Kitsap Audubon's President - Janine Schutt
I had planned to begin this letter by saying Happy Spring, but since we seem to have skipped winter this year that greeting seems unnecessary. But each passing day feels a little more spring-like, as our migratory birds continue to make their first appearances of the year. Rufous hummingbirds are vying with their Anna’s counterparts for space at our feeders and flowers. Soon a quiet evening will be pierced by the cryptic call of a common nighthawk foraging overhead on flying insects. In a short while our forests will be filled with the swift whistles of the Pacific-slope flycatcher and the ascending trills of the Swainson’s thrush.
Swooping swallows are arriving in droves. Among them are the world’s largest swallow, the purple martin, which spent our winter season far south in Brazil. Many thanks to Kitsap Audubon member Sandy Pavey, who delivered an exciting presentation on the species at last month’s general meeting. In the eastern United States the martins are dependent on human provided housing. Here in the Northwest, the martins use natural cavities where they can find them, but that is becoming increasingly more difficult. As a result, more of them are turning to artificial solutions to satisfy their nesting needs. Purple martins are a highly specialized species that prefer to use nesting gourds that are next to or over open water. They feed solely on flying insects and so are highly susceptible to starvation during periods of severe weather in which their food source is not present.
For many years Kitsap Audubon Society has provided artificial nesting cavities for the local purple martins, thus augmenting their population in Kitsap County. Volunteers are currently needed to help clean out the nests and monitor their usage. If you would like to get involved in Kitsap Audubon’s purple martin project, please contact Sandy Pavey, Judy Willott, or myself. If you live in suitable purple martin nesting habitat, consider becoming the landlord of your own colony. The preferred method is to provide a telescoping pole with nesting gourds specifically designed for the martins. For more information on providing housing for purple martins, visit: www.purplemartin.org
Notes from the Board :
2014 recipient of the Kingfisher Award is:
Milly (Renee) Bellemere and Bob (Robert) Schumacher for the recognition of their more than 13 years of service to Kitsap Audubon. This is Kitsap Audubon’s highest honor, awarded for outstanding service over a period of five or more years. Milly was Secretary to the Board for two years (2001-2002) and Bob served as 2nd Vice President in 2002. For the past eight years, Milly and Bob have been our official greeters, the friendly couple who welcome you and sign you in when you first come through the door at our monthly meetings. Milly and Bob have also been Kitsap Christmas Bird Count volunteers for ten years. They led the Seabeck area CBC in 2008, and Milly has led the backyard count for the past five years. The two have also given presentations for Kitsap Audubon based on their travels.
The KINGFISHER AWARD is Kitsap Audubon Society’s annual recognition of the member or members who gave extraordinary effort to the KAS mission throughout the year. This award is given to a KAS member who has been an active supporter of KAS for at least five years and has been an advocate for the environment and wildlife.
Put on those thinking caps! The KINGFISHER Award Committee welcomes your suggestions for next year's recipient of KAS's highest honor. This award, to be presented at our annual general membership dinner meeting in May, honors a KAS member who has a history of volunteer excellence with our organization. To be considered, the candidate should have demonstrated the following characteristics:
Please submit any suggestions for the Kingfisher Award to the firstname.lastname@example.org. Many people work very hard to make KAS the great chapter it is, and we want no one to be overlooked. Thanks! We appreciate your help.
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