As late spring and summer arrive, Celebrate Nature is on my calendar. This time of year I want to hang out in my garden and keep ears and eyes open for birds, butterflies, and any other life forms that present themselves. I do, of course, work in the garden and the exercise is good for me, plus we benefit from the fruits and veggies of our labor. I do hit “pause” whenever something new makes itself known to me, so I take breaks from the labor at regular intervals. Obviously the bird life is one of my great joys, but other animals are also unique and amazing in their own ways.
We look forward to working with Karen and appreciate the skills and talents she brings to creating The Quail newsletter for our members to enjoy! —Maeve
My editing career started with the junior high newspaper in the eighth grade. I then went on to edit my high school newspaper. After taking time to raise three children, earn a BA in English and an MA in education, and work as a teacher and bookkeeper, I returned to school at LCC where I rediscovered my love of journalism and edited the LCC Torch. I earned a BA in journalism at the UO.
A hearty thank-you goes out to Hilary Dearborn for staffing LCAS’s table at Oregon Wild’s Eugene Brewshed & Outdoors Celebration, hosted at Ninkasi Brewery on April 28.
Thanks also to David Stone and Ron Renchler, who staffed a table at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History on the UO campus on May 21.
By April, spring migration is in full swing. Birders eagerly await the “first of the year” bird sightings at their favorite birding spots. We have kept track of yard birds for over 20 years at our property. We feel a rush of excitement and joy when we see and hear the first Tree Swallows fly down to our bird boxes each spring. The same is true for the first Rufous Hummingbird and Turkey Vulture sightings. Part of our amazement is the realization of how far the birds have travelled since we saw them last in the late summer.
During our walks this March, we have been delighted by the activity of birds preparing for spring. It’s particularly amusing to observe the crows flying overhead and calling boisterously as they choose their evening roosting site. Most people who study birds believe that one function of this gathering process is information exchange, and I wonder what they are saying to one another each evening. Despite the voices, both raucous and melodious, that we hear this spring from our bird neighbors, we are well aware that when it comes to human policy decisions, the birds have no voice and it is up to us to speak on their behalf. Fortunately, what’s good for the health of wildlife is good for the health of people.
Lane County Audubon Society will hold its annual spring Swift Event outside Agate Hall, although this year we will wait to set a date until we see swifts begin to arrive at the chimney. Their migration patterns are less predictable than ever before. In the past we have seen the earliest Vaux’s Swifts arrive by mid-April with increasing numbers over the next three to four weeks.
The Vaux’s Swifts use the chimney to roost for the night as they gather during spring migration. The LCAS Swift Event is a wonderful chance to observe and learn about the birds as they return from Central and South America for the breeding season.
Lane County Audubon Society owes a very big thank you to the local company called CBT Nuggets! They selected LCAS as the nonprofit to receive “NuggetLOVE” during the month of February. This gave us an opportunity to have donations matched up to $5,000 by the company! Through electronic outreach, we were able to raise $4,253.15 from our members during February. CBT Nuggets matched this amount, plus they donated another $5414.12! Our grand total was $13,920.42!!
Thank you to our members for their support and thank you to CBT Nuggets for their amazing donation!
I often ask friends what books they have enjoyed recently and would recommend to others. I’d like to share a few titles that I’ve heard about so you can put them on your winter reading list too!
Audubon Statement on the Occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
January 3, 2016: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect the vast populations of waterbirds that were being decimated by wanton killing by the plume trade. The 188,000 acre refuge represents some of the most important bird habitat on the Pacific Flyway. It is one of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System and belongs to all Americans. In 2013, the Refuge adopted a long-term management plan developed through an inclusive collaborative process that brought together the local community, tribes, conservation groups, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders. These stakeholders have continued to work together to implement this strategy which includes one of the biggest wetland restoration efforts ever undertaken.
We have been hearing owls in the evening at our property in the forested area southwest of Eugene. In all of the 22 years we have lived here, Great Horned Owls have nested nearby. Before sundown and into the evening, deep hoots echo through Fox Hollow; the deeper voice is the male and the higher pitched hoots are the larger female. Breeding season has already begun for this species, even though the landscape is wet and the temperatures wintery. Those deep hoots are communicating territory claims as well as courtship and pair bonding—annual rituals for the pair that mates for life.
Great Horned Owls start nesting in January, raising their families in the depths of winter. Like other owls, they do not build their own nests, but take over the abandoned homes of other species, including squirrels, ravens, herons, and Red-tailed Hawks.