The Grebe

April/May 2006

Naturescaping to be Topic of KBAS April 13 Meeting
How about giving your yard a make-over by “naturescaping”? Ron Larson will tell you how to do it at this month’s KBAS meeting, Thursday, April 13.

Ron is an expert on the subject. He’s a local biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who knows his flora and fauna.

Ron will discuss how you can make your yard more appealing to birds and wildlife.

He will also talk about specific native plants that are suitable for landscaping in the Klamath Basin, which are both attractive and have value for wildlife

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the lower meeting room of the County Courthouse on Main Street. Refreshments will be served. The public is invited.

A short business meeting will precede the program. Election time is drawing near, and the nominating committee will present a list of recommendations for officers for the coming year.

Nominations will be accepted from the floor. The actual voting will be done at the May meeting.

More information: call Ken Johnson at 883-7671.

Dave Eshbaugh Leaves Oregon Audubon
KBAS lost a good friend and staunch supporter when Dave Eshbaugh resigned as Executive Director of Audubon Oregon March 3.

Dave was familiar with conservation issues in the Klamath Basin. They were high among his priorities during the three years he was Director.

He was a faithful supporter and presenter for Bald Eagle/Winter Wings. In December he braved bad weather to drive from Portland to attend our Christmas Party meeting and present a program.

Dave gave no reasons for his resignation and commented that National Audubon is “not planning an immediate recruitment to fill my position”.

He stated that Oregon needs should be addressed to Dan Taylor, Vice President, State Programs, based in Sacramento CA. Taylor’s email is dtaylor@audubon.org.

Dave will move from Audubon to become Executive Director of the Oregon State Parks Trust.

We are saddened by Dave’s leaving, and will miss his help and his delightful personality. We hope to see him return now and then , binoculars in hand, to bird the Basin.

We wish him the very best in his new position.

Thank You for Joining Us!
Chickadee.
We are pleased to welcome these 28 new members who joined KBAS, either through National Audubon or our local chapter, during the first quarter of 2006.

Klamath Falls: Irene Anderson, Darrell Bean, Mildred Cook, Bill & Elaine Deutschman, Esther Johnson, Catherine Lyall, Francis Maiss, Linda McVeigh, Lois Phillips, Fernando Pinedo, Lydia Shaw, Sally Stroud

Bonanza: Jennifer Chambers

Beatty: Margaret Rogers

Chiloquin: Charles & Elizabeth Matuk, Patricia Moore, Frances Randazzo, Ronald Wysocki

Keno: Sheila Fry, Lawrence Toliver

Lakeview: Paul Albertson

Midland: Don Frye

Sprague River: Jack Ellis

Macdoel, CA: Dave Lumley

Palo Alto, CA: Becky McReynolds, David Dwyer

Klamath Fall’s Seventh International Migratory Bird Day Celebration
Saturday, May 13 will feature a packed schedule of free events for all ages. Some of the highlights at Lake Ewuana will be bird identification walks led by expert birders, and mist netting demonstrations.

There will be many children’s activities such as bird house building, and other hands-on projects, some of which will include use of the new Klamath Basin Birding Trail Curriculum kit. The popular face-painting will be back along with other displays and projects of interest to kids.

KBAS will have a booth where children may make cookies for the birds. The booth will also feature a display and educational materials.

You will find gallery artists with hands-on projects, taxidermy exhibits, plant sales, live raptors, vendors, and food. There will be dancing and music, including Joan Daley & the Daily Blues Band. Decorated seven foot high POP! Pelicans will be on display (www.pelicansonparade.com), and much more.

This free, fun-filled and educational event will take place at Veterans Park in downtown Klamath Falls from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is co-sponsored by Oregon State University Extension, Klamath County and the Fremont-Winema National Forest. For more information contact Lindsey Lyons (541) 883-7131, or John Neeling (541) 883-680.

KBAS Contributes to Reward Fund to Find Killer(s) of Bald Eagle
KBAS Board members voted to add $100 to the reward fund, now over $1000, for information leading to an arrest for the Bald Eagle killed in Poe Valley in March.

