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, president (at) laneaudubon.org



From Our President: Celebrate Nature This Spring!

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. 

From our President: Spring Migration Is in Full Swing

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.

From Our President: Breeding Season Begins in Winter

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.

From Our Treasurer: Keep Birding Strong in Lane County—Show Your Support!

birdwatchersOne of the highlights of my summer was participating in a bird walk in New York City’s Central Park. After temporarily losing my way in the maze of lanes and paths that make up the park, I finally found the Boathouse, where Robert DeCandido, or “Birder Bob” as he is known locally, always begins his Sunday morning walks. Predictably, it was an international group, including birders from South Africa, Greenland, Turkey, China, and Oregon (me), all eager to see East Coast birds in the sanctuary that Central Park provides in the midst of the great metropolis.

We were treated to sightings of Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Kingbird, Black-and-white Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, and Northern Cardinal, along with some species more familiar to us here in the Northwest: Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Black-capped Chickadee.

From Our President: Volunteers Drive LCAS

Volunteers are the “green energy” that drives the activities of the Lane County Audubon Society. The only way we keep our projects running is with the help of folks who have some time, talent, and initiative to help. We have a small and committed Board that steers our various projects and lends a hand when needed. The Board helps 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.

From Our President: Malheur NWR Is a Birding Paradise

We spent the first week of June in Eastern Oregon touring Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and some of the surrounding areas. This is the fourth year of drought there, and it was obvious that several key areas were lacking water. Along Highway 205 south of Burns in an area called The Narrows, no water was in sight. Two lakes, Malheur and Harney, intersect there and usually there’s water at least 15 feet deep beside the road. In years past, we have seen pelicans fishing there and both Western and Clark’s Grebes were easily seen from the road. Another location with NO water this year is in the northeast portion of the refuge along Lawen Lane, which runs into Ruh-Red Road. In previous years, we have seen Avocets feeding and Ruddy Ducks swimming happily there.

From Our President: Nature Depends on Us

Last fall, a 25-acre piece of land across the street from us was clear-cut. It had been a second-growth stand of mixed forest for over 50 years. Some of the trees were very old, so we know that in the past the forest had been only selectively cut. The logging was impossible to ignore and painful to watch and hear. Some of our neighbors had tried to buy the land to preserve the forest, but they lost the bid to the logging company.

From Our President: Lack of Rain Is Problematic for Wildlife, Plants, and People

April showers are on my wish list this year. As I write this in early March, we are in a dry spell and are well below our normal rain and snowfall amounts in western Oregon. I will perform a rain dance if it will help bring us rain. At our property, spring began in February this year. A young satsuma pear tree was in full bloom before the end of February. Pollinators were out looking for flower nectar, but most were left wandering and wondering where their food was during the untimely warm days. Bats were out looking for food earlier than I’ve seen them before too. Many of the spring birds arrived at our property early—Turkey Vultures, Tree Swallows, Violet-green Swallows, and Rufous Hummingbirds.

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