President’s Message

President’s Message – May 2017

Spring is upon us. I wish the sun and its warmth happened upon us more this winter. But alas, as I write this in late March, the forecast does not call for much of a change.

At our June 8th picnic we will host a discussion about “Diversity in Conservation Work” with a special guest. We will be at Priest Point Park in Shelter 4, for a bird walk at 5 p.m. and the meal at 6. I look forward to seeing you there and enjoying a lovely evening outside.

A new program will be offered during next year’s speaker series: “10 for 10,” with members showing 10 photos and talking for 10 minutes about them. This way we can hear about several trips or birds or special places in one program. Be thinking about what you want to share.

Our website has been updated and improved thanks to Jill Carter and Jim Wilson, making it easier to view on smaller devices, with the information clearly formatted. Thanks to both for the hours and hours committed to this work. Please go to our website and see their work and the myriad of offerings our chapter has for you.

After four years of being your president, I am stepping down. It has been an honor and privilege to serve you. Because you are now part of my family, it is not goodbye but only “see you soon” as I will still be on the Board and active in many ways assisting this chapter with the wonderful work we do. The people make the organization what it is, and this is one of the finest groups of individuals I have ever met.

President’s Message – March 2017

Birds vocalize for myriad reasons – warning off adversaries, locating food sources, staking territorial boundaries, and mate attraction. Many master birders “bird by ear” and so learn all the variation of calls and songs of the avian world. Pointing in a direction, a master birder may call out a species hidden in foliage but revealing its presence only by its melodic tune. I have not learned many bird vocalizations but appreciate the ones I do know, and I can usually tell the difference between a bird’s warning us to stay away or trying to attract a mate. Of all the sounds a bird makes, their songs of spring are the ones that take our breath away. Take the Swainson’s Thrush  whose song is one of the most beautiful in June when it arrives in woodlands here, or the Pacific Wren Pacific Wren which has the longest and most complex song of all birds. Each of these stops us in our tracks, commands our attention and makes us pause. Wonderstruck, we are moved purely and simply by the beauty of their song. Many begin early in the morning. A study on warblers done in Puerto Rico in 2015 by behavioral ecologist David Logue found that the earlier in the morning birds “warmed up” their 30 or so song repertoire, the better their changing of pitch in their trills later as the morning wore on. The result was that those who started practice early, really early, fared better in the competition for mates. So there has been selective pressure on the males of many species to break out in song earlier and earlier in the day. Can you imagine the struggle to begin your regimen earlier than your neighbors each ensuing day? Relish these days of spring and the songs from field and forest. (from Mar/April 2017 Echo newsletter, by Deb Nickerson)

President’s Message – January 2017

This is the time of year when we enjoy watching the activity at our feeders rather than trailside. The dark, cold, wet days provide us time to quiet down, reflect and think about things we might push aside during the rest of the year. We get close looks at the Steller’s Jays, chickadees, juncos, sparrows and Varied Thrushes, and observe their behavior: chickadees come to the feeder, one at a time, pick a sunflower seed, and immediately move off to a bush so another can come in and get theirs. Juncos stay and eat, as do the jays, while thrushes below pick away at ground food. Grosbeaks’ feeding frenzies we try not to criticize. Kinglets are a bonus when they chip above us, moving though the bushes. We see the gamut of behaviors and are tempted to relate them to our own. Enjoy these winter visitors. They make us feel better, calm us down. Sometimes they help heal us. Look up the story of Penguin Bloom in Australia’s The Guardian for a beautiful example of this.READ MORE