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Surfrider is hosting its second Washington Coast Leadership Academy

Surfrider is hosting its second Washington Coast Leadership Academy, dedicated to building an effective leadership network for Washington’s coastal areas. People that complete the course will be able to: work with all people, no matter whose “team” they are on; build communities on the basis of shared values; put themselves in places where conversations are happening; etc. This type of work – building communities by cultivating relationships established through shared values – is essential along the path towards sustainable conservation success. The company that put the program together is Context Partners, based out of Portland.

Please consider nominating someone from your network who may be interested in this type of work; emerging leaders from varied backgrounds are in particular demand. The program itself requires a monthly commitment (July – December; some virtual, some in-person); the training is free.

Additional questions should be directed to Casey Dennehy, Washington Coast Program Manager, cdennehy@nullsurfrider.org.

Surfrider Leadership Application Form 2017

Surfrider Washington Region

WEST ROCKY PRAIRIE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT!

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 is in negotiations with the POT to purchase 745 acres. 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.

Letter

 

New on the Webpage – Local “Birdy” Places

Check out Local “Birdy” Places under the Birding tab. This includes Bonnie Wood’s guide to local area birding places, information on Grass Lake Refuge by Jim Lynch, and a guide to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge by Phil Kelly.

Water in birds’ lives

As most of you know by now, six major avenues to making your yard (or other space) more bird friendly are to provide food, water, shelter, plus protection from toxins, from predators, and from window strikes. Water is perhaps the most important and beneficial of these needs, and one of the least costly, but one often overlooked here in the northwest; we always seem to have an abundance of water, so many bird lovers believe we don’t need to set out water for our local birds. That’s an unfortunate misconception, for our birds do need reliable water sources, especially during the summer and early fall. In addition, having a water source is probably the single best way to increase the variety of species frequenting your space, including species that feeders generally don’t attract—birds that don’t like seeds or are primarily insectivorous.

Birds, like most other terrestrial animals, need to drink to maintain adequate fluid levels in their bodies. Hatchlings, especially, need a lot of water, and frequently don’t get enough from their food, so parents must carry water to them, making numerous trips daily from water sources to the nest. To increase the water content of food, some birds, such as crows and ravens, commonly soak or “wash” food before feeding it to their young or eating it themselves. (Another reason that water attracts them.)

While everyone understands the need to consume water, we mammals may never have thought about the differences between avian and mammalian drinking. Since birds don’t sweat, they generally need to drink less water than mammals. But they do lose water when breathing, especially when panting to lose heat, and metabolic processes also use up water supplies. The mechanics of ingesting water also differ: with their soft, mobile lips and cheeks, mammals can suck up water and swallow it, but except for pigeons (who can suck up water), birds use one of two techniques. Most fill their beaks with water and then tilt their heads up so the water runs passively down their throats; those that frequently fly over water, such as swallows, scoop it up on the wing during a low pass.

Birds also need water for bathing; they bathe year-round, and during the summer may do so several times a day. Bathing seems to make preening more effective. Preening refers to the movements birds make when cleaning their feathers to remove dirt and parasites, distribute oils, and align the feathers and their barbs. Preening behaviors are common, and most birds preen several times a day. Most birds have a special gland, the preening or uropygial gland, that produces an oily, waxy substance that they spread as they preen; a few birds such as pigeons, owls, and raptors lack this gland and instead have special feathers that crumble into a powder that serves many of the functions of preening oil. Such preening powder doesn’t convey the same waterproofing benefits as oil, so birds that produce it are less likely to bathe in water than other birds. Research by Brilot and colleagues has shown that preening is more effective when preceded by bathing: birds who bathe before they preen are more agile when flying through an obstacle course than those who don’t bathe, and birds seem to be aware of this clumsiness: non-bathing birds are more reluctant to approach food in the presence of predator noises than cleaner birds, presumably because at some level they have less faith in their ability to escape danger.

Water bathing also helps birds keep cool. When they bathe, they lift their feathers so the water contacts their skin, and adding ice cubes to a bath makes the water a better cooling agent. Birds such as woodpeckers and nuthatches will fluff their feathers in the rain to expose their skin to the drizzle. In dry seasons, you can provide “rain” by setting up a mister, which may be attached to a water bath or be free-floating.

Bird baths aren’t all created equal. The best are shallow and have a ramp, or contain stones or pebbles so that birds can choose the depth at which to stand. Wet plastic, ceramic or metal can be slippery, so scuffing the surface or putting sand on it helps the birds have sure footing. Water baths must be cleaned and sanitized weekly with a 1:10 solution of bleach and water. If predators are a problem in your yard, make sure the baths are raised on a pedestal and are placed where there is little concealment for cats and other hunters.

Bathing is important enough to birds that some even take dust baths, some because they lack standing water puddles or preening oil, but many others— such as California quail, pheasants, thrushes, larks and wrens—prefer dust baths even when water is available. In fact, wrens and House Sparrows will follow up a water bath by immediately taking a dust bath. To attract birds and watch dust-bathing, provide a patch of bare, clean, very dry, fine-grained soil, preferably in a sunny spot, surrounded by brick or stones to help keep the loose soil in place. And as with water baths, raise the dust-bath off the ground and don’t place it too near shrubs that might conceal a predator.

Let me know how well your new bird baths work and what new species you attract! I can be reached at kgdolgin@nullowu.edu.

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