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Learn from Others

Meet our Environmental Champions

Corbin Klaft - A Friend to the Birds

Nine-year-old Corbin Klaft has a birdfeeder outside his bedroom window. "I want to see the birds, how they hunt and perch, what they do with their feet. The birds come and eat, and I try to identify them." Corbin has an idea for a birdhouse, too. "I'm going to make a regular bird house and then put a shield with a hole in it that predators can't get in." What's one of the best things about watching birds from your room? "It's experiencing nature but not scaring them away!" 

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Mark Borden and the Swallows

 

Mark Borden of Whidbey Island has invited Violet-green and Tree Swallows to nest in his fence. Why? Originally, it was to control the insects on his horse farm. He once watched as a horse fly flew across the pasture. In came a Tree Swallow, and phwapp! It grabbed that fly! So he built a nestbox out of a leftover piece of horse-fence. Within a day, a pair of swallows moved into it. Mark then figured out how to put a nestbox in a post. Bring on the swallows!

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Landowners Help Endangered Sage-Grouse

When it comes to saving endangered species, habitat is nearly always critical. For this Greater Sage-Grouse, a bird now endangered in parts of its range, it comes down to preserving stands of healthy sagebrush. And essential to saving sage habitat is the cooperation of landowners. Recently, Rob Wesselman and his family placed 1100 acres of their land – home to Greater Sage-Grouse – into a federal conservation program called State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement, or SAFE. Hats off to the Wesselmans and others who manage their land for wildlife conservation! Learn more at USDA.gov

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Bird Scare - Interview with Carl and Rita Comfort

When it’s time to pick their four acres of wine grapes, Carl and Rita Comfort would rather the birds didn’t beat them to it. Without some form of bird control, they could lose about 10% of their harvest. So at their vineyard, Comforts of Whidbey, they broadcast the distress calls of birds, to keep would-be grape-eaters – like these European Starlings – at bay. Before the Bird Scare machine, they tried the blast of a cannon, but you can imagine what the neighbors thought of that. Now, the calls of starlings and robins and a Cooper’s Hawk do the job.

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Chuck Pettis: Earth Sanctuary

At a place called Earth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island in Washington State, Osprey and Song Sparrows raise their young. Swainson’s Thrushes and Yellow Warblers find a welcome refuge when they return from South and Central America. The Wood Duck young  seen here  have a safe place to grow. Chuck Pettis is creating this sanctuary. Chuck’s goal is to create an old-growth forest, so he’s looking ahead 500 years. Learn more at earthsanctuary.org.

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How are you making a difference for birds? Leave a comment below or get in touch here. We would love to share your story with other BirdNote listeners.

comment 1 Show

I have always loved birds since I got my first bird encyclopedia at age 6. I am 36 now and I can't get enough of them. I can sit on my back deck with my binoculars, camera, and bird book being entertained for hours. surely my neighbors think I'm a bit cooky, but I really don't care. I have created the perfect bird sanctuary attracting more and more new species all the time. I recently put a pond into the mix. From Anna's hummingbirds to varied thrushes. I thought I'd seen them all (for this area-Mukilteo, Wa.)until yesterday when I looked out the slider and saw a Band-Tailed Pigeon on the feeder. Mind you the feeder is a very large triple tube feeder at least 3.5 feet top to bottom and his head reached mid way on the feeder. At first glance it looked like a hawk with the size and all. I managed to snap a couple of photos before he retreated to the trees. It absolutely made my day. Everyone hears the name "pigeon" and assumes or pictures a common freeway underpass dwelling bird, but this bird was nothing of the sort. Beautiful, shy and calming to watch. For someone who's used to seeing red breasted nuthatches, chickadees, juncos, towhees, hummingbirds and other small varieties, a bird that big and that close is quite awesome. Almost compared to the time I saved a beached Grebe in Ocean Shores. I held that bird in my arms until the wildlife rescue man came to get it from an hour away. I have never been that close to such a beautiful bird in my life. Even though it could have easily skewered me at any time with it's long sharp beak, all I could think about was helping him survive. He did attempt several times at first, but I think eventually he realized I was just trying to help him not hurt him. It was very gratifying especially knowing that so many people on the beach would have and did just ignore the bird not giving a second thought as to why he was just sitting on the beach crying. I took the time and effort to recognize an animal in distress and know that if I did not act on my instincts he would die. I could not let that happen.

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