Looking for something you can do for conservation? Help preserve waterfowl habitat by buying the annual federal Duck Stamp. This US Fish & Wildlife Service program began in 1934. By law, 98% of the funds buy or lease waterfowl habitat. Since the start, $800 million have protected 5.7 million acres. Each new stamp is issued July 1 and features a different duck, goose, or swan species. The current stamp shows the Trumpeter Swan, of which more winter in Skagit County than anywhere else in the lower 48 states. Every resident or frequent visitor to the Skagit should buy this one! $25 may seem steep for a stamp, but you’re buying waterfowl habitat! Do it today. (www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/get-involved//DSOfactsheet.pdf).
Go to Kid's Corner (Under Education)
See the Bright Water Bird Club
Conservation Report, April 2017
By Tim Manns
At this writing in mid-March, the general air of uncertainty is growing, rather than diminishing. The president’s budget has surprised only the wishful thinkers with its deep cuts to social and environmental programs. Many of the latter lie close to Audubon’s mission and have implications for human health too. Combined with wholesale elimination of regulations that implement core environmental laws, the effects of some budget cuts will be particularly evident right here if they come to pass. Examples include cleaning up Puget Sound, restoring salmon, preserving wilderness areas and national parks, protecting Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, … Some of the deepest cuts are aimed at the Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts and addresses global warming. For those living near industrial plants such as oil refineries, the ideology being played out in Washington, D.C. that would erase environmental regulations has very real implications for the kind of world we prefer to have.
Audubon’s mission focuses on protecting and restoring wildlife habitat for birds and other animals, recognizing that people benefit thereby too. Cuts in funding for oversight by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, for example, would keep it from stemming the decline of species, even in the uncertain event the Endangered Species Act and related regulations remain intact. What becomes then of our ethical and moral obligation to not speed the extinction of other species?
Here and across the U.S. we see many people devoting time as never before to speaking out against rollbacks that degrade the world we want. We need to keep it up. Emailing and phoning legislators is easy. Sending postcards and letters is too. Show up at a legislator’s town meeting and ask a question on something that concerns you and should concern your representatives. It’s easy to sign up for alerts from National Audubon and Audubon Washington and other groups whose ideals you share and to then follow through: https://action.audubon.org/signup/signtoday and https://action.audubon.org/signup/join-our-action-network-10.
While we hope you as an individual will contact your elected officials, Skagit Audubon as a chapter also submits board-approved comments on a variety of issues. For example, the Skagit Board recently approved a letter on the long-delayed National Park Service/US Fish & Wildlife Service plan to restore the grizzly to the North Cascades Ecosystem in accordance with the Endangered Species Act. There are likely no grizzlies left in the U.S. Cascades. Only a few are known to still roam the smaller part of the range in Canada. Skagit Audubon joined other conservation groups in supporting Alternative C. This slow, phased approach would bring about 25 bears to the Vermont-sized, mostly federally-owned ecosystem. With luck, the population of this slowest reproducing of all North American mammals will reach 200 in 60 to 100 years. The comment period for the draft plan and EIS has been extended to April 28th. Go to:http://www.northcascadesgrizzly.org/
Scroll down to the video “Time for the grizzly?” in which bear biologist and Bellingham resident Chris Morgan talks about grizzlies and their successful restoration to western Montana’s Cabinet Mountains.
President's Message, April 2017
By Irene Perry
After such a cold, wet winter, signs of spring are welcome in Skagit County. It’s time to listen for resident and migrant birds tuning up for courtship. Grab your binoculars and zoom in on the changes in plumage. Scientist believe longer daylight hours trigger bird songs, plumage change and migration. I agree. I’m ready to sing in the sun, shed a coat and migrate to longer days outdoors. Two signs of spring welcomed by local birders are the return of hummingbirds and swallows.
Although many Anna’s Hummingbirds are becoming year-round residents, the return of the feisty Rufous Hummingbirds brings increased excitement to our feeders. Consider adding a second feeder during migration since this is the time hummers fuel up for flight. My experience with hummingbird feeders is to keep it simple. I’ve tried some of the fancier and more expensive (yes, gifts!) feeders with poor results. The basic glass jar with red top and bottom including perches and plastic yellow flowers is my bestfeeder. They’re inexpensive, around $20.00, and relatively easy to keep clean. You can even buy replacement parts for them at local bird supply stores. The keeping clean part can be challenging. I try to stay on a “clean every five days” schedule and keep a toothbr nearby. Hot water and a little diluted white vinegar helps to take the gunk off too. No expensive special red dye nectar is needed for your feeders. Just a four to one, warm water to sugar ratio is best. No need to boil the sugar water mixture either. Just be sure the water is warm enough for the sugar to dissolve, stir, and wait for it to cool before filling your feeder. Using the “store brand” sugar cane granulated sugar is fine. I tried going cheap once and tried beet sugar. My husband determined after citizen science observations, hummers don’t like beets either!
Onto one of my favorite signs of spring, the return of the swallows. I always get excited to see the first Violet-greens showing up swooping over the water near our local marinas. I know my favorite swallow, the Purple Martin, will return late May to early June. Skagit Audubon provides nesting boxes and monitors sites for Purple Martins in Skagit County and beyond. We have a kickoff day scheduled for Sunday, May 7 at Ship Harbor in Anacortes. The purpose of this event is part work, information and recruitment. We will be preparing the boxes for this season’s birds, answering questions about our program, and encouraging people to become citizen science volunteers. Bring rubber boots if you would like to help with the boxes. We also need assistance from the shoreline. This event will run from 8:30 until noon, weather permitting. For more information about this kickoff and our Purple program please contact me at email@example.com.
A Year in the Lives of North American Owls
by Paul Bannick
Tuesday, April 11 ,2017 7:00 Social; 7:30 Program
Burlington Public Library
820 Washington Avenue
Paul Bannick is an award-winning wildlife photographer specializing in the natural history of North America with a focus on birds and habitat. He will be presenting his new book, Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls.
All 19 species found in Canada and the United States are featured in the photos and narrative throughout the book, with a special focus on the Northern Pygmy-Owl, Great Gray Owl, Burrowing Owl and Snowy Owl.
The book integrates more than 200 new intimate and dramatic images, up-to-date science about owls and first-hand experience based upon tens of thousands of hours spent with owls on their territories in the wild. Do not miss this!
“DO NOT PARK IN THE SPOTS IN FRONT OF THE LIBRARY” Please park on the east side of the building or across the intersection in the lot to the northeast of the Burlington Library.
Skagit Audubon Society holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month except for the months of July and August. We meet at 7:00 pm at Padilla Bay Interpretive Center(Google map), 10441 Bayview-Edison Rd. Mount Vernon. Meetings are open to all.
The board of directors meets at the same location at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month, except for the months of July and August.