succinctly summarizes studies of bird intelligence by informing us not only of the facts but also the history of the research and observations of the wonderful world of bird ingenuity.
Many Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) birders awoke Sunday morning, January 1, 2017, to a half inch of snow and cold weather. This was predicted but somewhat unexpected since many were outside three days before in short sleeve shirts and no jacket. Such is the life of Christmas Bird Count (CBC) participants all over North America.
Even with the poor weather and lousy driving conditions, 130 hardy bird watchers gathered with the 27 Team Leaders and took to the field to see all the birds possible within their designated areas. Combined, the teams walked 142 miles in 158 hours and drove 522 miles in 98 hours. Six teams went owling for 10 hours and covered 31 miles.
Another 111 people decided to be Home Counters, and they reported 75 species. When these figures were added to the results of the field teams, a total of 131 species and 73,390 individual birds were seen this year. An additional 10 species were seen during Count Week. Check Dan Gleason’s report on the Christmas Bird Count page for the complete species list and total numbers of birds.