Connecting people with nature to inspire protection of our natural world
Umpqua Valley Audubon Society
(Continued from page 1)
Stewart Park off Harvard Avenue behind the Umpqua Valley Arts Center
Vaux’s Swifts (pronounced “vawks”) nest only in Western North America, migrating to Central and South America for the winter and then back to the Pacific Northwest and Canada for the summer. Each year, Swifts use the chimney behind the Umpqua Valley Arts Center in the Fir Grove section of Stewart Park off of Harvard Avenue as a communal roost site during their annual northern and southern migrations. Dozens or hundreds of Swifts drop into the chimney at sunset to spend the night. Historically, communal roost sites were in storm or fire damaged big old trees. As big old trees have become less numerous, the birds have adapted to using old industrial chimneys. Unfortunately, these are also becoming less common. While numbers vary from year to year, the display can be spectacular – particularly in the fall. Fall roosting is more predictable in terms of numbers and timing – generally within a few minutes of sunset. In the spring, roosting numbers and timing vary more, although still generally around sunset and still amazing to watch.
Umpqua Valley Audubon Society will host an informal spring Swift Watch Friday evenings beginning in mid-April and continuing through the end or May or early June, depending on migration numbers. Audubon members will be at the chimney Friday evenings doing counts in conjunction with the Vaux’s Happening project. We won’t have art activities for kids in the spring; our regular Swift Watch with more activities will return in September! Information about roost sites along the Pacific flyway is available on the Vaux’s Happening website.
AND, you might have fun contributing to the citizen science effort to record nightly roost totals at the Clay Place chimney, or any other location where you see swifts roosting. Counting swifts as they enter a chimney can be tricky, so we recommend you do it with a partner so you can compare your totals. We find counting by “10s” works best when there are a lot of birds. You can use a clicker, or just make hash marks on a pad of paper. In addition to the total number of birds entering the chimney, you’ll need to record the beginning and ending times, time of sunset, and temperature at sunset (all information that is available on a smart-phone). Your observations can then be reported electronically via https://waacda.wufoo.com/forms/vauxs-happening-observations/.
So, get out there and welcome our little buddies back and cheer them on as they head north for the summer.
· Wednesday, May 10—Celebration Dinner and Annual Meeting
Please join us for what is always a fun get-together to celebrate another great year for Audubon in the Valleys of the Umpqua! A highlight this year is that we’ll be joined by Liz Gayner and “Bandit”, the Cedar Waxwing she recently acquired pursuant to a Federal FWS special provisions/educational permit. She’ll be sharing information about Cedar Waxwings and the process involved in obtaining, keeping and using a migratory bird for educational purposes.
Location: Sunshine Park – North Pavilion (Sunshine Park is located 5 miles east of downtown Roseburg off of Diamond Lake Blvd. on Sunshine Rd. The pavilion we will be using is the smaller one close to the parking lot and away from the ball fields.)
Time: Set-up beginning at 4:30; Dinner and meeting at 5:30
Dinner: The Chapter will be providing baked chicken, non-alcoholic beverages and tableware.
Members are invited to bring salads, side-dishes, desserts, and other beverage options to share. There are non-movable concrete tables and benches at the pavilion. You may want to bring camp chairs for greater comfort!
Year in review and financial report;
Election of officers and board of directors;
Informal program by Liz Gayner.
· Next Board Meeting—May 17th
Board Meetings are regularly on the 3rd Wednesday of the month—skipping December, June & July. Meetings begin at 5 pm upstairs at Mark Hamm’s office, 1313 W. Harvard, Roseburg. For more details or to get something on the agenda, contact Diana Wales.
· Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival on June 1-4
The East Cascades Audubon Society will hold its Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival on June 1-4 this spring. Registration begins on April 1. See our website at http://www.ecaudubon.org/dean-hale-woodpecker-festival for more details. Highlights will include field trips to the forest around Sisters and Bend, Summer Lake and the Ochoco Mnts. Eleven species of woodpeckers are the main draw but over 200 species of birds have been tallied each of the last three years. Come join us and celebrate the woodpeckers of Central Oregon.
· Hart Mountain Lake Abert trip— specific dates TBA
Stay tuned for dates and details! We will travel to Hart Mt. National Antelope Refuge and camp at the Hot Springs Campground. There are 30 sites, pit toilets and no water; water is 4 miles away.
Here’s what we have planned so far:
Travel to Abert Lake to observe the effects of drought and water allocation from its source water. There are major congregations of birds in migration.
Explore the Blue Sky area and see its recovery from overuse and its historical significance.
Visit the second oldest petroglyph site in North America, it’s over 7000 years old. This site is unprotected other than its isolation, it contains what may be the only calendar petroglyph north of the Aztec Empire.
Dinner at Hart Mountain Store in Plush, Or Saturday night (steaks, hamburgers, etc.)
Enjoy the hot springs and Antelope Refuge and some of the most beautiful scenic vistas in Oregon.
**Hart Mt National Antelope Refuge—http://www.fws.gov/refuge/hart_mountain/
1) Directions to Hart Mt National Antelope Refuge from Roseburg
2) Directions from Hart Mt National Antelope Refuge to Hot Springs Campground https://goo.gl/maps/onbmKVNTFez
**Hart Mountain General Store; 28229 Hogback Rd, Plush, OR 97637; (541) 947-2491
For more information, contact Mark Hamm.
· Save the date! September 15-17, 2017
Oregon Birding Association (OBA) Annual meeting at Malheur Field Station, Princeton, Oregon
Speakers: Dr. Claudio Mello and Noah Stryker
Field trips and schmoozing
Make you reservations now!
More information at
· Save the Date— October 10 or 11, 2017—Birding without Borders: An Epic World Big Year.
Noah Strycker is hard at work on a book about his Big Year adventures. It is due out in the fall, 2017. SOOOOO, we already have him lined up to do a program right after it is hot off the presses. Stay tuned for updates.
In 2015, Oregon bird nerd Noah Strycker became the first human to see more than half of the planet’s bird species in a single, year-long, round-the-world birding trip. Anything could have happened, and a lot did. He was scourged by blood-sucking leeches, suffered fevers and sleep deprivation, survived airline snafus and car breakdowns and mudslides and torrential floods, skirted war zones, and had the time of his life. Birding on seven continents and carrying only a pack on his back, Strycker enlisted the enthusiastic support of local birders to tick more than 6,000 species, including Adelie Penguins in Antarctica, a Harpy Eagle in Brazil, a Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Thailand, and a Green-breasted Pitta in Uganda. He shared the adventure in real time on his daily blog, and now he reveals the inside story. This humorous and inspiring presentation about Strycker’s epic World Big Year will give you a real appreciation for the birds and birders of the world.
Bird photos courtesy of Jim Arneson