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In an age of earbuds and iPhones, I often feel strangely alone as I walk (with some intermittent jogging) along the bike paths and pedestrian trails around Eugene and Springfield. With today’s take-it-wherever-you-go media, it sometimes seems that everyone else using the path is plugged into a more private world of music or news. Am I really the only one listening to the birds and watching for them?

Along the Willamette River, for example, I’ve seen Bald Eagles flying low toward their nesting site on Skinner Butte, Great Blue Herons about to nab an unsuspecting fish, Ospreys hovering overhead, secretive Green Herons, and a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers sitting on a fallen log hanging out over the water, exactly like the illustration in my field guide where I looked them up a little bit later. Even the unmelodic calls of common birds, such as Northern Flickers, Scrub Jays, and Stellar’s Jays, become music to my ears.

What’s music to my ears, too, is hearing from others about their enjoyment of the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. Not unexpectedly, one of my favorite parts of LCAS’s monthly program meeting is the birding report, where we all name the birds we saw during the month. During these reports, our interest in birds becomes visceral, palpable.

That’s one of the main reasons why I am a member of LCAS, and I’m sure many other members feel the same way. We value the simple but rich experience of seeing something, knowing what it is, and identifying with it. 

But LCAS offers much more than just the pleasures of bird watching. Our many education and conservation programs are meant to help everyone in the community become more knowledgeable about the value of birds and their habitats. As LCAS’s treasurer, it’s my honor each year to ask for your continued financial support for our outreach efforts. Please use the enclosed envelope to send your tax-deductible donation, or contribute online at

Thank you in advance for your support—and happy birding along the way.