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Marbled Murrelets: Why This Bird Matters to Us With Help From Our

OCT. 2014
Kitsap Audubon Society – Since 1972
Oct. 9, 2014, Program
Marbled Murrelets:
Why This Bird Matters to Us
Maria Mudd Ruth will
share tales from her book, Rare
Bird: Pursuing the Mystery
of the Marbled Murrelet,
which celebrates the world of
this fascinating seabird of the
Pacific Northwest Coast. Maria
highlights the bizarre breeding
behavior of the murrelet, the
185-year-long search for its
elusive nest, and how the
accidental discovery of the
first nest in 1974 has helped
protect our coastal forests and
nearshore waters where the
murrelet lives. While unraveling
many mysteries, Maria found
herself exploring larger
questions: Why does this chunky
little bird matter to us? Why and
how should we care about the
murrelet? Do we have a moral
obligation to save this bird?В Maria has published more
than a dozen natural history
books. Originally published in
2005, Rare Bird, was reissued in
2013 by Mountaineers Book.
Maria is on the Black Hills
Audubon Conservation Committee
and volunteers for the Nisqually
Reach Aquatic Reserve and South
Sound Pigeon Guillemot Breeding
Photo credits: Tom Hamer/
Hamer Environmental (juvenile
about to fledge). Glenn Bartley
Photography (diving MaMu).
Printed on recycled paper by Blue
Sky Printing and mailed by Olympic
Presort, both family owned local
With Help From Our Friends
Kitsap Audubon gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our
Bainbridge members and friends who designate Kitsap Audubon each year
for a portion of their One-Call-For-All contribution. Kitsap Audubon partners
with and helps support various community groups and organizations that
share our commitment to protecting wildlife and the environment.
Kitsap Audubon Society
President: Janine Schutt
360-830-4446, [email protected]
Vice President:В Judy Willott
206-842-6939, [email protected]
Treasurer: Sandy Bullock, 360-3945635; [email protected]
Secretary: Diane Bachen, 206-8551667, [email protected]
At-Large Board of Directors:
Connie Bickerton, 206-200-8425,
[email protected]
Gene Bullock, 360-394-5635;
[email protected]
Ray Coleburg, 360-535-4105
Sharron Ham, 360-779-5458,В [email protected]
Byron Kane, 360-620-1367, [email protected]
Alan Westphal, 206-780-7844, [email protected]
Standing Committee Chairs:
Field Trips: Alan Westphal,
206-780-7844, [email protected]
Conservation Chair: Don Willott
206-842-6939, [email protected]
Education Chair: Gene Bullock,
360-394-5635; [email protected]
Hospitality: Milly Bellemere & Bob
Schumacher. 360-830-4231, [email protected]
Membership Administrator: Sara Kane
297-2716, [email protected]
Programs: Vic Ulsh
360-479-6900,В [email protected]
Publicity: Barbara Wilhite
360-692-8180,В [email protected]
Refreshment Chair: Sharron Ham
360-779-5458,В [email protected]
Purple Martins: Sandy Pavey, 360-9300807, [email protected];
Paul Carson, 360-779-2612
Raffle Coordinators:
Dawn Hansen, Roberta Heath
Wildlife Sightings: Joan Carson
[email protected] or 360-779-2612
Scholarship Chair: Sandy Bullock
360-394-5635, [email protected]
KAS Facebook Page: Connie Bickerton,
[email protected]
Webmaster: Mike Szerlog,
360-881-0470, [email protected],
Kingfisher Editor: GeneBullock, 360-3945635; [email protected]
President’s Letter - Janine Schutt
At our September general
meeting, the membership
approved our new Bequest &
Endowment Policy. The next step
for future bequest spending will
be to establish the endowment
spending committee. The Board
will keep members updated as
things develop.