In Memory of Jane Morf, a Most Extraordinary and Deeply Missed Friend and Member of the Klamath Basin Audubon Society
On Saturday, March 11, Woody Morf and family held a memorial in celebration of the life of Jane Morf. Many Audubon members met with about fifty of Jane’s friends, neighbors, and relatives at their lovely home on the Williamson River in Chiloquin. Jane passed away March 3 after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

The number of people who came to share the memories, the sorrow, the food, and to speak of their reminiscences of Jane and what she meant to so many of us with her energy, her joy of life, and her contributions and services, attest to what a loved and respected person she was.

When Jane and Woody moved here from southern California, they brought new life and energy to the community and to the Audubon society with their enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, leadership, and generosity. As members of the board and other committees, they helped reorganize Klamath Basin Audubon and helped us focus on revised goals.

One of their very special contributions was to arrange a working retreat at Stefan Savides’ cabin. There we dealt with concerns crucial to the future of our Audubon chapter. They also took the lead in helping to reformat and upgrade the Chapter’s newsletter.

Woody said that he wanted us to focus our eulogies on Jane at this time, but as Leslie Lowe said, “It is hard to separate what we thought of Woody and Jane, so whatever we say about Jane goes for Woody also.”

They hosted us several times at their home for meetings and field trip events. At an Audubon general meeting, they shared with us their pictures and memories of the birding trip they took to Africa, and they joined us on many field trips and outdoor activities.

I am especially fond of remembering the camping trip we all took to Lassen Park and the morning we met to bird around Manzanita Lake. Jane showed up wearing a Tee shirt from Audubon’s Star Ranch in southern California and coincidentally I also was wearing a Star Ranch Tee shirt. I then learned that Jane had fond memories of experiences she had of working with Audubon at Star Ranch.

At the memorial celebration after the eulogies presented by Woody and other family members, I had the honor of speaking. I presented Woody and the family a memorial award from Klamath Basin Audubon Society honoring their contributions to Audubon, the Winter Wings Festival, and to birding.

In her memory, we are going to plant a tree on the Wing Watchers’ Trail. Ralph Opp will build a bench which the tree will shade as it grows. An all-weather plaque will dedicate it to Jane. The family has requested that remembrances be made to the Klamath Hospice. Audubon members may also contribute to her memorial fund.

In closing, I use Leslie’s words: “We will remember Jane’s enthusiastic smile, her readiness to jump in and find a solution, and her love of people and birding. She was such fun to be around. Woody, the quieter one, will now carry on with the inner strength that marked the other half of this very special couple.”

By Ken Johnston

Special April Field trip to Bend Area:
Your Chance To See Sage Grouse Courtship Dances
For April 15 & 16 KBAS has arranged a Sage Grouse Lek Field Trip to Bend Oregon. Meet at the Central Oregon Environmental Center at 16 N.W. Kansas, in Bend OR at 1:00 p.m. for a weekend of birding, plus a Department of Fish and Wildlife presentation on eastern Oregon’s Sage Grouse and grouse lek management.

Visit an active Sage Grouse lek, a traditional meeting place where the birds assemble year after year. Watch the males “strut their stuff” in the exuberant courtship dance they have been performing since time immemorial to attract their mates.

With tail feathers fanned and air sacs on their breasts inflated, they parade back and forth, while producing loud popping sounds by releasing air from the inflated sacs. At the break of dawn, the ceremonial dance begins, and females enter the arena to select the dominant male of their choice to father their young.

Then as the sun rises higher in the sky, and the pageant ends for the day, we will return to Bend for more birding in riparian and forest habitats.

Can’t come for all of it? For more information about meeting places and the scheduled agenda, call Ken Johnston at 883-7671 and come to the April 13 general meeting (details on back page) to learn last minute details. In Bend you may reach Ken on his cell phone at 214-886-1907.

Refuge Gift: 250 New Willow Cuttings in One Day
Charlotte Kisling , Julie Van Moorhem and Edna Guiducci joined with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and other bird-oriented groups March 24 to plant willow cuttings at the Lower Klamath Refuge.

The groups met at 9 a.m. armed with boots and waders, rain gear, tools, and hundreds of willow cuttings taken from existing trees.

