Highlights from the March 6, 2023 Board of Directors Meeting
- The Board approved a motion to apply for a Whitefish Community Foundation Community Grant. Kay Mitchell will complete the application.
- Shannon and Bridger Donaldson reported on the plans for the new format for the spring Birdathon, and it was scheduled for Saturday, June 17. It will be held as a fundraiser for the proposed Conservation Easement for Owen Sowerwine.
- Pam Willison reported that she’s working to schedule maintenance on the Greenridge Entrance to Owen Sowerwine, and also to complete a Conservation District grant, and to schedule work days in early April to tackle some more non-native buckthorn shrubs.
- Darcy Thomas will research a set of walkie-talkies for use when traveling in cars during field trips.
- Jake Bramante and Linda Du Lac are investigating how best to issue membership cards again.
The annual Silent Auction at the Flathead Audubon May Potluck. Now’s the perfect time to gather all of the valuable “stuff” that you might be able to live without. We’re looking for bird books, outdoor gear, art work, live bedding plants, bird houses and feeders of all kinds, homemade pies and cookies. Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit our Conservation Education program.
Nongame Wildlife Tax Check-off
When filling out your Montana tax form this year, think “wildlife” by donating to the Nongame Wildlife Program, found on Form 2, page 11, under Contributions. If your taxes are prepared, tell your accountant that you want to donate to wildlife! Your contributions are tax deductible on next year’s return. Montana has more than 500 species of “nongame” animals that benefit from public support each year at tax time. Since 1983, the check-off has contributed over $27,000 annually to this important wildlife program.
Sign up for Montana Audubon’s Action Alert Network
The 68th Montana Legislature is in session, and the Montana Audubon team of legislative lobbyists are busy working for all of us to defend Montana’s wildlife, wildlife habitat, and bedrock environmental laws. But they need your help. During this legislative session Montana Audubon will again maintain an active “Action Alert Network” that will provide you with the information you need to make your voice heard when important issues come up! To sign up for Network alerts go to https://mtaudubon.org/join-our-online-network. You can also access the most recent alert on the MT Audubon facebook page or check https://mtaudubon.org/conservation-policy/take-action/
Of Birds and Bears – Finding a Balance
We have had the enormous pleasure all winter of enjoying birds at our feeders, and the birds have benefited. Now is the time to consider taking the feeders down. If you live in bear country, out of respect for our furry, hungry neighbors, it is essential. Removing bird feeders helps to keep bears out of trouble and also encourages birds to go for their natural food sources of insects, especially caterpillars. Over 90 percent of our birds (even hummingbirds!) eat insects, a source of protein and nutrients vital to their health and more importantly essential for raising baby birds. It has been observed that it can take 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars to raise a brood of chickadees (average brood 5-10). Perhaps we would start seeing fewer insects in the landscape, creating less need for toxic insecticides and helping nature find its own balance. Taking feeders down during the spring and summer months can be a win-win for bears, birds and the environment!