The Ann Sleight bequest now
totals $360,000. $270,000 was
bestowed on us last year and we
received an additional $90,000
when Ann’s property was sold. We
are investing these funds with the
Kitsap Community Foundation in
the Kitsap Audubon Society Ann
Sleight Memorial Fund.
A special thank you to our
friends on Bainbridge Island who
have so generously supported
Kitsap Audubon this year through
the island’s annual One Call For
All fundraiser. The 2013-2014
campaign raised $5,745 for our
chapter. We use this money as
part of our annual operating
budget, so your generosity is
greatly appreciated.
I would like to now share
something very personal. This
week my family received the
devastating news that a close
family member is losing his battle
with cancer. As I struggled to
make sense of things, I drove to
nearby Wildcat Lake and launched
my kayak in an effort to find solace
in nature. I was delighted to see
a pied-billed grebe diving for
something tasty underwater. A
flock of Canada geese allowed
me to paddle alongside them. A
snooty kingfisher wasn’t in the
mood for company and flew a
short distance away, saying some
choice words as it went. As
daylight waned, I paddled back to
the boat launch. As I loaded my
boat onto my vehicle, a mallard
quacked its goodbye and I was
reminded why I had become a
During a difficult period
in 2003 I found myself watching
the birds in my yard as a way to
escape the stress. Prior to that I
had never paid much attention to
birds. I had one field guide at the
time (I now have over a dozen),
and I remember how excited I
was when I identified my first
red-breasted nuthatch and
hairy woodpecker -- and as the
saying goes, the rest is history.
Although I see those species
on a daily basis now, I have
never become jaded with them.
Watching birds is therapeutic
and I don’t think there are many
who would dispute that. I
encourage all of you to share
the love of birding with people
you know who are dealing with
hardships. Give them a bird book
or a feeder and share some of
your knowledge with them. You
may never know what a positive
impact such a gesture could
have. And you just may convert
someone permanently into the
world of birding.
Kitsap Audubon Society meets the 2nd Thursday of each month, September through May, 7:00 to 9:00
p.m., on the lower level of the Poulsbo Library, 700 NE Lincoln Rd. Open to the public. Free parking.
Half of North America’s Birds
At Risk From Global Warming
Nearly half of the bird
species in the continental U.S. and
Canada are threatened by global
warming. Many of these species
could go extinct without decisive
action to protect their habitats
and reduce the severity of global
warming. That’s the startling
conclusion reached by Audubon
scientists in a new study.
Of 588 bird species
examined in the study, 314 are at
risk. Of those, 126 species are at
risk of severe declines by 2050,
and a further 188 species face the
same fate by 2080, with numerous
extinctions possible if global
warming is allowed to erase the
havens birds occupy today. 313
of these at risk species regularly
occur in Washington State; 92 are
considered climate endangered,
and 97 are climate threatened.
That means that over half of
birds regularly occurring here are
climate endangered/threatened
including the iconic Bald Eagle,
the Rufous Hummingbird and
even the Mallard. These species
are projected to lose as much
as 75% or more of their existing
range in coming years, threatening
their long-term survival. The
study, which identifies the future
projected range of Washington’s
climate-endangered bird species,
can be accessed at wa.audubon.
“The greatest threat
our birds face today is global
warming,” said Audubon Chief
Scientist Gary Langham, who
led the investigation. “That’s our
unequivocal conclusion after seven
years of painstakingly careful
and thorough research. Global
warming threatens the basic fabric
of life on which birds – and the rest
of us – depend, and we have to
act quickly and decisively to avoid
catastrophe for them and us.”
To understand the links
between where birds live and
the climatic conditions that
support them, Langham and
other Audubon ornithologists
analyzed 30 years of historical
North American climate data
and tens of thousands of
historical bird records from the
U.S. Geological Survey’s North
American Breeding Bird Survey
and the Audubon Christmas Bird
Count. Understanding those links
then allowed scientists to project
where birds are likely to be able to
survive – and not survive – in the
The study also reveals areas
that are likely to remain stable for
birds even as climate changes,
enabling Audubon to identify
“stronghold” areas that birds will
need to survive in the future.
