From Our President: Why I Love Birding … and Birders!

There are many reasons to love birding. It keeps your mind and senses active. Listening, observing, 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!

Conservation Column: History of the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count and How the Data Is Used Today

How the Count Started

Prior to the turn of the 20th century, hunters engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas Side Hunt. They would choose sides and go afield with their guns. Whichever team brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.

Conservation awareness was just in its beginning stages then, as many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer in the then-nascent Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition—a Christmas Bird Census that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them. So began the Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Thanks to the inspiration of Chapman and the enthusiasm of 27 dedicated birders, 25 Christmas Bird Counts were held that day. Locations ranged from Toronto, Ontario, to Pacific Grove, California, with most counts in or near the population centers of northeastern North America. The combined tally of the original 27 Christmas Bird Counters came to around 90 species. 

In the present, from December 14 through January 5 each year, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas brave snow, wind, or rain to take part in the effort. 

January 24th, 2017 Program Meeting - Steens Mountain--A Cooperative Framework for Managing a Vast and Exceptional Natural Resource

John F. Helmer will speak about the Steens Mountain area in Eastern Oregon, its origins, history, recreational highlights, and management. John is the Recreation Representative to the Steens Mountain Advisory Council, a group composed of land owners, environmentalists, ranchers, the Burns Paiute tribe, and others advising the BLM on creative approaches to managing 428,000 acres of public land in Harney County. Come hear about this unique and wild Oregon treasure, hot topics for the coming year, and how you can influence its future.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 7:30pm
Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High St

Good Earth Show, January 20-22, 2017-Visit the LCAS Booth!

LCAS will showcase local birding opportunities and our organization’s many bird-related educational activities at the 12th annual Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show January 20-22, 2017, at the Lane Events Convention Center at the Fairgrounds in Eugene.

Put this event on your calendar now—the show features hundreds of environmentally friendly vendors and offers dozens of helpful seminars and workshops throughout its three-day run.

2016 Mushroom Festival Booth Staffers Shine

Lane County Audubon Society was on hand at Mt. Pisgah’s annual Mushroom Festival on Sunday, October 30, 2016. Our staffers answered festival-goers’ bird-related questions and let them know about LCAS’s bird walks, bird talks, and other educational outreach programs. Booth staffers Flo Alvergue, Connie Berglund, Sally O’Donnell, Janie Thomas, and Susanne Twight-Alexander did a great job of welcoming visitors to our booth. Special thanks go to Connie Berglund for arranging our display materials before the booth opened Sunday morning.

If you’d like to help spread the word about LCAS’s contributions to the community, volunteering to staff the booth for a two-hour shift at local events once or twice a year is an easy way to get involved. No experience is necessary; new volunteers are paired up with an experienced booth staffer to make the learning process easy. For more information, e-mail Ron Renchler at

Audubon in the Schools Instructors

Would you like to teach elementary school students about birds? The Audubon in the Schools program sends teams of volunteer instructors into the schools to teach third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students both science and art using bird specimens, feathers, bones, and nests. No teaching experience or artistic talent is required. All you need is an interest in teaching children and a few hours a month. You can check out the program by sitting in on a class.