As many of you know, BHAS is a long-time supporter of prairie-oak woodland conservation. We were a partner with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in acquiring the original 810 acres at West Rocky Prairie from Citifor in 2004. At that time, WDFW wanted to purchase the entire property but half was sold to the Port of Tacoma (POT). The POT has proposed different development options that have failed for a variety of reasons including public opposition, and that the Port of Olympia has not granted an interlocal agreement for the POT to operate in Thurston County. Consequently, the POT is marketing the property for sale. WDFW has made an appraisal-based offer to purchase 745 acres but the POT has refused the offer. BHAS will send letters to both ports supporting this acquisition.

For background information on the 2016 Expanded Project Description, click on the links below.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife WWRP Urban Wildlife 16 –1350A Expanded Project Description

Map of Project Area

We think that letters from BHAS will have greater impact if individuals sign on. You can read the BHAS letter by clicking on the link below. If you support this conservation effort, please send an email with your first and last name and indicate whether you are a member or friend to Elizabeth Rodrick, vice-pres@nullblackhills-audubon.org.



Washington Environmental Council

Are you interested in environmental activism? Are you concerned about endangered species here in Washington? There’s an opportunity for you to make a difference without ever leaving Olympia.

Every Tuesday of the month, the Department of Natural Resources meets in Olympia to make decisions about how our state forests are managed and how to conserve habitat for endangered species like the Marbled Murrelet.

Washington Environmental Council is looking for students and teachers who want to speak out against unsustainable logging on our state lands. Contact Arianne Jaco at WEC for more information.

Email: arianne@nullwecprotects.org

PH: 903-816-1271

Burt’s Birds (May 2017) – Vireos are not warblers

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Photo Dan Pancamo

Everyone who is aware of the birds that breed in North American woodlands and prairies knows that our lands are hosts to a delightful array of little songbirds. They commonly show up searching for insects and bits of vegetative food on the trees and bushes, often flashing wonderful bright colors. Some of the most colorful are warblers. Western Washingtonians delight in the ever-present Yellow-rumped Warblers, the surprisingly dull Orange-crowned (whose crown you cannot see), the Yellow, Black-throated Gray, MacGillivray’s, Wilson’s, Townsend’s even in the winter, and Yellowthroats in the marshes. While searching for their ubiquitous insect food, they mostly display the bright yellows copyrighted by their family, but have the most uncooperative habit of slipping behind clumps of leaves just as you’re trying to get them in your binocular field. Those of us with good ears find them by voice and delight in their songs, such as the Yellow’s sweet-sweet-sweet, I’m so sweet.

But the same habitats are also home to another family, the vireos. They differ from warblers in several ways important to birders. For instance, while warblers appear nervous, always moving quickly, vireos are slower, more deliberate as they forage in trees and bushes. A brief study of the plates in your field guide will show how very plain they are in contrast to bright warbler plumages, several with a wingbars-and-spectacles pattern or with prominent eyestripes. Feeding on insects, they sometimes fly out to grab one out of the air, but also feed on berries. Kenn Kaufman notes that male vireos are persistent singers who repeat their monotonous songs endlessly, even in the heat of the day or while incubating eggs in the nest.

Warblers feel like expected and always appreciated delights of a spring birdwalk, but somehow spotting a vireo makes the walk special and memorable. (by Burt Guttman, Photo – courtesy Dan Pancamo)