John Beckstrand of USFWS, aided by Ron Larson, headed the effort to provide new growth to replace trees which have lost branches or fallen as their life spans are running out. The trees are vital at the refuge for raptors and other species which rely upon them as perches.

The group planted 250 cuttings in one day, covering about a mile. Blue plastic tubes were placed around the cuttings to protect them from wind, drying and chewing by rodents. .

Since there are few deer in the area, Beckstrand decided to monitor these plantings before investing time and money in protective cages.

Bird with Siskiyou Audubon at Morrisons Lodge on the Rougue
This is not a “roughing it” trip, nor is it inexpensive. But if you are hankering for some very posh birding, visit www.morrisonslodge.com. Click on “Great Spring Special” for all the details. The dates: April 21-22 and a repeat – April 28-30. Word is that the meals are the best in Josephine County.

First Annual Wings and Wine Festival
Lane County Audubon Society (Eugene) is co-sponsoring this festival May 13.

Many activities are planned, including birding walks, canoe trips, speakers, a gourmet dinner with Owls, crafts, organic produce and kid stuff. Some require pre-registration and fees. For information: 541-935-3774.

HELP WANTED! THE KBAS BIRD GUIDE REVISION PROJECT NEEDS YOUR SKILLS! PLEASE JOIN US!
Our Birder’s Guide is nine years old! A new edition has been started, and we probably need YOU! KBAS needs volunteers with the following skills to help with the revision project:

Desktop publishing, book publishing, cartography (map-making), artists, bird photographers, editors, proofreaders, computer whizzes, birders with experience in the Klamath Basin.

In 1993 KBAS published a wonderful book, A Birder’s Guide to the Klamath Basin, (many of you probably have a copy). It was reprinted in 1997 and two more sites were added. We are running out of copies of the book and believe it is time to publish a new edition because of numerous changes in the Klamath Basin, including bird names, distribution, etc.

However, costs are extremely high and, while we do have some money dedicated to the project, we are going to have to do this as a “print-on-demand” publication to reduce costs. We would like to have art work, photographs, better maps, better binding, and color — at least on the cover if nowhere else. We cannot pay for art work, photographs, maps, etc., but we would give appropriate credit. We are depending on your kindness!

The third edition committee began with Rick Hardy (Chair), Jo Massey, Ken Johnston, Charlotte Kisling, Julie Van Moorhem and Jane Morf. (Jane died earlier this month and she truly will be missed—her humor, expertise, and organizational skills are well known to those of us who had the pleasure of working with her.)

We started last year to visit all the sites in the book and to update information about birds, directions, habitat, mileage, etc. and add information about amenities–handicap accessibility, restrooms, food, gas, etc.– at or near the sites. We also are adding a few sites that aren’t in the current edition but are on the new Klamath Basin Birding Trail (KBBT) map sponsored by Wingwatchers, Inc. (Most of the sites on the KBBT were based on our guide.)

Kevin Spencer agreed to work on updating taxonomy and nomenclature due to changes by the AOU and distribution changes within the Basin and has already done some of this. Wesley Stone agreed to visit a couple of new sites in the northern area of the county and help with proofreading.

This is a significant project for KBAS in terms of time, money and volunteer commitment, and it’s also a money-maker, a public relations tool, and, primarily, an aid for birders who visit the Basin.

Now we are asking for (pleading for!! on bended knee!!) help from the talent pool within the Klamath Basin Audubon Society. If YOU have any experience in the areas mentioned or other skills that you think would be valuable to a project like this, PLEASE COME FORWARD AND OFFER YOUR HELP!

Perhaps you would like to visit the sites, using the newly written information to check it for us as it becomes available. Our Audubon chapter needs the help of all its members in a variety of ways to make us strong—please don’t leave this to just the few who volunteered to be on the committee.

Please contact Rick Hardy at 541- 882-3169, e-mail Rick_Hardy@fws.gov or Julie Van Moorhem at 541-882-4488, e-mail jvanmoo@sisna.com and volunteer your help. And don’t just think “someone else” will do this.

You may be that “someone else” who can provide us with the skills we need.

