It’s the time of year when we have an opportunity to create bird-friendly yards! Get out in the garden to work some landscaping magic with the purpose of welcoming the migrating birds to nest and raise their young in our area. Birds have been using the Northern Hemisphere for nesting over thousands of years. In recent years, human impacts on the environment have drastically changed their world, as well as ours. Actions we take today can help make our yards more welcoming to the birds and wildlife.
The goal is to provide native plants the birds can eat, the pollinators can get their sustenance from, and that are relatively easy to grow in our Pacific Northwest soils and climate. Overall it is a win-win-win for animals, plants and people. Native plants are habituated to our weather cycles, require less water in the summer, and can also survive the wet cold winters. They produce nectar for birds and insects in the spring, and fruits and nuts for birds and other wildlife in the autumn. These plant species are also fairly resistant to insect pests and diseases, so in general they do not require much human intervention.
Takeaways from our March Program on Birds and Bugs
Lane County Audubon Society (LCAS) is an all-volunteer organization. Volunteering with LCAS is a great way to meet new people, give back to the community, and best of all, have fun! If you’re interested in volunteering for one of the opportunities below, or if you have other ideas about ways you can help, contact Maeve Sowles at 541.343.8664 or email@example.com
Bike Path Cleanup Coordinator
Help us coordinate the twice-yearly cleanup of our stretch of the West Eugene bike path. LCAS adopted the west end (about five miles) of West Eugene’s Fern Ridge Bike Path. The goal is to help keep Eugene’s waterways an inviting habitat for wildlife and a safe and clean area for recreation. The coordinator will pick the dates and organize the day’s activities.
April and springtime are a welcome change from our intense winter weather. Nature and the outdoors beckon with spring plant growth and the arrival of migrating birds. Each morning I open the upstairs window and breathe in the fresh air. I take stock of the weather, watch and listen to the birds for a few minutes, and assess the new day. Connecting with nature is a necessity for my mental and physical health.
We are grateful for the surprise donation of $750 we received from Avid Gardeners this month. The group is disbanding and decided to donate their remaining money to both LCAS and the Nature Conservancy. We truly appreciate their generosity!
Join us to welcome back the Vaux's Swifts at Agate Hall chimney this Saturday April 22nd at sunset!!
A few birds have been sighted, so we want to check it our ourselves.
We expect the Vaux’s swifts to arrive with a warm wind from the south sometime between early April and early May. The timing of the migration has varied recently, with the birds coming through earlier. This makes it hard for humans to know when to have a party to celebrate their arrival!
We will be monitoring the reports from the chimneys south of us and watching the skies to see when the birds ride in on the wind.
For up-to-date reports, tune into the Lane Audubon Facebook page, check our web site, or call the Lane Audubon phone at 541.485.2473.
Vaux’s Happening website for more information about Vaux’s Swifts: vauxhappening.org/Vauxs_Happening_Home.html
We are happy to announce that the newly revised Birds of Lane County Checklist has just been printed. Copies will now be available at our program meetings and other LCAS events, as well as at Wild Birds Unlimited.
Many thanks to co-authors Alan Contreras and Vjera Thompson, with contributions from Tye Jeske, Sean Burns, and Tom Mickel. Lane County Audubon Society and Wild Birds Unlimited covered the costs of the publication.
Pins commemorating the 75th Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) are available free to all participants in any of the past ECBCs, including field counters and home counters. To pick up your free pin, come to one of the LCAS monthly program meetings on April 25th or May 23rd. If you cannot attend one, please let Dick Lamster know, via email or snail mail. Include your name and mailing address, so he can send a pin to you.
Contact him at: P.O. Box 5086, Eugene, OR 97405, or firstname.lastname@example.org
ECBC History Compilation
The 75-year history of the Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) is now available on the LCAS website for downloading.
Over the past few winter months, my husband and I have hosted two males and one female Anna’s Hummingbirds at our property. This is the fifth year we have had them consistently all winter. We live at a 1,000-foot elevation, so tend to have cooler temperatures than the valley floor. Many Willamette Valley folks have been hosting over-wintering Anna’s here for more than a decade. It has become normal to see these birds during the winter months. Through the cold, harsh ice storm (we were without power for 5 days) with its snow and sub-freezing nights, we tried to keep the sugar water feeders thawed for them. My husband would get out early to change out the warm feeders for the birds, having brought them in for the night. We even rigged up heat lamps and extension cords to keep them thawed during the day. Feeding wild birds is a big commitment!
A woman from the Coos Bay area called the Lane Audubon phone to report she has been hosting about 40 Anna’s Hummingbirds since the fall. They stay until early spring and then move on, probably heading north and east into the interior of the state. She said it was more typical for her to have seven or eight birds, so 40 was a new record for her!