President's Page


Welcome to LCAS! We are a volunteer organization made up of over 1400 members. Our commitment to help preserve wildlife and habitat diversity throughout the Pacific Northwest involve many activities for all ages. Come to a Program Meeting or a Bird Walk and get to know us!

--Maeve Sowles, audubon(at)laneaudubon.org



From Our President: Humans and Nature Are Interdependent

Regardless of the 2018 election results (I am writing this on November 5!), I realize my message will be the same…
As Audubon members who value nature and wildlife, we need to increase our efforts to connect, inform and educate our youth about how cool and amazing nature is. We need to share our awe and reverence for the natural world around us. Share the wonder of both the complexity and simplicity of natural ecosystems. Even after generations of study by humans, we still know and understand only a small part of how underlying natural processes work to support our life systems on the earth.
We need to share that our own survival as a species depends upon how we care for the earth we inhabit. If we nurture, protect and preserve the earth’s natural places, it will be our own species we save, as well as other species with whom we coexist.
I cannot give up hope that a future generation will be able to breathe in clean air, drink clear water, and gaze out at lovely natural wonders for inspiration. Please remember, humans need nature and nature depends on us to cherish and protect it.

From Our Treasurer: Supporting LCAS—Reasons to Give

My travels this summer took me to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology near Ithaca, New York, where I was able to bird in renowned Sapsucker Woods near the lab. I also took a behind-the-scenes tour of the research facility itself, technically known as the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity. The center houses classrooms, a DNA sequencing lab, and a library containing the world’s largest collection of recorded natural sounds, including the songs, sounds, and calls of more than 5,600 species of birds!

Scientists at the lab not only conduct some of the most cutting-edge research on birds and their habitats but also teach students and others about the threats that birds and other wildlife face in response to climate change and environmental destruction taking place throughout the world.

From Our President: Volunteers Are the Life Blood of LCAS

Volunteers are the “green energy” that drives the activities of the Lane Audubon chapter. The only way we keep our projects running is with folks who have some time, talent, and initiative to help. The work done by Lane Audubon is all because of our wonderful volunteers.

We have a small and committed Board that steers our various projects and lends a hand when needed. The Board will help new volunteers with advice, support, and experience. We want to see everyone succeed in forwarding our mission. We care about wildlife and their habitats, and we also care about people.

Most of you know that we are an all-volunteer group. Some chapters have paid staff, but that is not the case with us. We do need help. Spend some time with us, come to a Board meeting, a Program meeting, and please, get involved. Lane Audubon’s work is important in the community. We advocate for environmental education and conservation programs throughout Lane County. If you have an interest in joining other Lane Audubon volunteers or have skills you would like to put to work in support of our goals, we would like to hear from you! Call 541.485.2473. Be a part of the team of Lane Audubon volunteers! Please step up to help us keep our energy and forward momentum going!

Special volunteer opportunity: Audubon in the Schools!

From Our President: Bonney Butte Offers a Wealth of Migrant Raptor Flyovers

By September, bird migration is in full swing. We can find shorebirds and ducks arriving at Fern Ridge and other waterways. We can see the Vaux’s Swifts at Agate Hall, as well as other chimneys around the area. A little farther from home, the raptor migration can be observed from atop Bonney Butte in the Mount Hood National Forest.

From Our President: Enthusiastic Volunteers Inspire Interest in Birding

classroomSpring was Event-Full for Lane Audubon, and I have several people to thank for their outreach and education efforts over the past two months!

Between April 10th and May 18th, Barb Pope and Kathy Wilson taught 13 “Audubon in the Schools” class sessions in just eight days! They reached 366 students at five different schools in Eugene and Springfield. They were helped by our five new volunteers: Janet Barnes, Rose Britton, Rachael Friese, Marty Merrill, and Bryan Ribelin. Children and teachers alike were thrilled that we came into their classes with bird specimens and art supplies so they could learn to observe and draw the bird specimens. This is an important educational program for Lane Audubon, and we are still looking for a leader to take on the coordination of this effort. We hope to keep this great program moving into the future!