The result is a roadmap
for bird conservation in coming
decades under a warming climate.
The study provides a key entry
point for Audubon’s greater
engagement on the urgent issue
of global warming. Responding
to the magnitude of the threat
to our birds, Audubon is greatly
expanding its climate initiative,
aiming to engage a larger and
more diverse set of voices in
support of protecting birds.
The 25-strong Audubon
chapter-network in the state and
the Audubon Washington office
are actively engaged in bird and
habitat conservation. Some of
these activities include communityscience efforts to protect the
sagebrush songbirds of Eastern
Washington, advocacy work
to safeguard food and habitat
resources for marine birds, youth
conservation leadership training,
and advocacy concerning oil and
coal transport, contributing to
a brighter future for birds and
people in our region.
Solutions will include
personal choices to conserve
energy and create backyard bird
habitat, local action to create
community climate action plans,
state-based work to integrate
Audubon’s climate science into
work on marine bird conservation
and sagebrush steppe habitat
prioritization, and other efforts to
identify and protect bird habitats.
For more information, visit or audubon.
The Bald Eagle and Rufous
Hummingbird are among bird
species threatened by global
warming. Photos by Jay
Field Trips & Events - Al Westphal, Field Trip Chair
Introductory Birding Class led by Dan Froehlich, beginning
October 27. Space is limited. For details or to register,
contact him at [email protected] or call 206-5952305. The course includes five evening classes and three field
trips. The fee is $100 for Kitsap Audubon members; $125
for nonmembers. The fee for classes only is $60 for Kitsap
Audubon members or $75 for nonmembers. You can find a
registration form in the September Kingfisher, available on the
Kitsap Audubon website at
Birdfest and Bluegrass (Ridgefield, WA): October 4-5.
Check the website for details and schedule of events: http://
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge: Saturday, October 18. (Al
Westphal); NOTE CHANGE OF DATE. [email protected],
206-780-7844 (e-mail preferred). One of the best locations in
our area to observe an array of migrating and over-wintering
waterfowl along with many other birds. We will walk the forest
and barn trails and as far out on the boardwalk as we care to go. There is a good option for
lunch after birding at Norma’s just outside the refuge. Watch weather forecasts and dress
accordingly! Meet at the parking lot by the visitor center at 8:30. a.m.
Owl Prowl with Jamie Acker: Sunday, October 26, 5:00 a.m. Jamie’s early morning Owl
Prowls on Bainbridge Island are a unique experience. He knows all of the owl spots and
will call them right into your view. Because of his long-term studies of the Bainbridge owl
population, he is a on a first-name basis with many of the resident owls. Call him after 4:00
p.m. at 206-499-7121 or e-mail [email protected] for a reservation, instructions, and
meeting location.
Sinclair Inlet and Vicinity: Saturday, November 15. (Al Westphal and John Finkbeiner, coleaders): [email protected], 206-780-7844 (e-mail preferred). We’ll start this half-day event
on the Port Orchard waterfront looking for the wintering gulls and seabirds on Sinclair inlet,
then we’ll work our way at least as far as Manchester State Park. A scope will be useful if you
have one. Meet at 8:30 at the parking area near Amy’s By the Bay at 100 Harrison Street, Port
Kitsap Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Saturday, December 20th. All skill levels are welcome.
We will have eight field teams counting birds in designated areas within our 15-mile-diameter
count circle, stretching from Manchester to Poulsbo and from Seabeck to Bainbridge Island.
Participants can also choose to count birds in their own
backyards that day instead of joining a field team. To
sign up you will need to contact the leader for the
team you wish to join. Team leaders and their contact
information will appear in the November Kingfisher.
For information, contact Gene Bullock ([email protected]; 360-394-5635).
