By Jeff Osmundson
Last October this message focused on three things you can do to make a difference. It has been a pretty wild year since then and how we have seen changes from October 2020. But I think that it is still worthwhile to consider some things we can do this month to make a difference. Here is one from last year and two other ideas.
Please join me in garden procrastination and laziness and leave a messy garden. It is really easy to leave the old ornamental grasses and sunflowers gone to seed, and even a few weeds, especially now that the days are not as sunny and warm. These spent flowers and old foliage provide seeds and bugs for our wintering birds and so are an important source of food and cover. We can worry about cleaning up in the spring when the new growth has started and other birdy food sources become more available.
Second is a reprise from last year: Buy a Duck Stamp. If you recall, it is part art, part valid license to harvest waterfowl and part program of conservation. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service: “Buying a Federal Duck Stamp is among the simplest ways that anyone can participate in wildlife and habitat conservation… Ninety-eight percent of your purchase goes directly to protecting wetlands and associated habitats to benefit birds and other wildlife (and people, too). For your investment, you receive the ‘thank you gift’ of a beautiful and collectible miniature work of wildlife art.” Buying a Duck Stamp also shows a willingness to cooperate with other organizations and groups, including hunters, who share some of the same values as Audubon. Many of our Skagit Audubon members make it a yearly practice. Will you too? More info here: https://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php. Photo credit: USFWS.
Lastly, if you are in a funk over COVID, are in a funk over the shorter days and more rain, or if you are just in a funk, do something nice for someone else. Studies strongly suggest that doing something for someone else takes the focus off of our own problems and selves. There is a real and lasting benefit from changing that focus and it actually makes two people a little happier. If you want to make it a real challenge, do something nice for someone and don’t let anyone find out!
Thanks, and happy birding
Be safe, wear your mask, get vaccinated.
Jeff Osmundson, President