From Our President: Wetlands Nourish Both Wildlife and Human Observers

My first encounter with a wetland ecosystem was in the springtime, on a vacant lot where the frogs’ chorus drew me like a magnet to the ponds in the flooded field. The hidden frogs lured me with their songs, compelling me to explore the elusive source of the sound. I was a young girl then, and I have been searching the water’s edge ever since. Many towns’ sewage ponds are their only marshy area and are frequently the local birding hot spot. The combination of water, abundant organic material, and few people lets the wildness spill into these unique areas.

Wetland habitats teem with life. Water and the underlying sediments, rich in nutrients, support diverse life forms, from bacteria and algae through every classification of organism. The productiveness of the wetland habitat provides a banquet for birds, who feast on life in the mud and water. The calm water of wetlands is a primordial soup, with frog eggs, water striders, crustaceans, marsh beetle nymphs, mayflies, and dragonflies all feeding in this richness.

From our President: Birding Pleasures and Treasures of Belize and Guatemala

Travel for birding is a great way to learn about the global interdependence of our ecosystems. Central America hosts some of our Neotropical migratory birds during the winter months. After the previous year’s breeding season, the birds fly south for the winter and recover their strength by eating insects in the tropical jungle’s abundance of living things. Warm temperatures, water, and a wide variety of foods are available to the birds. The northern hemisphere is inhospitable to insectivorous birds during this time, but closer to the equator they can eat and prepare for their northern migration in the spring.

From Our President: Two by Two, It Begins Anew

March is when I notice that many of the birds coming to our feeder begin arriving in pairs. Earlier in the winter, the loose flocks of finches, juncos, and towhees do not show male/female pairings as they fly in for food. This month, though, I see male House Finches offering food to the females that are always nearby. Chickadees and Oregon Juncos begin engaging in territorial disputes that result in serious chases and sparring. Steller’s Jays vocalize in softer, sweeter tones as two of them hop from branch to branch in the oak tree. Chickadees flutter their wings in a begging breeding display. Actually some of the early nesting birds have already begun to build nests, such as the pair of Black-capped Chickadees that have filled one nest box with moss, and the Song Sparrows singing atop the brush pile where their nest is hidden.

I am excited about watching the skies for early spring bird migrants. Each morning I open my window and look out to see if a warm breeze has brought us any new bird arrivals. Soon Tree Swallows, Violet-green Swallows, and, hopefully, Western Bluebirds will move into the neighborhood. Their songs will fill the air. Until then, I listen to the songs of our resident birds as they begin tuning up for the breeding season.

From Our President: Maeve and Friends Nature Reads for Winter 2018

I like to ask for book recommendations from friends because we do share some of the same interests! Of course one of the main books being discussed is Noah Strycker’s Birding Without Borders: An Epic World Big Year. If you have not yet read it, make the time. You will not be sorry. In fact you will have a hard time putting it down.

Jim Maloney always offers a thoughtful list of books to watch for:

Project Puffin, by Derrick Jackson and Stephen Kress, is about the reintroduction of Atlantic Puffins to islands in the Gulf of Maine. It’s not a new book, but stories of people trying to undo a destructive past are always welcome.

Fire Birds, by Sneed B. Collard, is especially timely as we hear calls for “salvage” logging after devastating wildfires. It’s an excellent intro to the subject, detailing which avian species depend on and flourish in burns.

Looking for Seabirds, Sophie Webb’s book, is enriched by her hand-rendered illustrations. Her writing style is both friendly and factual.

From Our President: An Abundance of Gratitude

The ending of this year and beginning of a new year make me think of gratitude.

I find it important for my sanity to remember the many ways I need to be thankful for my existence, and to appreciate the many people for whom I am grateful. Obviously family and friends top my list, but many others whom I’ve met through Lane Audubon also enrich my life. 2018 will be the 18th year I’ve served as president of this group. It has become an identity, as well as a passion that fills me with purpose. I am also grateful for the many members who have either become friends or with whom we share a sense of familiarity and common ground. This interconnectedness gives us a shared space within which we can communicate and feel accepted.

Gratitude deepens and energizes relationships.

Pages