The Washington Ornithological Society was chartered in 1988 to increase knowledge of the birds of Washington State and to enhance communication among all persons interested in those birds.
WOS Board Member Kim Thorburn wishes to alert the birding community about some troubling reports from Ephrata involving birders or, at least, bird photographers.
“Spokane Audubon has received several email messages from a rancher near Ephrata about people trespassing and parking on the country road so that trucks and equipment are unable to get through,” Kim writes. “The draw is photographing burrowing owls. Apparently, it started after the location was posted on Facebook. The rancher has added ‘No trespassing’ and ‘No parking’ signs but, apparently, the problem continues. It’s the time of year that ranchers are moving livestock and hay so you can imagine how lots of parked cars are causing problems. The sheriff has been notified and responded at least one time.”
Kim says that Spokane Audubon is trying to assist the rancher by reaching out to the birding and bird photographer community to ask everyone to “honor our birding ethics and respect private property and community needs.”
Three of four WOS officers are running for another one-year term in their positions. A new candidate has been nominated for the treasurer position, replacing Grace Oliver, who has served two years in that position. Two board members are nominated to return, while a new candidate from the northeast corner of the state will run for an open board position. Check out the impressive 2021 slate of candidates and fill out your ballot during the voting period (Monday Sept. 6 – Sept 27).
Thanks to a partnership with Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we now have a terrific new benefit for WOS members: FREE online access to “Birds of the World.”
Curious birders will love Birds of the World — the world’s largest online encyclopedia of birds. Inside its 10,700+ scholarly, in-depth species accounts you’ll find expertly curated media galleries with photos, videos, and sound recordings, dynamic range maps, breeding calendars, and other life history details. Soak up detailed accounts of every species and every family and use the Taxonomy Explorer to explore the birds in your own county. Birds of the World allows you to enjoy the breathtaking diversity of the world’s birds and helps you decode their fascinating behaviors.
WOS and OBA leadership have decided with regret to cancel the in-person joint meeting in Astoria because of concerns about the prevalance of the Delta variant of COVID.
“We feel that holding such a large gathering of people from two states presents an unjustifiable risk,” said OBA Board President Sarah Swanson and WOS President Jennifer Kauffman in a joint letter.
WOS and OBA will provide refunds to those who registered to attend, though registrants are responsible for cancelling their own lodging reservations.
Conference planners are working to provide a virtual keynote talk with Dr. John Fitzpatrick of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
The pelagic trips are independent of the conference and will be run or cancelled at the discretion of Oregon Pelagic Tours.
See the full letter on the conference web page.
Steve Hampton offers an in-depth look at the accelerating spread of California Scrub-Jays in Washington State. The WOS board is busy with the upcoming joint WOS/OBA annual conference in Astoria in September [Note: now cancelled], elections also in September and ongoing efforts to make WOS more inclusive. Tim Brennan reviews some of the most productive places in Douglas County for his Big Year. Ed Pullen takes us along on his Mason County Big Day. Tom Bancroft describes his successful effort to track down the soft calls of a ghost of the north in the Okanogan National Forest. And there’s much more in the Current Newsletter.
The Washington Bird Records Committee (WBRC) held its spring meeting April 22 and accepted 29 reports as valid new records. The committee added Winter Wren to the state checklist, which now stands at 521 species. Among the accepted reports at the spring meeting were Emperor Goose, Little Gull, “Bewick’s” Tundra Swan, Upland Sandpiper, White-tailed Kite, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Read the WBRC Spring 2021 Meeting Results here.
Volume 13, edited by Ed Swan, features articles by more than two dozen contributors. Included are four general interest articles covering diversity and inclusion in birding, habitat change, and birding highlights from all 39 Washington counties. Also in this issue are seven articles with updates, analysis, and expanded knowledge on regularly occurring species covering topics such as the end of the Northwestern Crow as a distinct species and the “Western Flycatcher” problem in Washington. And 11 articles provide species accounts for 14 species new to the Washington State list since 2005, when the latest Birds of Washington State by Wahl et al. came out. Finally, you’ll find the 11th report of the Washington Bird Records Committee (previously published in Western Birds). Read Volume 13 now.
WOS field trips are resuming. The first to be scheduled is a Yakima County birding trip led by Scott Downes. The trip has already been filled with those who signed up for last year’s canceled trip. WOS’s Trip Coordinator Jen Kunitsugu is in touch with other trip leaders, so keep your eyes on this website for other upcoming field trips. Although the situation around COVID is evolving, please follow the current CDC recommendations, including wearing face masks, keeping 6 feet of social distance, etc. to limit potential exposure. Be prepared to drive on your own or with members of your own household. At your own risk and discretion, you may drive with others if all are vaccinated, face masks are worn, and it’s mutually agreed by the riders.
WOS Board Member Jason Fidorra has created a Facebook Groups page to allow for more interaction and participation among WOS members in hopes of engaging a broader public with birds and birding topics in Washington. Thanks to Elaine Chuang, WOS also is now posting many of its monthly meeting presentations on WOS’s YouTube channel, so that people can view them at any time. For more information about WOS’s online offerings beyond this website, go to the WOS Online page.
All messages to the Tweeters listserv during 2020 have been added to WOS’s Tweeters Archive. The archive now contains all messages from 1994 through 2020. The birding listserv is hosted at the University of Washington, which currently keeps only two years worth of messages. WOS agreed several years ago to create and host an archive with all older Tweeters messages. You can search or browse for messages at WOS’s Tweeters Archive.
All 13 of WOS’s Washington Birds journals published between 1989 and 2021 can now be read on this website or downloaded. Volume 13 was published in April 2021. WOS had already placed the four most recent journals before that online. And WOS President Jennifer Kauffman recently had the eight earlier journals scanned to .pdfs so the complete set of journals could be made available here. Find them at the bottom of the Washington Birds page.
Go to WOS’s Monthly Meetings page for information on our fabulous monthly meeting programs. WOS members who live outside the Seattle area (or are on the road) can still attend using a computer, tablet or phone. It’s easy!