This summer saw the release of the fourth State of the Birds report, a collaborative effort on the part of federal and state wildlife agencies, National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Klamath Bird Observatory, American Bird Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and several other organizations. The status of bird populations is widely considered one of the best indicators for the health of ecosystems. The 2013 report focuses on the distribution of bird populations and conservation opportunities on private lands.
Lane County Audubon Society has joined more than 100 conservation and scientific organizations in signing a letter to the Obama administration requesting greater protection for the Marbled Murrelet, a federally threatened seabird (click here to see the article on the Marbled Murrelet).
Photo: Cary Kerst
Article: Dave Stone
Want to see a Marbled Murrelet? Here’s how:
Head for the Oregon coast.
Find a clearing in the old-growth forest, 10-35 miles from the ocean.
Show up an hour before dawn.
Look up 50-200 feet in the air.
Listen for its distinctive, high-pitched “keer keer keer” call.
Watch very carefully for a chunky, robin-sized bird moving fast toward the ocean.
That’s it! Did you see it?
If you did, count yourself lucky. This bird’s no dummy. Because crows, ravens, and even Steller’s Jays prey on the bird, the eggs, and the chicks, the Marbled Murrelet likes to keep a low profile. Also, there aren’t a lot of them left in Oregon.
When Europeans first set foot in North America, it is estimated that there were 500,000 Bald Eagles on the continent. Their nests lined the rivers, circled large lakes, and occupied our coastal areas.
A shout out to Dave Stone for reporting on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) during its 40-year anniversary. This is a powerful law with the potential to make a great deal of difference for the protection of species and ecosystems. However, vigilance is required against the many political attempts to weaken the law and slash funding.
by Debbie Schlenoff
It is estimated that a mind-boggling 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides are applied in the United States every year. Several recent reports have highlighted the threat of these toxic chemicals to public health, especially to the developing bodies of children, as well as the elderly, immune-compromised, and chemically sensitive. Pesticides are found in all types of habitat: grasslands, forestlands, farmland, lawns and backyards, in the soil, and in our waterways. Several types of pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, and rodenticides, have adverse effects on fish and wildlife. It is difficult to get an idea of the extent of the threat.
by Dave Stone
By now, registered voters in Eugene have received their ballots for the special election that will determine the fate of a significant portion of our West Eugene Wetlands. These recently-acquired wetlands are part of the largest urban wetlands protection and restoration project in the US. Voters have been inundated with a massive advertising campaign designed to persuade them to approve the dubious Parkway project.
By Jim Maloney
After more than a year of meetings, e-mails, and conference calls, an all day work session on September 29 culminated in an agreement establishing a set of voluntary guidelines to guide assessment and development of wind energy facilities on the Columbia Plateau in Oregon.
by Pat Bitner
September is not the harbinger of the dying year. Instead, it is a time of new energy and new undertakings after a warm (this year hot) summer of diminished mental efforts for most of us.
by Kat Beal, Wildlife Biologist
US Army Corps of Engineers
As many Quail readers know, Fern Ridge supports an amazing variety of breeding and wintering birds. Designated as an Important Bird Area in 2002, Fern Ridge provides important habitat for migrating and wintering shorebirds and breeding habitat for species not commonly found west of the Cascades, including Black Tern, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and more recently Black-necked Stilt and Wilson's Phalarope. In the last 20 years the Corps and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have created over 900 acres of wetland impoundments--essentially large wetlands where water levels can be managed independently from the lake's elevation. These impoundments have provided more stable habitats, and allowed managers to improve wetland composition by converting canary grass to higher quality native plants.