Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:00 Social; 7:30 Program Padilla Bay Interpretive Center 10441 Bayview-Edison Road Mt. Vernon, Washington
One of my retirement passions is making videos, particularly for nonprofits that need but can’t afford to hire the expensive process. In 2012 Ora and I volunteered to make a video of the four seasons of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns OR.
MNWR is a major rest and refuel place in the most northern end of the Great Basin, a central part of the Pacific Flyway. Especially in the spring migration, runoff from surrounding mountains fills the many lakes and ponds and farmers purposefully flood fields to saturate the ground, attracting huge numbers of migrating birds, especially waterfowl. But all of the seasons have their unique colors, moods, sounds and wildlife behaviors. To enhance this multisensory experience Ora composed musical themes for the Malheur and each season, then organized a local wind trio to perform the music accompaniment.
The video will be for sale with all proceeds going to Friends of the MNWR.
Conservation Report, March 2018
By Tim Manns
As the March issue of The Skagit Flyer appears, the Washington State Legislature’s session will be just a week from its scheduled March 8th finish. At this writing in mid-February, several of Audubon Washington’s legislative priorities are still in play: banning new Atlantic salmon net pens and phasing out existing leases, establishing a 100% clean energy standard for power production, putting a price on carbon pollution, and more. For current information, go to Audubon Washington State Director Gail Gatton’s reports at http://wa.audubon.org/conservation/legislative-session-2018.
Preserve the Migratory Bird Treaty Act: At the national level, Audubon’s top two Congressional priorities need support from all of us. First is fending off attempts by the administration and Congress to weaken what National Audubon calls “America’s cornerstone bird conservation law.” This is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA), passed a century ago in the same year the last Carolina parakeet died. Since the extinction of that beautiful native North American bird, the MBTA has provided the only protection for over 900 bird species not covered by other laws. The act implemented a treaty with Canada and later Mexico, Japan, and Russia. It protects birds by making it unlawful to kill, hunt, sell, or possess most native avian species in the U.S., along with their nests, eggs, and feathers, without a permit.
There are many modern threats to birds such as colliding with communications towers, power lines, and wind machines; becoming fouled by oil spills and in oil waste pits; being poisoned by pesticides; and more. Under the MBTA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service requires industry and utility companies to take reasonable measures to limit bird deaths as much as possible. Hence, you see the “firefly” devices which Puget Sound Energy fastens to power lines in Skagit County to help swans avoid them, and you see devices atop power poles to prevent raptors from electrocution when they perch. Under the act, BP is paying a $100 million dollar fine for the over one million birds killed by the Deepwater Horizon spill, funds that will help restore damaged wetlands. Last December, the administration issued a radically different interpretation of the MBTA departing from the consensus understanding of many years and exempting all unintentional deaths of birds. And now in Congress, H.R. 4239, the SECURE American Energy Act, has language to make this interpretation permanent, removing
any accountability for industrial activities that kill birds and erasing any incentive to prevent bird deaths.
This is the greatest threat to our most important bird protection measure in its hundred-year history. Please add your voice by urging your Member of Congress to uphold a strong MBTA. There’s an easy way to do this via the National Audubon Action Center: go to www.audubon.org/takeaction. Then click on “Defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.”
Renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund: The other top National Audubon priority for Congress this year is renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) before it expires September 30th. Since its bi-partisan establishment by Congress in 1965, the LWCF has been the main source of federal funds for acquiring public lands ranging from national to state, county, and city parks and other protected areas and recreational sites and facilities. Every state and almost every county in the U.S. has benefitted. The money comes almost entirely from fees paid for existing off-shore oil and gas leases. It’s no surprise, unfortunately, that there are those in political power today who oppose the very notion of public lands ownership even though as population grows, the need for places to experience the natural world and to recreate becomes ever greater.
You can see the state and local park projects the LWCF has paid for in Skagit County at http://projects.invw.org/data/lwcf/grants-wa.html. The Fund has also made multiple additions here to North Cascades National Park and to the Skagit Wild & Scenic River System, managed by the U.S. Forest Service. In Washington, state funds are used to match LWCF money and do even more for state and local parks. Many of these public areas protect important habitat for birds and other wildlife while also providing diverse benefits for
people. To allow the destruction of this program with its long, bi-partisan history of success would be a tragic mistake for which future generations would, and should, hold us accountable.
What can you do? Urge our senators and members of Congress to support permanent reauthorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by cosponsoring H.R.502/S.569. Go to http://www.audubon.org/takeaction and click on “Support Land and Water Conservation” or, better yet, call them or send your own email or letter.
Additional conservation issues: For information on additional conservation issues of concern to Skagit Audubon, see the Conservation Notes posted on the chapter website: http://skagitaudubon.org/ at the conservation tab.
The Education Committee needs volunteers to help with a number of adult presentations coming up in the next several months. These Power Point presentations are scheduled at libraries and private organizations/clubs in the area. If you can help give part of a presentation (already written), that would be great; or, you can assist with the computer and help answer questions from the audience. If you can lend a hand, please contact Sheila at email@example.com
GARDENING FOR BIRDS – Attracting Birds to the Garden March 2018
BY JANE BRANDT with photo of Anna’s Hummingbird by Joe Halton
Evergreen Winter Blooming Nonnative Plants to Supply Nectar for Anna’s Hummingbirds
Mahonia x media---'Arthur Menzies’ and ‘Charity’. Shrubs up to 15 feet tall with large sprays of yellow flowers.
Arbutus unedo --- may grow to 25 feet. Native to the Mediterranean region, and related to the Pacific Madrone. Clusters of small white/pink urn shaped flowers.
Arbutus unedo compacta---cultivar up to 10 feet
Sarcococca species---heavily scented clusters of small white flowers starting to bloom December/January
Sarcococca ruscifolia----up to three feet tall and Sarcococca humilis-----12-18 inches tall
Hellebores---nectar supplier during initial bloom period. Varieties bloom from December through spring.
PUBLIC COMMENT DEADLINE MARCH 9TH
Proposed 5-Year National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (this includes Washington State)
If you see a dead, sick, or injured swan, call the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 24-hour hotline: (360) 466-4345, ext. 266. Do not handle the bird. Leave a short, detailed message with your name and phone number plus the location and condition of the swan(s). WDFW collects information to assess the impact of lead poisoning and power line collisions, the main causes of accidental swan deaths.
Skagit Audubon Society holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month except for the months of July and August. We meet at 7:00 pm at Padilla Bay Interpretive Center(Google map), 10441 Bayview-Edison Rd. Mount Vernon. Meetings are open to all.
The board of directors meets at the same location at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month, except for the months of July and August.