Photo by Jay Wiggs
Wildlilfe Sightings - Joan Carson
Wildlife Sightings ([email protected]
We definitely have been
enjoying the Indian Summer we
hoped for and it seems everyone is
still enjoying summer fun. Reports
of migrating birds have been few.
Here’s hoping there will be more
of them in the coming weeks.
Several members have been
visiting favorite birding areas far
afield but things are getting pretty
interesting at home too. The
Bewick’s wrens have descended
on our yard and their buzzy, giggly
chatter is a welcome sound. A
Swainson’s thrush stopped by to
use the bird bath but was probably
moving south as we didn’t see it
John Finkbeiner, Port
Orchard, sent in a report of what’s
been happening in his yard this
summer. Due to some health
problems, John and Dee have
been birding at the backyard
feeders. Highlights included red
crossbills that arrived in mid-June
and stayed through August. The
band-tailed pigeons arrived in July
and are still with them. Pileated
woodpecker activity began in
August and continues to the
present. At the Fauntleroy ferry
terminal he saw a common tern.
Like many of us, John also reports
having lots of goldfinches but no
This family of Common Loons
was photographed by Jay
Wiggs. Common Loons are
among the North American
species threatened with
serious decline over much of
their range because of global
pine siskins at the present.
Along with the Sightings
reports from members many
beautiful photos continue to arrive
in the e-mail. On September 13,
Elinor Ringland sent in a photo
taken by her son Robert of a great
egret coming in for a landing. It
looked like a ballerina with the
sun backlighting its form and
grace. On the same day, Jay Wood
reported that Eurasian collareddoves were nesting in his yard and
the eggs were close to hatching.
These doves are increasing their
numbers rapidly.
One member headed
for trips far from home is Kathy
Swartz who reported they were
leaving for a birding trip on
September 14, to Ridgefield
National Wildlife Refuge, Astoria
and the Westport/Tokeland area. I
expect to see some good photos
when she returns. On September
12, Ian Bentryn, Bainbridge Island,
reported seeing a scrub jay on
September 11 and he has had a
good view of the Island’s osprey
nest with 3 young in it. Also, lots
of barred owls calling at night.
Other raptors scarce because of
osprey parents. NO bald eagles
for two months.
September 3, Mary Ann
Muenks had her first scrub jay this
summer. Probably a fall migrant.
Will be interesting to see if it
stays. Kathy Swartz, Port Orchard,
reported having a pair of Western
tanagers all summer and assumed
they nested near her place. She
also had her FIRST Eurasian
collared-dove arrive in her yard
this summer.
On August 31, Robert
Ringland sent more of his
excellent bird photographs.
They were taken at Fort Canby
and were of black turnstones,
Heermann’s gulls, Caspian Terns,
whimbrels and juvenile red-necked
August 29, Kathy Swartz
had a large flock of bandtailed pigeons invade her yard
and feeders. August 22, Ed &
Charlotte Roe, Anderson Landing,
Silverdale, updated their purple
martin report. They have eight
gourds up this summer and it
looks like at least half or almost all
of them had activity. Gene & Linda
Daniels, Keyport, also reported a
successful summer for the purple
martins in their gourds. There were
young being feed on August 19,
and they had a regular population
of eight martins all summer.
Here’s hoping the email
overflows with reports in the
coming weeks! END
Kitsap Audubon History - Joan Carson
KAS History - 1980, Part II
The May program was
on The Pine Barrens, a semiwilderness area less than two
hours from Manhattan. Gerard
Bentryn presented the program
on the region. He had worked
with the Department of the
Interior to find a way to save a
significant part of this habitat.
Made up of sand dunes, cedar
bogs, stunted pines, sparse
bird life and occasional bears,
its history stretched back to
colonial times. Field trips for
May included one led by Paul
Carson. It was a pleasure-work
party on Kitsap Audubon’s
Nature Trail in the Nike Site
Park in Kingston. The final
tabulation for the Midwinter
Bald Eagle Survey in Washington
was released and showed the
wintering population was 935
adult birds and 663 immatures.
