By Jeff Osmundson
Last month we talked briefly about sharing the field, farm, and forest with our hunting friends. That is important, but as one of our members found out recently, we should be aware how others may be treating our resources. A Skagit Audubon member noticed a rare bird for our area, an Emperor Goose pair, but also saw a nearby hunter shoot and take one of the pair. Apparently there were enough observers in the area that the hunters were caught and cited for taking the goose that was not listed as a harvest species and hunting geese out of an open season. The incident highlights our responsibility to steward our area and resources. On our SAS web page, the splash banner states, “Watching birds, protecting habitat, connecting with nature”. We each have our own comfort level when it comes to sharing our resources. If you experience unsafe shooting, illegal activity or people harassing wildlife, with gun or camera, an article by Martha Jordan elsewhere in this newsletter may give you some options.
On a completely different topic, we were told this month that the Padilla Bay center where we have traditionally held our member and business meetings will be open for business in 2022. There is, however, a 30-person limit, which is considerably less than we have had for our presentations. There were also several presentations put together by the Program Committee for our meetings on Zoom this past year with many presenters who would not normally be willing to travel to the Padilla Bay center. Your Board members are already looking into the feasibility of hybrid meetings for both in person and online attendance. We are in the early stages but are very hopeful that this is something we can offer in the New Year. Your part will be to think about whether you are comfortable getting back together, if you like the Zoom presentations, if you think a hybrid model that would allow a mix of in-person and remote attendees and presenters would be worth pursuing, and if you feel there are meetings where it just makes more sense to keep it all remote. I’m thinking about some of the dark and wet winter months when many folks prefer to limit travel in the evenings. Hold those thoughts….The Board has not yet decided to do a formal poll or survey but that may be coming.
We also know that there are folks out there more familiar with the technology we would need to use. If you think that you can help out with researching what would best suit us or setting it up, or using a camera for a live feed, or helping with electronic interfaces, we need you! Please feel free to contact me, John Day, Katherine O’Hara, or Carla Helm to see where you might fit in.
Field trips are starting again, we hope to see you with your binoculars out in the field very soon.
Thanks, and happy birding
Be safe, wear your mask, get fully vaccinated.