MOM! ……YOU MEAN THEY SHOOT KITTIES?
By Ralph Opp

cougar.
So went the question from a young step daughter after overhearing some hunting talk while she, her mother, Charlotte, and I were standing in the line for a local annual Oregon Hunters Association or maybe an Elk Foundation fund raising banquet.

(This all happened some years ago, and since retiring I now have the luxury of forgetting which.) Going to and being part of all such conservation group ‘banquets’, hunting types or not, was an important part of my job as the district wildlife biologist for the Klamath District of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, (ODFW).)

I know her mother’s response was something to the effect of , “Tamsen, shhhh” or, “Not here, not now”. Mine was probably like, “Yes, dear lady, oft times it is necessary, and hunting is our best tool to try and balance growing “kitty” numbers against growing human/cougar interaction”.

That basically was the topic of the March 2006 Klamath Audubon meeting program presented by ODFW cougar biologist Craig, ‘Foz’, Foster from Lakeview, with local ODFW biologist Tom Collom along with Phil Milburn to assist. The questions were varied but good, and Craig fielded them very professionally and insightfully.

Some questions were about basic cougar ecology. Others asked for technical clarification. Though it was an Audubon program about half the audience, of approximately 45 people , were not Audubon members, but local sportsmen and rural landowners. (Very bad, icy road conditions undoubtedly kept attendance down.)

Most people appeared to be of a conservationist mind (wise use); however at least one person expressed strong concern over available research and data.

The Five Year Plan

Craig did a very good job of explaining where the state is in the planning process for its new five-year Cougar Management Plan. The plan is to improve conditions under which to better deal with not only a growing cougar population statewide as well as the consequent increase in cougar/human interactions, conflicts and damage.

He gave a brief history of the process and. spoke to utilizing over 30 years of research and many more of inventory data. The plan will be before the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission for final adoption in April.

Cougar Population Growing

cougar head.
It seems very apparent that Oregon does indeed have a growing cougar population, with varied densities found around the state, but also a predictable increase in cougar/human conflicts, including damage (interactions with stock such as sheep and cattle are counted as “human” interactions). Though Craig only touched on it lightly, the expansion of humans dwelling and becoming more active in some of Oregon’s hinterlands are an important part of the conflict problem. As would be hoped, human/cougar conflicts and damage will continue to be handled immediately by wildlife agents.

But ultimately some cougar populations in parts of the state will require some form of reduction to keep them within population management goals. This of course means some form of reduction (harvest) through hunting. The question still remains if Oregon will ever reinstate the use of hunting with the use of dogs, a very effective tracking and harvest technique.

“Great Publication”

The ODFW has a great publication in its “Living With Wildlife” series titled MOUNTAIN LION. It is a wonderful source of facts about Oregon’s largest member of the cat (kitty) family plus information on identifying cougar signs, sources of help and some important Dos and Don’ts when in cougar country. Information or the pamphlet can be obtained at our local ODFW office on Miller Island Road West.

ODFW Financed by Hunting Fees

This author has been continually concerned about dwindling ODFW financial resources needed to adequately manage not only this species but also the numerous others they are also responsible for.

Craig’s charts estimated it costs approximately $125,000 per year to manage the cougar but with the increase in population and interaction with humans, it will cost slightly over $250,000 per year to keep it within sustainable, safe population numbers. ODFW”s wildlife budget has been and is basically made up of dedicated funds, those generated by hunting license and tag fees, and not from the state’s general fund.

Hunting Declining

The ‘pool’ of new hunters and anglers is slowly drying up as the source of funds for the management of most of Oregon’s wildlife resources. With Oregon, along with many other states, becoming less rural, fewer sportsmen are being recruited into the hunting and angling ranks.

Alternate funding sources will be needed, and soon, to take on this very important job. This is especially true due to ever increasing numbers of people competing for much of the same space that wildlife needs.

Perhaps we should all buy a hunting license, with the money dedicated to management of both game species and the more numerous nongame species we have!!

