Members and friends of Palouse Audubon Society (PAS) continue to be involved in many activities in support of birding, scientific research, and habitat restoration. Some of these projects produce tangible results and some contribute to on-going studies. PAS sometimes partners with students or groups affiliated with the local universities to accomplish more than we could do alone, for the benefit of birds and wildlife. A few of our more recent projects are described below. Please consider getting involved!
Ferruginous Hawk Nesting Platforms
Funded by an Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) grant from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2012, then-President Tom Weber and then-Membership Chair Jim Storms designed and constructed a nesting platform for Ferruginous Hawks. These hawks are designated as a threatened species in the state, and providing a sturdy and safe place for them to nest could aid in their recovery. The 14-foot tall structure is located in the scablands near LaCrosse Washington in an area that was known to have nesting Ferruginous Hawks in the past. Anticipating positive results from the first platform, PAS applied for and was awarded an ALEA grant again in 2013 to construct a second platform. A second tower was built and installed.
Whitman County Parks Bird Posters and Checklists
Responding to a request for educational birding material for Whitman County Parks, the PAS Community Outreach Committee took up the challenge. Committee members designed a colorful poster depicting twelve birds often seen at Wawawai County Park. They also researched bird sightings to produce a Wawawai Bird Checklist. Work finished on a poster specific to Klemgard County Park, with the possible addition of a checklist for Kamiak Butte County Park. Volunteers to work on these projects, or to extend this work to Latah County Parks, would be much appreciated. A Phillips Farm Checklist for the Virgil Phillips Park in Latah County was compiled a number of years ago.
Stateline Wetland Revitalization
Along with Chris Dixon, Environmental Sciences Program, and the Women in Science group at the University of Idaho, PAS helped secure a 2-year $15,000 TogetherGreen Innovation Grant from the National Audubon Society and Toyota to improve the Stateline Wetland habitat. Additional support was provided by Idaho Fish & Game, Latah Community Foundation, Latah Wildlife Association, Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute, UI Sustainable Idaho Initiative, UI Environmental Club, Avista Utilities, City of Moscow, Moscow Recycling, and Tri-State Distributors. Initial work included mowing noxious weeds, planting native trees and grasses, covering dangerous pipes, leveling topsoil to minimize erosion, and installing numerous bird, bat, and owl boxes. In 2011, construction was completed on a bird observation deck overlooking the wetland with environmentally-friendly foundations, recycled materials, ramp and railing, and a living roof. Additional improvements have included signage, a bicycle rack, and pollinator garden. In the fall of 2013, a grant was awarded by the Avista Foundation to construct a boardwalk in the wetland.
Rose Creek Bluebird Trail
One of Tom Weber’s favorite projects was establishing and maintaining the Rose Creek Bluebird Trail. In 2000, Tom and his wife, Diane, placed over 40 nest boxes along fence lines and other strategic places near Rose Creek Nature Preserve which is located a few miles NE of Albion WA. Each year they, sometimes with volunteer helpers, repaired and cleaned the boxes, getting them ready for bluebirds to arrive and begin the nesting season. They then monitored the boxes for successful nesting and fledging. Over the years, they have added more boxes to the trail. The boxes are used primarily by Western Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and Violet-green Swallows. A local resident has graciously volunteered to take over maintenance and monitoring of the bluebird trail. If you would like to start your own bluebird trail, you’ll find helpful information at North American Bluebird Society or at Cornell Lab’s NestWatch.
- Beginning Birding Classes open to the public
- Christmas Bird Counts
- Participating in the Palouse Wind Technical Advisory Committee
- Input to the Palouse to Pines Washington State Birding Trail
- Input to the Idaho Birding Trail
- Assistance with Norcross Wildlife Foundation grant and Northern Pygmy-Owl research
- Mann Lake IBA monitoring and reporting
- Nest box building programs for the public where builders get to take the boxes home