A Bald Eagle Speaks to the Moon -Photo by Kevin Ebi
Tuesday, March 14 ,2017 7:00 Social; 7:30 Program Padilla Bay Interpretive Center 10441 Bayview-Edison Road
Nature photographer KevinEbi documented a year in the lives of Puget Sound area Bald Eagles ~ one of the few eagle populations that doesn’t migrate. In his presentation, based on his book, “Year the Eagle,” you will see how they develop and learn to fly, survive their first winter in the upper Skagit, and learn how to hunt in the Hood Canal.
Kevin is a professional nature photographer, whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Smithsonian, and National Wildlife. His image of Haleakala National Park was featured on a Forever postage stamp commemorating the National Park Service centennial.
Conservation Report, March 2017
By Tim Manns
I’m writing this report February 17th, Day 40 of the Washington State Legislative Session, which will extend to April 23rd and likely beyond. Today is significant as the cut-off for many bills to be either voted out of committee or die. Several especially troublesome ones are meeting the latter fate. One would have required state land managing agencies to sell an acre for every new acre purchased. This would have ended all hope for buying replacement timber lands to save the Blanchard State Forest core. Another introduced bill would have, contrary to the state’s constitution, required ceding all our nationally owned lands in Washington to the state, potentially for ultimate sale. Even Mount Rainier National Park? Yes, that too. Such crazy (to me and maybe you too) bills have little chance of passing, but even in Washington State, which we like to think of as a bulwark of truth, justice, and common sense, the legislature is delicately balanced. Legislators who fail to put the public good first sometimes back down when enough citizens speak out early and often against such radical raids on the public good.
On the national scene every day brings new, dramatic, and often alarming events. Attempts to gut the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are perennial but truly alarming under the new conditions in Washington, D.C. It’s essential to preserve this 44-year old act at the heart of accomplishing Audubon’s mission. Please add your name via National Audubon’s website in opposition to destroying the ESA (http://www.audubon.org/takeaction). Better yet, contact your legislators directly.
The Endangered Species Act has everything to do with why we readily spot Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles in Skagit County. And it’s the reason the Marbled Murrelet cannot simply be ignored by the Washington Department of Natural Resources in managing forested state trust lands. The murrelet is listed as threatened under the federal ESA. Under Washington’s own equivalent law the Fish & Wildlife Commission changed the bird’s listing to “endangered” just last December. Yet, without the federal listing, there would be far less pressure on DNR to not simply ignore the demise of this forest-nesting seabird and just maximize revenue from timber cutting. Through March 9, you can submit comments on DNR’s draft Environmental Impact Statement for how it manages Marbled Murrelet nesting habitat (i.e. old forest), much of it on state trust lands (http://www.dnr.wa.gov/mmltcs). Modeling shows that none of the EIS’s 6 alternatives will reverse the bird’s decline. Let me know if you would like to learn about the “Conservation Alternative” prepared by organizations, including Audubon, working for a positive outcome from DNR’s planning.
Without the federal ESA, the grizzly bear would almost certainly be at or near extinction in the lower 48 states and possibly the gray wolf, orca, and many salmon runs too. The long-delayed draft EIS for restoring grizzlies to the North Cascades Ecosystem, where a mere 5 may still exist in 6 million acres of U.S. and Canadian wilderness, closes for public comment on March 14 (https://www.nps.gov/noca/grizzly.htm). The most likely alternative’s 60 to 100-year time line for bringing the bear population to 200 reflects the species’ low reproductive rate and the care agency scientists and resource managers are taking. The grizzly is an umbrella species: by providing for its habitat needs, we accommodate many other species. Audubon members have the broad ethical perspective of people who recognize the rights of other species to exist and possess the willingness to accommodate them. Let’s speak out for the country and the world we want.
President's Message, March 2017
By Irene Perry
The Spirit of Skagit Audubon
I recently had the opportunity to volunteer at a local festival where I represented Skagit Audubon. It was of course a cold and rainy morning. This event attracted all birding skill levels, but particularly beginners. So with binoculars in hand and a scope set up nearby, I was ready to be enthusiastic for any birds, from the common Song Sparrow to the seldom seen American Bittern. Given the habitat, I wasn't surprised to see these two birds. What did surprise me were the many questions about Skagit Audubon.
A visiting millennial was the first to ask, “What makes Skagit Audubon different?” I didn't hesitate and answered, “It is the welcoming spirit of our chapter.” She asked me to elaborate. “Skagit Audubon welcomes all people who care about protecting habitats and wildlife. You don't have to be an expert birder to join. In fact, many of our members are not birders. Some are interested in hikes or monthly programs. We have members focused on conservation and legislative issues. Of course, if you are interested in birding, our field trips are a great way to connect with people of all birding levels who areeager to share their knowledge and experiences with you. That's what makes us a chapter and not a birding club.”
Having lived in seven different states and made a point of joining birding groups even when traveling, there is a big difference between a welcoming chapter and a bird club. First, a welcoming chapter makes you feel like you're part of something special. A club makes you feel like you need to know a certain code or pass a test to join. I've felt like an “outsider” with different groups and it's not fun. That's the difference. Skagit Audubon activities are fun, learning experiences where you have the opportunity to build friendships.
A gentleman nearby was overhearing the conversation. He turned to me and said, “Well I must confess, I used to be a duck hunter. Would Skagit Audubon welcome me?” After laughing, I replied, “Of course! Most duck hunters I've met are very interested in protecting habitat.”
I have a confession to make too. I checked out Skagit Audubon before I joined several years ago. I went on a field trip which the newsletter said was opened to nonmembers and all levels of birders. I felt the welcoming spirit of Skagit Audubon on that very first encounter. Okay, but how would I feel at a monthly meeting and program? Yes, that same friendly atmosphere.
I would like to thank this chapter for making me feel welcome and inviting me to join. I strive to extend a welcoming spirit to all members and visitors to Skagit Audubon. Even on cold, rainy mornings when I'm on a field trip looking at Song Sparrows, I smile and say, “Welcome, I am from Skagit Audubon.”
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.