Trip Report: Annual Rare Bird Chase Follows up Winter Wings
By Jo Massey

Twenty-two eager birders met at For the Birds on Saturday, February 25, 2006, to share in a follow-up field trip to find rare or interesting birds seen during the previous week’s Winter Wings Festival. The trip was led by Ken Johnston. Many other experienced Basin birders joined and shared their knowledge with those who were relatively new to the excitement of birding the Basin Attending were: Cy & Beth Phillips, Sally Stroud, Darrel & Diana Samuels, Gerry Hill, Craig, Paige & Madison Ellsworth, Bill & Elaine Deutschman, B.J. Matzen, Charlotte Kisling, Jean Van Hulsen, Julie Van Moorhem, Dave Potter, Tom & Kathy Essex, Kevin Spencer, Marilyn Christian, Ken Johnston, and Jo Massey.

Four areas were visited, beginning at Veteran’s Park, where 25 species of birds and waterfowl were seen, including an unanticipated Sharp-shinned Hawk. Miller Island netted many of the same birds, plus an additional ten species. One of the highlights of the day was witnessing a couple of Northern Harriers sky dancing, a drama of flight used to attract female partners.

A muskrat added interest at Tingley Lake, where an additional four species of ducks, not seen earlier, were added to the list. The morning was rounded out on Township Road, where one of the main highlights of the day thrilled the birding group — a Great Horned Owl sitting on her nest. The grand finale was a Bewick’s Swan (rare) hobnobbing with a flock of Tundra Swans, in the South Klamath Refuge’s White Lake.

There’s More

Addendum from Julie Van Moorhem: Some of us went down to the Lower Klamath NWR visitors’ center (Jean, Julie, Dave, B. J., Kevin, Beth and Cy), where we saw a Northern Mockingbird, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, and California Quail.

The Conservation Column by Pepper Trail: Salvage Logging
(from the March Rogue Valley Audubon Society’s Chat)
Greg Walden’s “Forest Emergency Restoration and Research Act,” or FERRA would expedite management actions (including salvage logging) following “catastrophes” like wildfires on public lands.

On February 24, I attended the hearing on this proposed bill that was held in Medford. While the stated purpose of this hearing was to gather testimony from experts in forestry and forest ecology, much of the time was spent in the inquisitorial cross-examination of an OSU graduate student, Daniel Donato, by Walden and the bill’s Democratic co-sponsor, Brian Baird of Washington State. Donato’s offense was that he and five co-authors had published a one-page paper entitled “Post-Wildfire Logging Hinders Regeneration and Increases Fire Risk.”

This study was conducted in the area burned by the Biscuit Fire, and was funded through BLM. When the paper appeared, BLM promptly suspended funding for the project, only to reinstate it following nationwide criticism of the action as another example of suppression of science under the Bush administration.

The exchange between Baird and Donato made it clear that there was poor communication between the researchers and BLM managers before publication; but such problems are hardly unusual. There is no doubt in my mind that the outraged reaction of the BLM, Walden, and Baird to the paper was due entirely to its findings that salvage logging sharply reduced seedling survival and contributed to the build-up of downed wood that could fuel future fires.

If Donato’s results had supported salvage logging, he would have been welcomed to the hearing with respect and deference, and not a word would have been spoken about required consultation, scientific methodology, or the need for language qualifying his findings.

In the midst of this sideshow, it is easy to forget Walden’s bill itself – but that would be a terrible mistake. The bill’s fundamental problem can be seen in its emphasis on wildfires as “catastrophic events” which require an emergency response and the suspension of normal environmental safeguards. In fact, wildfires are natural events that are essential for long-term forest health. In the words of a paper co-authored by the eminent forest ecologist Dr. Jerry Franklin, “…[N]atural disturbances are key ecosystem processes rather than ecological disasters that require human repair…Salvage harvesting activities undermine many of the ecosystem benefits of major disturbances…”

Trees left standing after a natural disturbance are vitally important to forest recovery. They help keep the soil in place, provide shade and shelter for fish and wildlife, and help speed forest recovery. Those that survive the fire, though scorched, are essential seed sources for natural regeneration. Salvage logging operations remove these vital components of forest recovery, and can cause much direct damage by compacting soils, causing erosion, killing seedlings, and generating logging slash that can fuel future fires.

