News Archive

From Our President: April Brings Vaux’s Swifts Back to Agate Hall

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.)

 

Hummingbirds at Home

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.

Thanks to Our Volunteers

Herb Wisner has spent many hours every year for many, many years doing volunteer work for LCAS. He has served on the Board, and he has been Program Chair for decades—so long that we can’t pin down just how long. He has kept an ear and eye out for prospective speakers and has magically filled the program calendar eight times each year. He has engaged artists, authors, photographers, conservationists, bird acoustics experts, scientists, professors, and world travelers to entertain and inform our members.

From Our President: Birding: A Wonderful Obsession

Bird-watchers are a unique group of people. We share an obsession, yet each of us reaches that point in a different way. Outsiders might not always understand what makes us the way we are, but if they watch, listen, and learn more about birds, eventually they might share our quirkiness. As a child, I watched yard birds with my mother from the kitchen window. Backyard birding is still a great joy in my daily life. I know many of you enjoy this aspect of bird-watching as well!
 
Conversations with people in the birding community can often be difficult for non-birders to understand, especially when we are describing the color of lores or primaries or undertail coverts. We tend to be so absorbed in our bird descriptions that we forget how we must sound and appear to a non-birder.
 

2013 Eugene Christmas Bird Count


Dick Lamster, Count Coordinator 541.343.8664 maeveanddick@q.com

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.

From Our President: The Mystery of Birding

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.

From Our Treasurer: Looking Forward

For me, November is a month for preparing and looking forward—preparing (somewhat regrettably) to spend more time indoors than out, harvesting and preserving for later use the late-season produce from my urban garden, anticipating the more regular appearance of our backyard winter bird populations, looking forward to the holiday season and the Christmas Bird Count … the list goes on. 
 
As Lane County Audubon’s treasurer, I have a few preparatory duties in November too, such as beginning to prepare LCAS’s financial reports as the year draws to a close, planning next year’s budget, and writing this column asking for your continued support of our organization. 
 
In reviewing our financial reports, I’m always struck by how many ways we serve our members and other Lane County residents—young and old—by celebrating and educating them about birds, wildlife, and the habitats they depend on.

From Our President: Birds on the Move

One reason I love spending time in my garden is just to be outdoors. Gardening is a great excuse to be in the yard and watch birds at the same time. If I had not been checking the fruit trees the morning of August 31, I would not have seen the dark bird in the lower field sallying out from the bird boxes and flying back to perch, catching insects. It gradually made its way from box to box, up toward my garden area. I grabbed the binoculars (I keep them nearby) and saw it was a Black Phoebe! This was the first sighting for the species on our property, and it made my morning! Its plumage was not the bright black of an adult, so I assume it was a first-year bird exploring the area. It spent about 15 minutes in my view, then flew up and over some trees to the north.

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