The greatest concentrations were
along the salmon drainages of
Puget Sound. May’s newsletter
announced, “A Rummage Sale
That’s For The Birds” would be
held in Poulsbo June 14 and 15.
Money raised would go toward
the purchase of one lot on
Protection Island - cost $2500.
The sale was to be held in the
Poulsbo National Guard Armory
and members were urged to
bring items for the sale and come
to work.
A short June newsletter
focused on the upcoming sale
and summer field trips, one of
which was scheduled for June
21st. Members would be working
with the Game Department to
band Caspian gulls in the Grays
Harbor area.
July’s equally short
newsletter was a report on the
Rummage Sale. Co-chairs Jeanne
Snouwaert and Joan Carson
reported, that after expenses,
a check for $2800 was mailed
to Admiralty Audubon for the
Protection Island Fund. Eleanor
Stopps, Chairman of the Fund
told us we purchased Lot 98 in
Division 3. She said it was “Swiss
cheesed with auklet burrows!”
There would be a July Potluck
Picnic at Old Fort Townsend
State Park in Port Townsend
to celebrate the progress
being made to save the Island
for its wildlife. July saw the
publication of the Kitsap Wildlife
Guide, a combined effort of
Kitsap Audubon and the State
Game Department. Charlotte
(Coleburg) Blytmann and Joan
Carson had compiled information
gathered from KAS members
and other sources for three years
and all members were to receive
their own copy of this Guide. It
was a forerunner of the presentday Birding Trail Maps. Kitsap
Audubon’s Wildlife Guide was the
second one in this state. The first
one was done by Tracy Tival, a
wildlife biologist with the Game
Department. It covered Skagit
County. It was hoped that other
Audubon chapters would follow
suit but that didn’t happen.
Those two map-guides were as
far as the project went until the
current “Trail” maps began.
September’s Membership
Program was given by Frank
Beyer and introduced many of
us to two of the most famous
National Wildlife Refuges in the
country - if not the World. Both
are in southern Texas. Laguna
Atascosa and Santa Ana Refuges
each list over 300 bird species
as well as numerous interesting
mammals. Over 100 birds were
part of Frank’s slide presentation.
Also announced in this issue of
the Kingfisher was the availability
of Duck Stamps. Money received
from the sale of these stamps is
the main source of support for
the National Wildlife Refuges.
Much of this revenue comes from
outdoor sportsmen but birders
(at least in KAS) were encouraged
to treat these stamps as their
“bird watching pass.” A followup on the Protection Island effort
announced that ten lots had
already been purchased and that
a bill had been introduced in both
the House of Representatives
and the Senate by Washington
Representative Don Bonker and
Senator Warren Magnuson. It
would establish the Protection
Island National Wildlife Refuge.
KAS members were encouraged
to write letters in support of this
Next Month - 1980
Lynne Weber of West Sound
Wildlife Shelter prepares to be
hoisted in a bucket to release
an orphaned osprey into a nest
where adults were feeding
other fledglings. Sadly, the
orphan’s flight skills were not
ready and it was returned to
the Wildlife Shelter.
Kitsap Audubon Accepting Donations
For Poulsbo Osprey Relocation
Kitsap Audubon is seeking
organizations and individuals
willing to help share the cost of
relocating a family of ospreys in
Poulsbo’s Strawberry Park. Their
current nest site on top of a light
pole is a fire, health and safety
hazard for the North Kitsap
School District and the soccer
players who use the field.
Puget Sound Energy has
generously agreed to donate the
pole for a new nesting platform
and place it in the ground near
the existing nest site, a donation
valued at more than $3,000. But
Kitsap Audubon will need an
additional $2,000 to $3,000 to
complete the project.
