As most of you know, the chimney of Agate Hall on the University of Oregon campus is an ecologically significant migratory stopover for tens of thousands of Vaux’s Swifts during the spring and fall months. During last year’s fall migration, over 45,000 birds were counted entering the chimney. The number is not a total of the birds that might have used it, because counts were done only weekly and sporadically. (If we had volunteers to do daily counts, the numbers would be far higher.) Agate Hall is included on the Vaux’s Happening website as one of the most active Vaux’s Swift roost sites. (See www.vauxhappening.org/Vauxs_Happening_Home.html for more information.)
Would you like to help hummingbirds? Would you like to be a citizen scientist and contribute to a national database? Then the National Audubon Society’s Hummingbirds at Home program is for you. This project was launched in April 2013 to help uncover how hummingbirds are affected by climate change. Using a mobile-optimized web portal and smartphone apps, people from across the US can report their sightings and observations of hummingbird feeding behavior. The data will guide Audubon researchers in devising actions to help hummingbirds thrive despite climate change and other threats.
The 72nd Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) took place on Sunday, December 29, 2013, when 139 enthusiastic bird-watchers went looking for birds. Another 99 reported birds seen at their homes to Herb Wisner, Feeder Watcher Coordinator. Birders in the field and those at home recorded a combined total of 133 species, which is the average number of species seen on the past six ECBCs.
A Cooper’s Hawk regularly visits the bird-feeder area on our property in the southwest hills of Eugene. The raised bird feeders are in a deer-fenced 20' x 20' space filled with plants and flowers and surrounded by trees. In our effort to provide suitable habitat for songbirds, we have attracted the resident predator of birds.
Each fall, I anticipate the arrival of the first White-throated Sparrow at our feeder. We usually see only one or two individuals that stay from November to March or April. Then they leave, presumably to fly north to find breeding territory along the west coast or interior of Canada—or as the biologists say, to achieve their biological potential. When the sparrows arrive for the winter, I always wonder where they have been since last spring. Did they find a mate and adequate habitat to breed successfully? Why do we never see more of them? Are they the same birds that appeared last year at the feeder? Always mysteries without answers.