One corner of our land, on the far northeast slope, is tucked under the overhanging branches of the big firs. It is a peaceful hill where we have buried our pets, and where the previous owner had buried his old dog. My husband has made grave markers for each of them. I have many memories here. In the spring, this corner has the first Red Currant blossoms and a spreading patch of fragrant Lady-slipper Orchids. A patch of Pacific Hounds-tongue blue flowers lights up the area when they bloom. It is the spot where one of our dogs cornered a porcupine against the fence, giving us a chance to see the little animal at close range, before we helped it find an opening to get away. Here we have seen bobcat and coyote scat along a deer trail that continues over the old fence into the woods to the north.
In a research study published in July, ravens learned how to get food out of a puzzle box using a stone tool. The next day, when the ravens were given a choice of items to collect, they preferentially selected the stone tools, even when the puzzle box was nowhere in sight. The stones might come in handy later on, when the puzzle box was around. They also learned to trade bottle caps for food. Later, when given a choice between bottle caps and other items (even small food treats), they choose the bottle caps—a fun demonstration that birds are good at planning for the future.
Like ravens, humans also need to plan for the future. National monuments protect species, biodiversity, and important habitat. But the effectiveness of the protected areas decreases over time, due to encroaching development and shifts in species’ ranges due to climate change. How to plan for the future?
One way is to expand existing national monuments. This is just what was done with Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, first designated in 2000. This area is part of the Pacific Flyway, a migratory corridor essential to birds. At the crossroads of four distinct eco-regions, it was created to protect the area’s unique biodiversity. Scientists expressed concerns that the original boundaries were not large enough to preserve the connectivity between species, and that an increase in area development threatened habitat. These concerns, plus evidence indicating that the area was not large enough for species to withstand range shifts due to climate change, prompted an expansion of the monument in 2016. Good planning for the future.
Our LCAS president, Maeve Sowles, and our conservation chair, Debbie Schlenoff, along with Louise Shimmel of Cascades Raptor Center, are soon to be honored for receiving the Rachel Carson Award. This award highlights efforts to reduce and eliminate pesticides in ways that protect community and environmental health.
The three women worked as a team and partnered with NCAP, publishing an op-ed piece about Rozol and other rodenticides.
Recently a Swiss company started marketing a burger made from mealworms, because insects are full of proteins and fats. Although eating insects might be a hard sell to humans, the rest of the animal kingdom are delighted to eat them. So, what strategies do butterflies use to avoid this fate? Come hear about toxins and deceptions and see their disguises.
In 1998 Lane County Audubon made a commitment to the city of Eugene by “adopting” the westerly end (about 5 miles) of West Eugene’s Fern Ridge Bike Path. Audubon’s decision expresses our dedication to keeping Eugene’s waterways as an inviting habitat for wildlife and a safe and clean area for recreation. Please consider joining this volunteer effort. All levels of effort are welcome. FMI call Phil Johnson at 541.731.7439.
Dave Budeau and Pete Baki, biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, will give an overview of Oregon’s upland game birds, with special attention on the Greater Sage-Grouse projects at ODFW.
This month's 3rd Saturday Bird Walk will take place at Delta Ponds and will be led by Rebecca Waterman and Nick Paget, who bird there frequently. Forecast calls for lots of rain, so we'll stick close to cars in case people decide to escape. Delta Ponds is a great place to see the beginning arrivals of winter ducks.
The Audubon in the Schools (AITS) curriculum comprises five fun-filled lessons that combine bird biology and basic art techniques. Originally developed by artist Kris Kirkeby, our former Education Chair, the lessons are excellent examples of participatory education. The program is designed to provide elementary students with a solid introduction to core aspects of bird biology, including feather anatomy and function, bird identification techniques, bird field marks, and habitat. The coordinator oversees all facets of the program. This includes classroom scheduling and volunteer training, plus teaching lessons to students along with the other volunteers. Help us take this wonderful education program to new heights!
For more information, visit our Volunteer page online at laneaudubon.org/support/volunteer, or contact Maeve Sowles at 541.343.8664, or email@example.com.