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May 2003 Issue (vol 34, number 5)
      (Previous Issue April 2003) - (Next Issue September 2003)

(Next issue September 2003)

MAY Meeting

Tuesday, May 27, 7:30 PM
Fairhaven Middle School Commons
Crows, Ravens, and People: A Fascination With Amazing Birds

What do Van Gogh, Shakespeare, the Hopi and Kayukon People, Mark Twain, and the rock band, the Counting Crows have in common? They all draw inspiration from some of our most common, but least understood birds — the crows and the ravens. In Dr. John Marzluff’s lecture, he will investigate the inspiration of crows and ravens on people and our effects on these adaptable birds.

Dr. Marzluff will present a slide-illustrated program through which he will investigate the taxonomy, morphology, natural history, population ecology, and behavioral ecology of crows and ravens. He will also discuss human interactions with these birds as irritating and competitive pests, targets, creators, symbols, diviners, and inspirations.

We’ll see amazing examples of tool use by crows, complex communication among ravens, and the adjustments of crows to life with people. John will lend his expertise regarding potential influences of the West Nile virus on crows. Along the way, we’ll learn about the role of crows and ravens as nest predators and the conservation needs of the endangered crows of Hawaii and the Marianna Islands.

Big, bold, and boisterous, crows and ravens are hard to miss and Dr. Marzluff’s discussion is intended to answer the many questions they conjure up in all who have watched them — and that is almost everyone.

John Marzluff is a professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. His graduate and initial post-doctoral research at Northern Arizona University and the University of Vermont, respectively, focused on the social behavior and ecology of jays and ravens. He was especially interested in communication, social organization, and foraging behavior.

His current research brings this behavioral approach to pressing conservation issues including raptor management, management of pest species, and assessment of nest predation. He has led studies on the effects of military training on falcons and eagles in southwestern Idaho; the effects of timber harvest, recreation, and forest fragmentation on goshawks and marbled murrelets in western Washington and Oregon; conservation strategies for Pacific island crows; and the effects of urbanization on song-birds in the Seattle area.

Join us for this fascinating program about some of our most fascinating birds. As always, meetings of the North Cascades Audubon Society are FREE and open to the public.

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From the Editor

As another Audubon year comes to a close, it’s time to circle the wagons and reflect on the past year and look forward to the next. The newsletter will take a break for the next three months but most of the NCAS programs will continue without interruption.

The Tennant Lake Bird Census (TLBC) will continue to gather data about the birds at Tennant Lake, twice a month, and will continue through March of 2004. If you’d like to participate in the TLBC, let me know.

The Scudder Pond Stewardship Program is also busy throughout the year and always eager to add to its list of volunteers.

In this, my seventh year as editor of this humble newsletter, I’d like to remind all chapter members that this newsletter is not the exclusive forum of the NCAS Board of Directors or committee chairs; this newsletter is open to articles and comments from ALL chapter members.

With this in mind and while looking forward to the September issue, I encourage you, the readers, to consider contributing to the Avalanche. The guidelines are clearly stated on the address page and the staff is always willing to consider whatever you have to offer.

Read the newsletter, visit our website, and become involved. Let’s not allow NCAS to stand for the Non Chalant Audubon Society; let’s ALL participate. Have a happy summer!

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Dungeness River Audubon Center

Enjoy birding at the Dungeness River Audubon Center and Railroad Bridge Park, public access to the lower Dungeness riparian forest, near sunny Sequim, Washington. We have excellent exhibits showing the birds of the Olympic Peninsula, plus riverside trails and beautiful parklands beside the Dungeness River.

• Guided birdwalk every Wednesday morning at 8:30 AM.

• Interpretive displays about local wildlife and the

Dungeness River watershed.

• Educational programs for all ages.

• Informative natural history classes and presentations.

• Summer river talks on Saturdays.

• Information available about best birding sites of this area.

The riparian forests are loaded with spring migrant and breeding songbirds, so May, June, and July are excellent months to come birding in our area. June is the month to hear and see Red-eyed Vireos singing in the tall cottonwoods beside the river.

Down by the River Day, September 27, 9 AM-4PM. Hands-on learning about the Dungeness watershed and its fish and wildlife. Many riverside activities for young and old alike.