In the name of “emergency restoration,” FERRA sacrifices the health of the land to give timber companies increased access to public forests while weakening the public’s ability to participate in the decisions affecting their forests. In the last year alone, over 200 million board feet of timber have been logged through a controversial post-fire logging program in Oregon and Washington. Most of these projects have been controversial because they damage sensitive watersheds and old-growth reserves, undermining the recovery of endangered wildlife like salmon and the northern spotted owl.

Despite this controversy, 90% of the proposed logging has proceeded under existing “emergency” rules. FERRA encourages these abuses to continue, and would give forest managers and bureaucrats wide powers to make decisions with little or no public input, and with no requirement that a full range of management alternatives be considered.

For those with a desire to know more, I recommend the website of the group American Lands that summarizes facts and myths about this proposed legislation. Go to www.americanlands.org and follow the links related to the “Walden Logging Bill.”

Fortunately, there is a better alternative to FERRA. This is Representative Tom Udall’s H.R. 3973, National Forests Rehabilitation and Recovery Act of 2005. This legislation would allow local stakeholders to join together and create sensible long term restoration plans that protect communities from future wildfires, create jobs, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and safeguard old-growth and roadless forests. This legislation is more likely to meet with success because it encourages collaboration and a scientifically-sound, non-controversial restoration program.

What You Can Do: Write to Representative Walden, expressing your opposition to the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act. Urge him to put his efforts into finding funds to thin and reduce fuels in overstocked living forests, rather than cynically exploiting wildfires to expedite salvage logging.

Hunting for a Lifer at the End of a Rainbow
By Julie Van Moorhem

On January 8, Tamara Walker and I took off for Eugene to look for the Snowy Owl and also White-tailed Kites (not a lifer, but a state bird for me).

It rained most of the way to Eugene, but a small patch of blue sky opened up NW of Eugene as we arrived. Tamara had received instructions from a friend about a location at the end of Royal Avenue that had kites recently so we headed there first.

About a minute or so after we drove into the parking area and scanned the trees, I spotted one hovering out in the field beyond the parking area. Not the best sighting but I could tell it was a Kite.

As we left, I saw another one perched in a tree and then it flew, hovered, and went back to another tree–great, close-up views–much better than the first sighting.

My only niggle of a bad feeling was that I might have used up all the luck on finding that bird and leave us hanging out on the Snowy!

We then headed to Alvadore and Franklin where the Snowy Owl had been hanging out. Just as we turned north on Alvadore, a nice half-rainbow appeared on the horizon. As we drove farther north the rainbow’s colors intensified, and we talked about a Snowy Owl being at the end of the rainbow (who cares about a pot o’ gold?!).

Just after we passed the intersection of Alvadore and Franklin and spotted the farm buildings, the rainbow’s colors became even more intense.

We also saw a few cars pulled off to the side of the road. We pulled in and began to scan. Tamara spotted the Snowy Owl sitting 2′-3′ off the ground on a John Deere trailer.

Its side was toward us but every now and then it would slowly turn its head around and look in our direction. We looked at the bird for a long time (lifer looks for both of us demanded scrutiny!).

We also watched others pull up (at least one woman clutching the newspaper article with the Snowy’s picture) and look at the bird, too, then cruise down the road to the north and find a place to turn around and come back to look from the near side of the road.

Just before we left to make the turn and come back, I noticed that the colors of the rainbow were even more intense and it was now an entire rainbow. I couldn’t help but wonder what was at the other end.

Neither of us will ever forget our lifer Snowy Owl at the end of a rainbow, and I know that I will remember this sighting every time I see a rainbow! Both owl and rainbow were beautiful!

Sometimes the chase is particularly good.

Good birding y’all, Julie

An Invitation to Godwit Days in Arcata CA April 21-23
This festival is held at the peak of spring migration. Shorebirds are plentiful. Opportunities are arranged to see species such as the Marbled Murrelet, Spotted Owl, and many others.

Select from small group field trips, lectures, workshops, boating excursions and community activities led by experienced local guides. There are almost 100 of these activities to choose from. Visit www.godwitdays.com or call 800-908-WING for further information.

FEEDBACK
We would love to hear from you. Please direct your comments, suggestions, or ideas to: Editor of The Grebe, c/o Klamath Basin Audubon Society, P.O. Box 354, Kamath Falls, OR 97601.