We have been hearing owls in the evening at our property in the forested area southwest of Eugene. In all of the 22 years we have lived here, Great Horned Owls have nested nearby. Before sundown and into the evening, deep hoots echo through Fox Hollow; the deeper voice is the male and the higher pitched hoots are the larger female. Breeding season has already begun for this species, even though the landscape is wet and the temperatures wintery. Those deep hoots are communicating territory claims as well as courtship and pair bonding—annual rituals for the pair that mates for life.
Great Horned Owls start nesting in January, raising their families in the depths of winter. Like other owls, they do not build their own nests, but take over the abandoned homes of other species, including squirrels, ravens, herons, and Red-tailed Hawks.
The Oregon Audubon Council (OAC) met in Sutherlin, Oregon, on November 7. In attendance were representatives from eight chapters around the state as well as regional representatives of National Audubon. The goals of the OAC meetings are to bring together state chapter members, discuss conservation issues of concern, and determine how we can best help make a difference. Although each chapter focuses on concerns as they come up throughout the year, conference participants identified priority issues that would benefit from a coordinated effort by multiple chapters. We’ve addressed many of these issues previously. The issues and our goals are outlined below. (For more information, please contact email@example.com).
- Klamath National Wildlife Refuges: Ensure that these important wildlife refuges on the Pacific Flyway receive adequate water in both the short and long term.
- Lake Abert (Oregon’s only saltwater lake, an important stopover for migratory birds and part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network): Engage with conservation partners to help determine the reasons the lake dried out and explore opportunities to restore it.
If you haven’t returned the donation envelope included in the November issue of The Quail or gone online to show your support for Lane County Audubon Society during our annual fund drive, you can still do so. Simply mail your tax-deductible gift to LCAS, PO Box 5086, Eugene, OR 97405. (Make checks payable to Lane County Audubon Society.) If you prefer to use your credit card through our online donation page, visit http://laneaudubon.org/support/donate to complete the transaction.
This year marks the 74th Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) and the 116th National Audubon Society (NAS) Christmas Bird Count. The ECBC this year will be on Sunday, January 3, 2016. Our 15-mile diameter count circle is centered in the Danebo area of Eugene and is divided into 27 areas, each with a Team Leader. The Team Leaders organize the teams, lead the groups through the area during the count day, and then submit the results to the ECBC Steering Committee.
Dick Lamster is the Count Coordinator, and he will work with NAS on the administrative tasks of the count. He will also coordinate with the Team Leaders, handle publicity, cowrite the postcount narrative, and assign new participants to teams. If you want to participate this year and were not on a team last year or you want to change teams, call Dick at 541.343.8664. Otherwise, call your Team Leader from last year (although he or she might be calling you soon).
Eugene Natural History Society and Lane County Audubon Society are cosponsoring “Owls,” a presentation by Paul Bannick on Friday, December 11. Paul is an accomplished public speaker with many keynotes to his credit. His programs combine breathtaking photos, compelling audio, and an engaging style that keeps audiences entertained. Paul contributed the stunning images for Journey with the Owls by David Evers and Kate Taylor, published last summer. The book is available at www.briwildfeathers.org/product-p/owl.htm.
Noah Stryker, Eugene/Creswell native and local bird nerd, is nearing the end of his year-long birding adventure. During his international big year, he has recorded sightings of well over 5,000 bird species, breaking the world record for species seen in one year, which was 4,341. Noah has documented his trip in his blog, Birding Without Borders, hosted by National Audubon. Check it out at http://mag.audubon.org/articles/birds/welcome-birding-without-borders. His blog reflects the intellect, humor, creativity, curiosity, stamina, and deep love of nature that he brought to this project.
The Lane County Audubon Society booth will be part of the 11th Annual Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show to be held on January 22–24 at the Convention Center at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene.
The show is one of the most popular annual events promoting sustainability in Lane County. This year’s show will feature more than 225 exhibits and 65 seminars covering the amazing variety of earth-friendly products and services in our area. The hours are 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free with a canned food donation to benefit FOOD for Lane County. For more information, visit https://eugenehomeshow.com/our-shows/good-earth-home-garden-living-show/.
Tim Blount, Executive Director of Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, will give a photo-rich presentation on birding at Malheur NWR and the surrounding area. Malheur is known throughout the birding world as one of the top places to bird in North America. Tim will highlight the birds found there each season as well as the vagrants that somehow make their way to the migrant traps of Harney County.