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10AM-4PM and Sunday, 12-4 PM. Call or come by for a full schedule of events.

2151 Hendrickson Road

Sequim, WA



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Northwest Washington Wildlife Forum

June 5, 7 PM
Bellingham Public Library

We hear so much these days about wildlife in our region — some good, some not so good. What species should we be most concerned about? Are imperiled species declining? Are any species recovering?

Please join us for an informal evening with a distinguished panel of wildlife experts who will address some of the more critical wildlife conservation issues in our region. Learn about our native wildlife as this year’s event highlights coastal merlins, native bats, grizzly bears, and wild salmon. Speakers include wild salmon advocate Anne Mosness and wildlife biologists Chris Morgan, Roger Christopherson, and David Drummond.

This event is sponsored by Walk for Wildlife and is FREE and open to the public. For more info, call 752-1762. More information available on our site at: www.northcascadesaudubon.org/wildlife.

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2003 Walk for Wildlife

International Wildlife Film Festival

The Whatcom Film Association and Walk for Wildlife Festival are proud and bedazzled to bring you Bellingham’s first wildlife film festival from May 31 through June 1.

These world-class films include “Best of Festival” winners from the 2003 International Wildlife Film Festival, and many other award winners. From serious cinematography to whimsical shorts, we’re sure you’ll enjoy them, and the proceeds support local wildlife conservation efforts, to boot.

All films will be at the planned future home of the Pickford at 1318 Bay Street, next to the Radio Museum. Tickets will be available AT THE DOOR. Doors open at 11:30 AM. Each four-hour film series is $4.50 for WFA members and $5.00 for non-members, or $8 for any two series. A full weekend pass is $12. Refreshments will also be available.

For more information and a complete listing of the featured films, contact the Whatcom Film Association at 647-1300 or by e-mail at alice@whatcomfilm.org ; or Ken Wilcox at 752-1762 or by e-mail at ken@nwwildbooks.com . More information available on our site at: www.northcascadesaudubon.org/wildlife.

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After all that has been written, the first sight of a living hummingbird, so unlike in its beauty all other beautiful things, comes like a revelation to the mind&#;.the minute, exquisite form, when the bird hovers on misty wings, probing the flower with its coral spear, the fanlike tail expanded, and posing motionless, exhibits the feathers shot with many hues; and the next moment vanishes, or all but vanishes, then reappears at another flower only to vanish again, and so on successively, showing its splendours not continuously, but like the intermitted flashes of the firefly — this forms a picture of airy grace and loveliness that baffles description.

W. H. Hudson, The Naturalist in La Plata, 1895

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Children’s Poster Contest

And the winners are!

This year’s Children’s Poster Contest winning posters were on display the April general membership meeting. The winners accepted their awards to resounding applause from the appreciative audience. The winners and their respective placing were as follows:

Grades K-2

1. Jessica Brown, age 7, grade 2, Cedar Tree Montessori

2. Shanti Angelle Nair, age 7, grade 2, home school

3. Nicole Dotinga, age 8, grade 2, home school

Grades 3-4

1. Katriana Jorgensen-Muga, age 8, grade 3, Columbia Elem.

2. Joel Birkeland, age 8, grade 3, Columbia Elementary

2. Serena Viens, age 9, grade 3, Columbia Elementary

3. Aria Curtis, age 10, grade 4, Columbia Elementary

Grades 5-6

1. Angela Gayvoronskiy, age 12, grade 6, Kendall Elementary

1. Michelle Berry, age 11, grade 5, Blaine Elementary

2. Alisha Levien, age 12, grade 6, Kendall Elementary

2. Joey Martinez, age 12, grade 6, Kendall Elementary

3. Leonard Kravchenko, age 10, grade 5, Alderwood Elem.

The winning posters will be on display at the Whatcom Children’s Museum until June 7. They will be on display at the Walk for Wildlife on June 8. You can also see the winning posters displayed on our website at: www.northcascadesaudubon.org/php/index.php?chapter,poster_contest.

Thanks to all the participants.

