Chirps Article

Birding Backpack Program Update – “People really love this program”

In February 2018, the Black Hills Audubon Society began partnering with the Timberland Regional Libraries to provide birding opportunities for individuals and families who otherwise lack the resources to go birding. Donated to TRL were 3 Family Birding Backpacks, each pack containing 2 pair of binoculars, 2 field guides to birds, laminated sheets describing local wildflowers and trees, Great Birding Trail maps for Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties, instruction on how to bird and how to use binoculars, and lists of less well-known local birding sites.

TRL Collection Manager Andrea Heisel says “People really love this program,” and reports that the backpacks have been checked out 21 times. One borrower wrote this on her feedback form, “Checking this out changed my life and reawakened my eyes to the sublime pleasures of birding!”

Purple Martin Bird Box Project

Pictured are Purple Martins on two of the newest boxes #40 and 41 and on three of the oldest boxes H2-H3. Two years ago BHAS arranged for installation of 34 new boxes in addition to the 12 older white boxes already there and built by Peter Hahn. After two years of monitoring we found that the birds did not use the newer boxes for nesting. We believed that the box design did not meet the birds’ needs.  This spring we removed the 34 boxes and installed six new boxes built by Hank Henry to meet the design from Washington Fish and Wildlife.

This year, as of May 24 there are 23 purple martins at the Boston Harbor colony.  They appear interested in both kinds of boxes though haven’t started nesting.  Last year a similar number of adults produced seven fledglings.