Like birders everywhere, members of Lane County Audubon Society are a varied lot, especially when it comes to technology use. The proliferation of technologies that make bird-watching easier, more rewarding, and more satisfying corresponds directly to the introduction of new technologies into every aspect of our lives. Depending on how quickly we accept and use these new advances, each of us fits into one of the standard categories for technology adoption—innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, or laggards.
An alarming new report by National Audubon Society (NAS) reveals that hundreds of bird species are threatened by global warming. NAS ornithologists spent seven years studying 588 bird species and found that 314 face significant risk in a warming world. Of those, 126 species are at risk of severe declines by 2050, and a further 188 species face the same fate by 2080, with numerous extinctions possible if global warming is allowed to erase the havens birds currently occupy. To understand the links between where birds live and the climatic conditions that support them, the NAS ornithologists analyzed more than 40 years of historical North American climate data and millions of historical bird records from the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Breeding Bird Survey and the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Understanding those links allows scientists to project where birds are likely to be able to survive—and not survive—in the future.
Throughout the summer and fall months, I watch birds use the berry-producing trees and shrubs on our property. The fruit is a magnet for many birds and gives them a wonderful diet supplement during the breeding season and migration. Many bird species have at least a partially frugivorous diet and will eat fruit regularly.
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.