With the pressures of politics and pandemics over the past few months, I feel the need to de-stress in nature as much as possible. Fortunately, this time of year, that is easy. Temperatures are warming, flowers are blooming, trees are leafing out, and songbirds are singing. In Oregon we have lovely habitat diversity, which gives us more opportunity to enjoy nature’s wonders than in many other areas.
Each morning, I open my upstairs window to breathe in the freshness. I listen and watch to discover what is happening out in the yard. I take in the air, the weather, the temperature –a human barometer.
Plants are reaching for the sun. Birds of every kind are singing their dawn chorus of happy sounds. I look and listen for new arrivals of birds. A sense of excitement and anticipation helps me start my day.
Squirrels are giving chase up, down, and around the trees. Swallows chase each other through the sky. Mourning Doves, chickadees, and Stellar Jays are paired up with their mates. Robins hunt for worms to feed their mates on the nest. Purple Finches sing from the tops of trees. Song Sparrow chicks are already begging for food. The animal world is awake and ready to face a new day.
Here’s the buzz from our first year as official members of BeeCity USA. Representatives from the City of Eugene Parks and Open Spaces, Xerces Society, Beyond Toxics, Walama Restoration Project, GloryBee, and Lane Audubon serve on the pollinator protection committee and work to promote pollinator education and native habitat. Below are some highlights from the annual bee report filed in February.
Eugene’s first Bee City Celebration last June was a mix of education, outreach, and celebration of bees and pollinators. The day included a native bee survey to provide hands-on education at one of Walama Restoration Project’s prairie restoration sites; a tour of the City’s Native Plant Nursery; a bike tour of the University of Oregon’s “Bee Campus”; and an entertainment hub with music and food, outreach, and local native plant vendors selling pollinator-friendly plants. One highlight was Eugene’s mayor, Lucy Vinis, ceremoniously cutting a ribbon for the dedication of our Bee City USA sign.
Gerry Meenaghn will lead the April walk, exploring the LCC campus and adjacent areas. Details will be posted on the LCAS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LaneAudubon/, and on the website: laneaudubon.org.
All ages and skill levels are welcome. Bring binoculars, if you have them. To carpool, meet at 8 a.m. at the South Eugene High School parking lot, corner of 19th and Patterson. We plan to return by noon. Remember that it’s not a good idea to leave valuables or your vehicle registration in your car if you leave it at the lot. A $3 donation is appreciated to help support Lane County Audubon’s activities.
FMI: Rebecca Waterman at email@example.com, or 541.653.3354
We can expect the Vaux’s Swifts to arrive with a warm wind from the south in early to mid-April. The timing of the migration varies, depending on wind and weather patterns. We hope the Vaux’s Swifts will be here April 24th, when we will be watching at Agate Hall chimney!
The Vaux’s Swifts use the chimney to roost for the night as they gather and recover after migration from the south.
Come join us at sunset Friday, April 24th, Agate Hall on the UO campus,17th Ave. and Agate Street.
FMI: Lane Audubon Facebook page or website, or call 541.485.2473. And/or check out the Vaux’s Happening website for more information about Vaux’s Swifts: https://www.vauxhappening.org/index.html
The Bike Path Clean Up will run from 9am-noon on Sunday April 26.
We will meet near the Euphoria Chocolate Company at Stewart Road and Bertelsen, just north of West 11th. Please volunteer to help! If you are interested in participating, email April Paulson firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this slide show presentation, Eugene author and hiking guru William L. Sullivan will take us on a tour of a dozen new or dramatically changed trails in the area between Salem and Bend. All are featured in the newly released fifth edition of his guidebook, “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades.” Included are a new path along the Deschutes River north of Bend, a new bird refuge trail at Salem, and several reopened trails to wildflowers in the Cascades. He’ll also discuss the effects of wildfires and the Forest Service’s new permit system. Along the way, expect anecdotes about local history, plants, and outdoor lore.
William L. Sullivan is the author of 22 books and numerous articles about Oregon, including an “Oregon Trails” feature column for the Eugene Register-Guard.
The AITS team sometimes leads beginning birding sessions for kids at the Outdoor School’s Forest Field Day. Team members distribute binoculars and use bird silhouettes in trees to practice focusing, then they take a brief walk to look for birds in the forest. The AITS team would like to have more binoculars for the kids, so each child can practice using them. To donate used, but working, binoculars, please call Maeve Sowles at 541.343.8664 or bring them to an LCAS Program Meeting.
The Audubon in the Schools team would like a volunteer to help with the scheduling of classroom visits. It usually takes 5-6 emails between the teacher and scheduler, to schedule an AITS visit. This volunteer needs to be organized and attentive to the teachers’ requests as well as work with the AITS instructors and their schedules. It is a critical piece of keeping this program running and helping everyone succeed in their mission to bring the AITS program into classrooms, where the kids can learn about drawing birds, feathers, and ecosystems!
FMI: please contact Maeve Sowles at email@example.com or 541.343.8664.
Lane Audubon would also like a volunteer who could serve as an Administrative Assistant for Board responsibilities.
Volunteers are invited to help gather data for the largest Short-eared Owl study in the world! This community science project covers eight states. To participate, potential surveyors sign-up for a survey grid and complete two 90-minute road-based surveys from March through May. All of the specifics can be found on the project website: WAfLS project website. Sign up asap for the most location options!
To learn more and to sign-up: Contact Nate Trimble by email at nlt@KlamathBird.org or by calling 541-201-0866 ext. 5;
Visit the Project WAfLs Website https://www.avianknowledgenorthwest.net/citizen-science/short-eared-owls
Check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ProjectWAFLS/