Posted by: atowhee | February 28, 2023


Snow is what fills
the oak, and what covers
the grass and bare garden.
Snow is what reverses
the sidewalk and the lawn
into the substance of whiteness… –Donald Hall



From Marie-Annette McCabe at her home in rural Ashland: “We may have said, ‘Let it snow,’ but we did not mean so MUCH!
The white wonderland and the pristine silence caress the senses in a manner beyond compare…..As for the 5″ and counting accumulation of fluff… not so much. The snow high in the trees reaches exasperation and must let go and every few minutes there is a avalanche cascading off the branches setting off a blur of white in the woods below.

“Where are the ground sparrows and towhees? Oh there you are, hiding under a roof of clumped snow on the bushes. No way you are going to find food in the snow – so here comes a shower of sunflower seeds. Out of nowhere alights an oak titmouse, then a chickadee and a desperate lesser goldfinch so hungry she has strayed from the flock, wherever it is.
Wonder if the quail will come? The snow is over their heads so they are probably going to stay huddled together in the bushes – and hungry! What of the turkeys? They are always passing through the field by 8 am. Don’t see how they will plow through this snow…looks to be a hungry day as no seeds or bugs can be seen with all this snow…. Even the hummingbirds did not show until late this morning…. Lucky for them they could keep in their state of torpor before their hunger got the best of them. Poor animals and birds. This is their toughest season…. It is eat or die or freeze.
“So it goes throughout the region for our wild friends. Up in the mountains there is even more snow. The Great Gray Owls have not started to nest yet…. Give them another month or so, but in the meantime they are scoping out their potential mates and hunting hard to keep bodies strong for the challenging nesting season that takes their all. They will be on their favorite low branch listening carefully for the voles that, though the owls cannot see under the snow, they can HEAR them moving… then WHAP! Out of nowhere the vole is plucked out of a good foot of snow and never knew what hit it. It is a lonely job, but they would not have it any other way as there are not that many voles to go around!”

And here’s what Lee French’s humming bird feeder looked like at dawn, before he cleaned it off:

PORTLAND AUDUBON SOCIETY will change its name. Below is statement issued today by the executive director of the largest Audubon Society in the world, in terms of membership size:

Over the last few years, coinciding with a time of racial reckoning, the birding community has been rethinking its relationship with the John James Audubon name. Many know him as a wildlife artist whose illustrations helped shape the field of ornithology. Some associate the name with fond memories of birding trips, summer camps, and environmental advocacy from organizations like ours. What has been dismissed, ignored, or overlooked until the last few years by both Portland Audubon and the larger Audubon community is the fact that John James Audubon enslaved and sold Black people, opposed the abolition of slavery, and dug up and stole the human remains of Native Americans from their graves. After a great deal of discussion within our board, staff, and with other Audubon chapters, Portland Audubon’s board voted in January to move away from the name Audubon. In order to best achieve our mission as an organization committed to racial equity and the environment, we cannot continue to condone bearing a name that celebrates a slaveholder who embraced white supremacist systems.
Portland Audubon isn’t alone in having these discussions. Already Seattle Audubon, Madison Audubon, Chicago Audubon, and the Audubon Naturalist Society have decided to drop the name. In addition, National Audubon Society has spent the last year undergoing a process to examine whether they will continue with the Audubon name. 
While National Audubon Society hasn’t made a final decision, their board is currently discussing whether National Audubon should embark on a name change. We strongly urge National Audubon Society’s board to do the right thing and move forward with a collaborative renaming process. There are more than 450 Audubon chapters across the country, including Portland Audubon. National Audubon Society should remove the name Audubon as this would make a strong statement toward the network’s commitment to racial equity. It would allow the Audubon network to stay intact and help chapters move forward together with a unified voice. If National Audubon decides not to remove the Audubon name, Portland Audubon will begin its own collaborative name change process, which will include input from our members, partners, sister chapters around the state, and the larger community. No matter what our name, our mission remains the same: to inspire people to love and protect birds, wildlife, and the natural environment upon which life depends. While a name change is never easy, we believe that it’s vital to our work if we want to make sure that Portland Audubon is a place of belonging for everyone and every community.

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