In early November, Lane County Audubon hosted the 2019 Oregon Audubon Council (OAC) in Eugene. In attendance were representatives from nine of the twelve Oregon chapters as well as representatives from Washington State Audubon. The goal of the annual OAC meetings is to bring together state chapter members in order to discuss conservation concerns, to receive progress updates on ongoing issues, and to determine how we can best help to make a difference.
An article published in the journal Science this month revealed that bird populations in North America have declined by 29 percent since 1970. That’s a loss of about 3 billion birds! These population declines were documented in common bird species as well as species of concern. Indeed, people in our community have been contacting Lane County Audubon for years with concerns about the disappearance of many favorite backyard birds.
The Endangered Species Act is one of America’s most effective and important environmental laws. Since its passage in 1973, the Act has enabled the recovery of several at-risk species including the Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, humpback whale, Virginia flying squirrel, and the Oregon chub, among others.
It’s summer and I delight in the antics of fledgling birds. They land on our feeders, but despite the proximity and abundance of food, they beg from their parents, mouths open and wings fluttering. Soon they will be ready for autumn activities, which for many birds involve a migratory journey. Let’s do what we can to keep birds safe along their passage.
On July 20th, participants in the Lane Audubon canoe/kayak Third Saturday bird trip paddled north on Coyote Creek to Fern Ridge Reservoir, departing from the Cantrell Road put-in at 8 am. We had a good morning of birding with really nice weather except for a little head wind early on. Our 9 watercraft (3 canoes and 6 kayaks) held 14 people. The participants’ ages ranged from 4 years to mid-70s, and it was a fun day for all!
Birds help farmers. They control pests, sow seeds, pollinate flowers, and fertilize soils. Unfortunately, the reverse is not true; common agricultural practices do not help birds. Often they have led to devastating bird population declines. The North American Breeding Bird Survey data shows that 74 percent of farmland-associated species decreased between 1966 and 2013.
We are pleased to announce that the City of Eugene and the University of Oregon have received official bee-friendly designation! The Bee City USA program (beecityusa.org) helps us institutionalize the community’s commitment to pollinator protection, provides accountability, and helps raise awareness. The City of Eugene invests in the creation and restoration of native pollinator habitat.
Most of us are aware of the alarming decline in populations of pollinators and other beneficial insects. This affects all of us, our food supply, and the birds that we love. In addition to habitat loss, pesticides use is a major culprit. Recent investigations have found pesticide residue everywhere, in the body tissues of people and animals, in the food we buy at our supermarkets, and even (sorry about this) in our beer and wine.
The percentage of people who think global warming is happening is now five times greater than that of people who don’t, according to a recent survey conducted by Yale University.