All Skagit Audubon Society in-person events (meetings, field trips, hikes and education) are cancelled until further notice due to the risks associated with the new coronavirus. We will update this notice and resume activities when the government health authorities say that it is safe to do so.
OCTOBER MEETING – PRESENTED ON ZOOM
The Pribilof Islands: Big Years, Big Listers and Fowl Obsessions Presented by Ron Force Tuesday, October 13, 7:00 PM
The Pribilof Islands, a volcanic group in the Bering Sea off Alaska, have become famous among birders after being featured in the book The Big Year. Besides having a variety of Arctic and sub-arctic nesting species, the islands collect stray migrants from Asia making a visit a must for birders trying to build a large ABA bird list. In May of 2019, Ron Force and friend Mike Scott joined a tour to St. Paul Island. They found fellow birders and the birding culture almost as fascinating as the unique landscape and rare birds. The visit also made stark the challenges facing the Arctic, its wildlife, and inhabitants at a time of climate change.
Ron Force is Dean of Library Services Emeritus at the University of Idaho, and Past President of the Palouse Audubon Society. Before the pandemic, he enjoyed traveling nationally and internationally and birding along the way. He has shared his photos and experiences with regional Audubon chapters.
The October SAS member meeting will precede Ron Force’s presentation.
Preregistration is required and is limited to 100 attendees. Please only one registrant per household. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to sign in at the time of the Zoom event. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
In this pandemic year and divisive political situation, focusing on birds has provided many of us escape and relief. But each time we return home, the day’s birding done, we remember the importance of this moment for the future of our country and of the environment, including birds. No one needs to be reminded how many environmental regulations have been weakened in the last 4 years, even the venerable, century-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the essential National Environmental Policy Act.
Audubon as a non-profit organization cannot suggest who to vote for, but Audubon can urge you to consider how important your choices are, how important your vote is, for the future of much we hold dear. More than any other election in our lifetimes, this one is about what kind of country and future we want. I suggest we want ours to be a country in which all people are respected and valued and have the opportunity to live healthy and fulfilling lives. A country in which legislation passes and regulations are implemented addressing climate change in a way commensurate with the reality and seriousness of the problem. And one in which government at every level values the birds and other wildlife that share this planet and restores and protects the habitat they need. There is much work to be done on specific issues in the weeks and months ahead, but what is most important right now is looking closely at the candidates for local, state, and federal offices and, in every way we can, including our votes, supporting those who share our love for the diversity of life on the only planet we’ll ever know.
For specific issues on which Skagit Audubon is focusing, see “Conservation Notes” under the Conservation tab at www.skagitaudubon.org.
The Big Sit!
The Big Sit! is a free community birding event open to individuals and teams, all over the world. This year The Big Sit! begins Saturday October 10 at 12:01 am and closes Sunday October 11 at 11:59 pm. The goal is to identify as many species as possible in 24 hours, from a circle no more than 17’ in diameter. Sitting not required.
The Big Sit! is Covid-friendly. Anyone can participate from wherever they want - backyard, park, public wildlife area, etc. Participate by yourself, with other family members, or a limited number of other people outside your family. Requirements for 6’ social distancing and wearing of face coverings should be observed.
Skagit Audubon Society is fielding a Big Sit! team Saturday October 10 at Wiley Slough (Skagit Wildlife Area - Headquarters Unit). The circle will be located at the junction of the West Dike Trail and Spur Dike Trail - a short walk from the parking lot (w/restrooms) closest to the headquarters buildings. One to two hour shifts are being scheduled 7 am to 7 pm with the goal of staffing the circle continuously during this period. Social distancing limits the number of participants to four in the circle at any time. This event is for birders of all experience levels. We will pair those new to birding with more experienced team members. Anyone is welcome to just come by and visit (use face covering and practice 6' social distancing), especially if you bring Covid-friendly snacks or refreshments to share! Vehicles parked at this location must display a current Discover Pass, or Vehicle Access Pass.
A member has pledged $1 per species seen by the team at Wiley Slough to the Skagit Audubon Society Environmental Conservation Scholarship. Please consider a similar pledge to support this annual award.
Visit to learn more about the Big Sit!. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join the Wiley Slough team, conduct your own count (so we can track participation and your species list), or wish to make a pledge. There might be some Skagit Audubon swag for the circle that sees the most total species, or sees the “secret” species!
FROM YOUR EDITOR - October, by Mary Sinker
Fall Means Pumpkins!
As we enter October, colorful leaves and cooler temperatures signal the change of season and pumpkins take center stage. A fun project for kids and adults alike is making a pumpkin bird feeder.
Steps for Success: cut the top off a small to medium size pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Pat dry excess moisture with a paper towel and let the cut pumpkin dry for an hour or so. Insert two wooden skewers so they cross in the middle and tie strong twine to each skewer, joining the twine at the top to hang the pumpkin. Fill with your birdseed of choice – black oil sunflower or mixed sunflower seed with peanut pieces are both popular choices for birds (and squirrels). You may wish to hang this feeder where squirrels cannot access it and depending on the weather, it may last a couple of weeks before being tossed on the compost pile. Have fun!
The Education Committee needs volunteers to help with a number of adult presentations coming up in the next several months. These Power Point presentations are scheduled at libraries and private organizations/clubs in the area. If you can help give part of a presentation (already written), that would be great; or, you can assist with the computer and help answer questions from the audience. If you can lend a hand, please contact Sheila at email@example.com
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.