Articles

Conservation Column: Diseases Respect No Boundaries

I hope that everybody is safe and well as we deal with this devastating pandemic. Turns out that many of the conservation issues that have been on our radar for years are associated with pandemics. Zoonotic (zōe’nätik) diseases are caused by pathogens that jump from other species to us. They can be particularly problematic because we have no previous immunity.

Armchair Birding

By Ron Renchler

Although we all may wish otherwise, it’s quite possible that the statewide stay-at-home order issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic will still be in effect by the time you receive this issue of The Quail. The pandemic has all of us in an unfamiliar spot—staying at home as much as possible and keeping a distance of at least six feet between friends and strangers alike. Although bird watching, especially backyard birding, is still possible as an outdoor activity, we are all probably spending more time indoors than we’d like. 

But indoor time is great for armchair birding, especially given all the helpful online resources made possible by current technologies. If you have access to a mobile phone or computer and wi-fi, you can use some of your indoor time to explore and learn more about our fine feathered friends.

Lane County Audubon’s website has a Resources tab (laneaudubon.org/resources) where you can start your adventure. This page has links on a variety of topics, including Field Notes (monthly, going back to 2001), Christmas Bird Count Reports (annually, also going back to 2001), Vaux’s Swift Information, Birding Eugene (links to several birding locations in our area), Mt. Pisgah Arboretum Bird List, LCAS Informational Handouts (handouts produced by LCAS over the years), and Web Links.  (cont.)

Conservation Column: April 2020 Annual Bee Report

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. 

Volunteers and Binoculars Needed

Administrative Assistant

Lane Audubon would like a volunteer who could serve as an Administrative Assistant for Board responsibilities. Requisite skills include the ability to use typical word processing, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint. Since we do not have a physical office, working from home would be required.

FMI: please contact Maeve Sowles at audubon@laneaudubon.org or 541.343.8664.

Binoculars Needed

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. 

AITS Scheduler 

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 audubon@laneaudubon.org or 541.343.8664. 

Conservation Column: Ideas—Good and Bad

“The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away.” – Linus Pauling

We’ve all heard the expression “There’s no such thing as a bad idea,” but I think many would disagree. Unfortunately, on the environmental front, many bad ideas have recently been proposed. Thankfully, many of these ideas have not been implemented. I list a few below. 

2019 Eugene Christmas Bird Count

by Dick Lamster, Count Coordinator

For the second time in a row, the Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC) had good weather! The 27 teams of observers looked for birds for the 78th ECBC on Sunday, December 29, 2019, with no ice, no snow, and no wind. The sun even came out for a short time, and just to remind us it was December in Oregon, it did rain for a little while in the mid-afternoon.

Conservation Column: Oregon Audubon Council 2019: Take-aways

In early November, Lane County Audubon hosted the 2019 Oregon Audubon Council (OAC) in Eugene. In attendance were representatives from nine of the twelve Oregon chapters as well as representatives from Washington State Audubon. The goal of the annual OAC meetings is to bring together state chapter members in order to discuss conservation concerns, to receive progress updates on ongoing issues, and to determine how we can best help to make a difference. 

Conservation Column: How Can We Do a Better Job of Protecting Birds?

An article published in the journal Science this month revealed that bird populations in North America have declined by 29 percent since 1970. That’s a loss of about 3 billion birds! These population declines were documented in common bird species as well as species of concern. Indeed, people in our community have been contacting Lane County Audubon for years with concerns about the disappearance of many favorite backyard birds.

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