Due to the continuing emergency response to the COVID-19 virus, our in-person member meetings, field trips and hikes and most other activities have been cancelled until further notice. This includes the offer of personal field trips for future donations to Skagit Audubon Society of $100 or more. We will update this notice and resume activities when the government health authorities say that it is safe to do so.
MAY MEETING – PRESENTED ON ZOOM
“Birds of the Amazon: Ecological Research & Conservation in the SE Peruvian Amazon” Presented by Dr. Ursula Valdez Tuesday, May 11, 7:00 PM
The Peruvian Amazonia is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, and thousands of species are distributed in this region. Unfortunately, many bird species and their habitats in the region have been affected by deforestation, agriculture expansion, and illegal mining. Dr. Valdez and her colleagues assess the bird populations, their distribution among available habitats, and the related impacts of human activities. Dr. Valdez will share some of her research findings, and she will explain how these studies are also helping to engage people from Peru and other regions in science, conservation, education, and sustainability.
Dr. Valdez is a Peruvian-American Avian tropical ecologist and conservationist. She focuses on studies of bird community ecology, habitat use and works in conservation programs in the SE Peruvian Amazon. She collaborates with other scientists and professionals and local communities of Madre de Dios to develop conservation programs. At UW Bothell, through her courses, and field study abroad to Peru, she offers opportunities to connect her students with a body of local and international researchers, conservation organizations and students working on ecology, natural history field research and conservation.
Preregistration is required and is limited to 100 attendees. Please only one registrant per household. After you register you will receive an email with the link to sign in at the time of the event. Questions? Please contact email@example.com.
If you missed the April 13th presentation “A Dead Tree’s Excellent Adventure” by Ken Bevis or want to watch it again, a recording is now available for viewing at the following link: https://youtu.be/TDvPQw1ih-k.
Conservation Report - May 2021
By Tim Manns
Last year, the Washington State legislature passed, and Governor Inslee signed House Bill 2311, “Amending state greenhouse gas emission limits for consistency with the most recent assessment of climate change science.” This law sets a schedule for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our state to, “By 2050 … achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.” The scale, pace, and consequences of climate change call for immediate, determined, and multi-faceted approaches at every level: local, state, national, international. We’ve dithered long enough. In the 2021 state legislative session, to meet the legislated reduction targets multiple bills were introduced to cut carbon emissions and otherwise address climate change. The session ends April 25th, and tragically, despite dogged work by many organizations and individuals, the Governor’s staunch support, and for the most part, majority buy-in in both chambers, at this mid-April writing, it appears no significant climate change bill will reach the Governor’s desk - - another year lost! We all know there are State Representatives and Senators who reject the abundant evidence of anthropogenic climate change and/or the urgency to do anything. It is more than mildly unfortunate that some of the people elected to represent Skagit Audubon members not only see no need to act but apply their creativity and energy to actively opposing others working on this huge problem. How will they explain this to their children and grandchildren who will deal with the consequences?
Despite passing both House and Senate, the Clean Fuels Standard is, through some mysterious process beyond my understanding, now tied up with wrangling over the transportation budget and is likely to die, having made it so close to enactment after years of effort. Similarly bogged down are bills to create a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions or a carbon tax generating revenue to speed transition from fossil fuels. All these approaches have succeeded elsewhere in reducing carbon emissions, but here where we like to think ourselves more environmentally attuned, our legislature is hamstrung by those who choose to oppose and obstruct fellow legislators trying to solve real problems. Even a modest bill to require that county and city comprehensive plans address effects of climate change died in committee.
In the face of such a discouraging picture, for the sake of our mental health and the good of the planet we have to find what we can personally do. For most of us that means acting locally. Here we may find a basis for hope. That there is some possibility of national action on climate change after four disastrous years is certainly welcome though far from a done deal. At the opposite end of the geographic scale comes great news of a success many of you helped bring about. Skagit Land Trust has bought the 50 acres on Samish Flats between Padilla and Samish Bays mentioned in last month’s Skagit Flyer, adding to the 8,000 acres the Trust has protected in our county. There are loans to repay, confirmation of a big grant yet to come, and donations needed to clean up and restore the property, but the big hurdle of acquisition is done. Bit by bit, organizations we can all support are making a positive difference in protecting habitat and providing for resilience to climate change. We do what we can, at whatever scale we’re able, realizing that some of our elected leaders will all too often not act in our best interests, or even ultimately their own.
We’re in the midst of beautiful Spring weather (if a bit ominously warm some days). Neotropical birds are returning to reclaim their summer homes and raise young. A rarely seen Ruff is adding to the excitement of the season at Wylie Slough. Here in western Washington, we’re blessed with abundant opportunities to experience the natural world, to get involved with community science and habitat restoration, and to protect this place we inhabit. Elections for public office will roll around again.
For information on other issues Skagit Audubon is tracking go to “Conservation Notes” under the “Conservation” tab on the chapter’s website (www.skagitaudubon.org). Please particularly look at local issues where we each have a greater chance of making a difference.
FROM YOUR EDITOR - May 21, by Mary Sinker
Are you excited for spring migration and nesting season? Once again the cycle begins as millions of birds leave their wintering grounds in the Southern Hemisphere and make their way northward. Some will remain here and raise their young, Western Tanagers, Common Yellowthroats and Rufous Hummingbirds are just three examples. Others, like Western Sandpipers and Whimbrels, will stay and feed for a few days or weeks before continuing their journey north, some going as far north as the Arctic.
As much fun as the long-distance migrants are, there are many species who hardly ever leave our yards! American Robins are year-round residents here and often remarkably tolerant of human activity near their nesting sites. Song Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, Steller’s Jays, and Black-capped Chickadees are just a few of our common avian friends who are selecting homesites and raising families without ever leaving our zip code.
Although these birds choose to raise their families close to us, it is important to remember that they need their space. If we spend too much time trying to closely observe a nest, we may alert a predator to its location. If we make too much noise or leave unnecessary lights on near a nest, the parents may choose to abandon the eggs and/or young. Binoculars and longer camera lenses can be our best friends during nesting season – enjoy the spring!
WHO TO CALL FOR SICK OR INJURED BIRDS OR WILDLIFE
San Juan, Skagit and Northern Whidbey Island: Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, located on San Juan Island, serves these areas and can be reached 24/7 by phone at 360.378.5000. Visit their website at www.wolfhollowwildlife.org for more info.
Snohomish County: Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, located in Arlington, serves Snohomish County and can be reached by phone at 360.435.4817. Visit their website at www.sarveywildlife.org for more info.
Snohomish County: PAWS, located in Lynnwood, serves Snohomish County and for wildlife concerns can be reached by phone at 425.412.4040 or 425.787.2500 ext. 817. Visit their website at www.paws.org for more info.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.