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: Birding Enriches Our Lives in Countless Ways

There are many reasons to love birding. It keeps your mind and senses active. Listening, observing, then trying to decide what bird you are watching are great exercises for the brain. It creates learning challenges for the visual, the sounds, and the memory of birds you know, to come up with a bird’s identification.

There is also a sense of anticipation and excitement in a day of birding. One is always looking for a new or unusual sighting that gives birding the feeling of a treasure hunt. At times there are surprising discoveries! One year on the Eugene Christmas Bird Count, Dave Bontrager identified a rare Falcated Duck on a pond near Coburg. It was a cold, wet, windy day but he persisted in watching this bird riding the whitecaps on the pond, until he was certain of its identity. Way to go Dave!

Bird watching also takes us out of our own headspace and into the world of the birds. Observing their behaviors and feeding strategies, watching them bathe and preen as they interact with each other, delighting in their lovely feathers and songs; all these offer us yet another aspect of the birding adventure.

From Our Treasurer: Birding in a Trying Time

First, I think I can speak for the entire LCAS membership in expressing our condolences to everyone impacted by the recent wildfires. Our condolences also go out to all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, 2020 has been a tough year for everyone.

LCAS wants to make things a little easier during these trying times by continuing to offer events that we hope redirect your mind and soul to the comforts of nature. We began offering live, virtual program meetings in September and will continue to do so throughout the fall and winter until conditions around the pandemic improve. (See Live on Zoom November Program meeting.)

From Our President: I Miss My Audubon Friends! But Nature Offers Solace

Our last Program Meeting was in late February and our last face-to-face Board Meeting was in early March. Since then, we have suspended our normal scheduled activities. I often think about our many volunteers and members who attend these Lane Audubon functions, people I only see at that time. Now months have passed and I feel the loss of normal contacts, hugs, smiles, and bird sightings that we would normally share when we see each other. I hope each of you is doing what you can to stay safe and healthy!

From Our President: 2020 Has Been a Year Like No Other!

Due to the pandemic, we have learned enlightening essential practices to secure our families and ourselves from an infection affecting the human population of the earth. Precautions to ensure protection from disease have become daily rituals, changing our lives dramatically. This situation has also raised awareness of our basic needs for safe food supplies, safe water, and safe spaces for shelter. And it has also shown us the fragility of having safe and productive ways to make a living.

All of these are the same essentials we strive to protect for the birds and wildlife who share the earth with us. Usually humans feel they are above or apart from these necessities, since many of us are buffered from the precarious edge of survival. Unfortunately, this is not true for all people.

Recently we have seen the violent side of human nature on stark display. This is an aspect of our humanity that I cannot fathom. Humans are all related – we share the DNA, the human history, the earth. Each of us has the same biological and daily needs, and together we could recreate a safe earth for all. Why are compassion and empathy such elusive principles?

We need to find the resolve to be better at supplying essential needs for ourselves and each other. We need to stop and learn from our huge ongoing mistakes. Drop the prehistoric sub-brain ego responses, and use our hearts to feel the flow of compassion toward all living things. We can do better together in focusing on our mutual needs. 

Can we learn from this stressful time and actually make our lives and communities healthier, more holistic and more productive for everyone? It is time for humans to lift themselves to fulfill their potential for caring, empathy, and compassion. Please, let us use our big brains to imagine this into our new reality and make choices that bring us forward to a better future together. This goal needs to become more than a dream and more than rhetoric. Humans have great capacity for adaptation.

Let’s make it work for the common good of all people and the earth. My deepest wish is that we reach a time of peace and wellness for us all.

From Our President: Search Outside for the Calm in Nature

As I write this piece in early April, our future activities for the next two months are completely up in the air. We know that in May we will not have a Bird Walk and that cancellation of the Program Meeting is a strong possibility. Theoretically, at this point, June will be planned as the time gets closer and we know our ability to gather safely for community activities.

From Our President: The Refreshing Freshness of Spring

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.

From Past Presidents: Where Have All My Birds Gone?

“Where Have All MY Birds Gone?”

That is the question I hear dozens of times a year while answering the Audubon Phone. Lane County Audubon Society (LCAS) has a phone number people call, seeking answers to all sorts of nature-related questions. We receive calls about injured wildlife, impending nearby “development” that will destroy wildlife habitat, neighborhood cats, feeding birds, bird identification, swifts at Agate Hall, building a bird house, buying bird seed, buying binoculars, and more. But for the past several years some of the most common and desperate calls have been concerning the reduction or even total lack of birds in their yards.

President's Message: Allen Prigge Remembered

We just learned of the passing of Allen Prigge on December 30th. He was 97 years old. A longtime Eugene-area birder, he had been a member and supporter of Lane County Audubon since the beginning. Starting in 1973, Al managed and maintained more than 300 bluebird boxes in and around Eugene. Many local Western Bluebirds are descendants of birds that nested successfully in Al’s boxes. 

From Our President: Giving and Gratitude

I want to express my gratitude for many levels of support Lane County Audubon Society (LCAS) receives from our members and volunteers. 

Every November we send our annual donation request to support our education, conservation, and outreach programs. Our members always respond generously to this request, and we are deeply grateful for the continued support of many people. Lane Audubon thanks you, members, for your financial support!

From Our President: Summer to Fall Transition—Reminders of Earth’s Rhythms

Lane County enjoyed wondrous weather this summer. We had blue skies, moderate temperatures, and small amounts of rain at intervals, keeping the deciduous plants lush and green through August. Now that fall has arrived, we will see the progression of fall colors in the leaves. Fall colors in Oregon are not as famous as those of the northeast, but the stately backdrop of evergreen trees creates a contrast for the yellows and oranges of our deciduous canopy of ash, alder, oak, willow, and big-leaf maple. The understory of vine maple and poison oak adds splashes of reds.

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