April showers are on my wish list this year. As I write this in early March, we are in a dry spell and are well below our normal rain and snowfall amounts in western Oregon. I will perform a rain dance if it will help bring us rain. At our property, spring began in February this year. A young satsuma pear tree was in full bloom before the end of February. Pollinators were out looking for flower nectar, but most were left wandering and wondering where their food was during the untimely warm days. Bats were out looking for food earlier than I’ve seen them before too. Many of the spring birds arrived at our property early—Turkey Vultures, Tree Swallows, Violet-green Swallows, and Rufous Hummingbirds.
Over the past year, sales of Dick Weeks’s book, 52 Small Birds, have resulted in almost $1,000 that he has donated to LCAS!
The book is a memoir of an eight-year quest to photograph and paint the 52 breeding warblers of the United States, and Richard’s beautiful artwork appears throughout the story. According to the author, “This narrative relates how the process of searching for, photographing, and painting birds enhanced and deepened my connection to the natural world.” Published in cooperation with LCAS, 52 Small Birds sells for $22 plus $2 shipping. It’s also available at LCAS monthly meetings for $20. All profits go to LCAS.
If you have not yet seen Dick’s work, visit www.rweeksart.com
John Cooney, who was a vocal presence for the environment in our community, passed away last November. His radio show, John Cooney’s Natural World, aired on KLCC for 15 years and provided audio glimpses of the natural areas that surround us. His style was distinctive, reverent, informative, and poetic. He gave us a unique perspective and educated us while entertaining us with his radio shows. He will be missed.
John’s wife, Angela Andre, has donated John’s bird books to Lane Audubon. The collection includes 93 books, with topics ranging from hummingbirds, warblers, seabirds, and birds of North America to birds of the world. The donation also includes a collection of the Life Histories of North American birds, including 18 bird groups.
Apparently, John could never pass up a bird book. Angela said that he had planned to be involved with our group when he retired.
Audubon in the Schools (AITS) is starting up after a year’s hiatus. We are pleased to have Caryn Stoess as the new Program Coordinator! She is learning the details from program founder and braintrust Kris Kirkeby. Longtime volunteers Kathy Wilson and Bonnie Henderson are returning as instructors, providing valuable continuity to the program. All of these dedicated folks are training new volunteer instructors so they can offer classes this spring. Over the past 10 years, nearly 10,000 students have benefited from AITS, learning drawing and observation skills combined with bird biology. The program uses a teaching collection of bird skins, bones, feathers, and nests, which is permitted and legal under the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Board and our members truly want this program to succeed.
Ron Renchler, LCAS Outreach Coordinator 541.345.0834 christyandron (at) qwest.net
Lane County Audubon’s great group of friendly booth volunteers were on hand to greet and talk with several hundred visitors during the 10th Annual Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show, held on January 23–25 at the Lane County Fairgrounds.
This month, I’d like to pass along some news from the Lane County Audubon Society Board:
The 73rd Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) took place on Sunday, December 28, with 146 enthusiastic bird-watchers contributing their time and expertise in the field. From their sightings, combined with those of 90 Feeder Watchers, we recorded 133 species (plus one during Count Week) and 120,698 individual birds. The average numbers for the past 10 years are 134 species and 89,223 individual birds.
Noah Strycker, Eugene-Creswell native and self-proclaimed bird nerd, is devoting the entire year of 2015 to an international birding adventure. He is traveling light, carrying just a small backpack, binoculars, and a spotting scope, and will visit all seven continents with the goal of seeing 5,000 species of birds. He will eventually write a book about his adventures. You can travel vicariously with Noah by following his blog (hosted by National Audubon) at:
Noah is an engaging speaker and writer; his books are must-reads for bird lovers. He brings intellect, humor, creativity, curiosity, and a deep love of nature to every project he undertakes.
Photo credit: Corey Arnold
Each year at the Lane Audubon volunteer recognition party, as many as 80 attendees crowd the Eugene Garden Club to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year. These volunteers deserve much of the credit for Lane Audubon’s long-standing reputation as the area’s most effective grassroots advocate for birds and the protection of their habitats. Every volunteer plays a vital role in making our organization strong.
Can you volunteer time to work toward Lane Audubon’s goals? Volunteers bring the gifts of time, energy, expertise, and commitment to our organization. We’re always eager to welcome new volunteers into the fold. There are opportunities available for anyone with a little time and the inclination to help. We’ll provide the guidance, training, supplies, and anything else you need to get started.
As the new year begins, there are three specific areas that need volunteer assistance:
This year marks the 73rd Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) and the 115th National Audubon Society (NAS) Christmas Bird Count. Our count this year will be on Sunday, December 28th. Our 15-mile diameter count circle is centered in the Danebo area of Eugene and is divided into 27 areas, each with a Team Leader. The Team Leaders organize the teams, lead the groups through the area during the count day, and then submit the results to the ECBC Steering Committee.