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NCAS Officers Nominated

The following individuals have been nominated to fill the respective positions for the coming year:

Debbie Craig President

Dave Schmalz Vice President

Jodi Broughton Secretary

Michele Bodtke Treasurer

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Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest

May 9-11, Leavenworth, WA

Celebrate spring and International Migratory Bird Day! A fabulous event like this requires lots of partners and we have excellent ones. North Central Washington Audubon Society, the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth Ranger Districts of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests are working together to create the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest. This event will feature field trips, a birdathon, workshops, and inspiring music.

The Leavenworth area is noted for spectacular habitats, ranging from snow-capped mountains to sunny Ponderosa pine forests, attracting a wide variety of birds. You might see Calliope Hummingbirds, White-headed Woodpeckers, Harlequin ducks, Osprey, and MacGillivray’s Warblers. While birding is the heart if the weekend, activities will also include geology, wildflowers, river rafting on Icicle Creek, and conservation trips to nearby restoration areas. Professionally-guided trips and activities range from leisurely strolls to active hikes. Fun for experienced and novice birders of all ages!

An event ought to have a mascot, and the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest chose the Western Tanager as its SpokesBird. This yellow, black, and red tanager is a Neotropical migratory bird, coming from its wintering grounds as far south as Mexico and Costa Rica. Here in the breeding range, they feed on wasps, ants, scale insects, grasshoppers, wild cherries, and elderberries. Their loosely-built twig nests are lined with hair and plant down and are found on the outer ends of conifer and aspen limbs. The Western Tanager was first discovered by the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-06, making this bird a wonderful part of our western heritage.

For more information about the bird fest, visit our website at http://www.leavenworthspringbirdfest.com. For information on the area, including lodging and other activities, call the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce at (509)548-5807.

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A Tidbit from Henry

The bluebird carries the sky on his back.

Henry David Thoreau, journal

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Protect Our Water Resources: Come to a Public Hearing and Contact Your Council Members

By Tom Pratum, Conservation Committee

The changes to Whatcom County Code Title 20 development standards for water resource protection areas - Lake Whatcom, Lake Samish, Drayton Harbor - which we have been talking about for several months, should be before the full county council on June 3. A public hearing will be held on this date prior to the vote being taken at 7 PM in the county council chambers at 311 Grand Avenue.

Please come to the public hearing and/or contact your council members. Let them know -

• That impervious surfaces should be kept to a minimum in water resource protection areas, Huge, sprawling houses should be built elsewhere. Best available science indicates that watershed function is significantly degraded with only 10% impervious surface cover. More than 20% impervious surface area is not acceptable in any part of these watersheds.

• That land clearing during the winter months should be strictly regulated. Only the least damaging activities should be allowed, and a limit on permits for these types of activities should be in place that is based on the availability of staff time to enforce them.

• That forest canopy cover in the watershed must be preserved. Best available science indicates that 65% retention of tree cover in the watershed is warranted. The ordinance should allow no more than 50% of the total tree cover to be removed on any lot.

For more information, go to http://www.northcascadesaudubon.org/lakewhatcom or contact Tom Pratum at water@northcascadesaudubon.org.

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**BULLETIN** - Birdathon 2003

May 1-31

Due to the tremendous number of phone calls and e-mails that I’ve received since last month’s newsletter, the dates for this year’s Birdathon have been changed. A lot of folks wanted to participate but had other obligations preventing them from doing so between May 1-15. Therefore, in the tradition of ask and you shall receive, this year’s Birdathon will encompass the entire month of May, which is one of the more exciting months for getting out of the house and doing fun things with birds.

With the entire month to participate, consider joining us in one of the North Cascades Audubon Society’s finest opportunities for the general membership to contribute to the overall health of the chapter. It’s all about fundraising and having fun while you do it. The funds raised help to offset the myriad costs involved with keeping our ship afloat.

This year’s Birdathon comes with the added incentive of prizes! The team or individual that raises the most money, as well as the team or individual that counts the most species of birds in a 24-hour period, will receive trophies and a variety of other prizes, including books and gift certificates!

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can do your 24-hour period wherever you happen to be. It might be a good idea, as well, to consider doing your count on Saturday, May 10, which is International Migratory Bird Day!

The awards presentation will be a part of the summer’s end general membership meeting on September 23.

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The timidity of many a songbird is your own fault. Treat them with kindness and they will treat you to melody.

Charles C. Abbott,
Young Folks’ Cyclopedia of Natural History, 1895

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