Kitsap Audubon is working
closely with Puget Sound Energy,
the North Kitsap School District,
the City of Poulsbo and osprey
expert Jim Kaiser, who has
assisted with hundreds of similar
installations, including one last
April on the Sakai Intermediate
School grounds on Bainbridge
The Pond in February--Jan Gardner
The great blue heron stood
on the far side of the pond. Neck
folded, his long pointed beak
rested on top of his folded wings
as though he were wrapped
warmly in a blue-gray shawl.
February rains had filled the wide
pond up its steep banks. It was
fringed with dried cattails, bent
and sinking, left over from last
summer’s lush growth.
The heron stood quietly, his
long cascade of breast feathers
fluttered when a gust of wind
hurried by, driving wetness,
rippling the flat, dark water. He
waited, longer than I cared to
stand and watch him through
my window. He had been here
before, always alone. His secret
hunting spot or a place where,
Zen-like, he came to meditate?
Later I returned to the
window to see if he was still
there. The winter flock of
widgeons moved across the pond
like a kaleidoscope, the bright
white stripe on the heads of the
males flashing and bobbing. A
few mallards were trying to pair
up. I found my binoculars and
looked for the heron. There he
was, next to a willow, blending
in with the earthy colors. All
sinuous and narrow, stilt legs,
long, curved neck, scissor beak,
he moved elegantly, so tall in
contrast to the ducks swimming
in the water below.
Step by cautious step he
circled the pond stopping at
the shallow end to peer into
a tangle of dried reeds. His
head turned ever so slightly.
Patience…patience. One slender
leg inched down the bank while
his eye stared into the water. I
propped my arm on the side of
the window trying to ease the
strain of holding the binoculars.
They were heavy, yet I couldn’t
look away. Something was going
to happen. He was totally alert
as though holding his breath.
In a swift, graceful motion, his
head came down and stretched
out over the reeds and froze
there. Looking down at him, I
was seeing the top of his head
and the oval line of his back. On
top of his gray folded wings were
dark round patches marking his
shoulders. His thrusted beak and
head formed a sharp, pointed
wedge, elongated by stripes on
the crown, black, white, black. A
phantom jet that has sighted a
target. His back tensed. I could
see the slight twitch. My hand
moved slightly. In the second it
took to focus again, his head was
back up. Something very black
whipped its tail back and forth
wrapping it around his beak.
He held on to it and stepped
confidently to the water’s edge.
He dunked it delicately several
times until it stopped moving,
and less and less of it hung from
his grip. When he had ingested it
all he stood on the bank shaking
his head, long, crest feathers
sweeping in S-shaped curves,
while the meal traveled down.
He seemed a mature bird,
proficient in every move he made.
His feathers were neatly layered,
sleek, shining. A white pattern
flecked his gray breast like a lace
scarf with flowing fringe. His skill
and stealth had once again found
reward. I watched as he rose like
a ghost into the cloudy sky, his
great wings flapping languidly,
until he disappeared over the
tree line.
Photo by Jan Gardrner
Kitsap Audubon Society
P.O. Box 961, Poulsbo, WA 98370
Address Service Requested
The Kingfisher is the newsletter
of the Kitsap Audubon Society,
P.O. Box 961, Poulsbo, WA 98370.
It is published eight times a year,
September to May. Submissions
from readers are welcome. We
reserve the right to edit for space,
grammar or legal reasons. Email text
or photographs to [email protected] or mail to Gene Bullock,
1968 NE Lind Ct., Poulsbo WA
98370. Our deadline is the 15th of
the preceding month.
To receive your Kingfisher via email
and save us the expense of printing
and mailing, send your request to
[email protected]
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(Contact KAS Treasurer for LIFE Membership payment options)
$________________________________Additional donation for scholarships and/or Audubon Adventures (designate).
The Kitsap Audubon Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible.
The mission of the Kitsap Audubon Society is to preserve the natural world
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