The Weminuche Audubon Society (WAS) has released its schedule of events through April, with each month offering exciting and informative activities for the young and not so young, alike. As always, the general public is welcome and encouraged to attend every escapade.
First up, on Saturday, Feb. 6, tracker and educator Jason Stuck will guide an animal tracking excursion at the Hershey Four Mile Ranch north of Pagosa Springs. Participants will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the U.S. Forest Service office on 2nd Street, before carpooling to the ranch. The three-hour outing is scheduled for 10 a.m.
As part of his monthly program with the Pagosa Tracking Club, entitled “Tracking, The Language of Nature,” Stuck will guide attendees into the forest for the purpose of finding and identifying animal tracks in the snow. Snowshoes are a must; seasonal attire, snacks, water, sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended, and trackers may consider bringing relevant field guides along.
Beginning Friday, Feb. 12, Audubon chapter members and friends will join in the 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Hosted by the National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this enlightening program is easy and fun, and provides valuable information on bird populations and their seasonal movements. For easy instructions, consult www.birdcount.org.
In as little as 15 minutes, participants will learn more about birds in their own backyard, off the balcony, in a local park, or out their living room window. Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. and Canada take part, while introducing children and friends to the wonderful world of birds. Count alone or with someone; just one day, or all four days; and report your results to www.birdcount.org.
At 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, WAS will hold a monthly chapter meeting at the Ross Aragon Community Center in Pagosa Springs. While the keynote speaker is yet unnamed, the address will include a discussion on the 27th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival March 12-14. As usual, admission is free, and light snacks and beverages will be provided.
On Friday morning, March 12, WAS members and friends will travel to Alamosa for an overnight stay and participation in the nearby Monte Vista Crane Festival. Attendees will be responsible for their own outdoor attire, meals and lodging; while the chapter will provide binoculars and field guides for those without. WAS will also aid in securing Friday evening hotel reservations (including discount?), with the group returning to Pagosa Springs Saturday evening.
On Monday, March 22, WAS will stage another 6:30 p.m. chapter meeting at the community center. Again, the speaker has not been determined, but the main topic will involve a discussion on the proper management and monitoring of backyard, bluebird nest boxes.
The chapter hopes to engage in another field trip with — and for the benefit of — the U.S. Forest Service on either April 17 or 24. Last April, WAS members and volunteers spent a Saturday planting willows along Mill Creek in an effort to stabilize creek banks disturbed by nearby road construction. Once the work wrapped up, Cowboy Catering fed the group picnic-style. As plans develop, more will be revealed.
Finally, on Monday April 26, the Audubon group will again meet at the community center (6:30 p.m.) for a presentation by Pat Jackson of the St. Francis Sanctuary and Wildlife Rehabilitation in Arboles. Among other things, Pat will explain how folks should react when a bird suddenly strikes a window and sustains injury.
At present, the St. Francis Sanctuary affords health and rehabilitation to injured and ailing birds. Jackson’s future plans, however, include expansion to accommodate domestic and exotic animals, especially wildlife, that have been abandoned, abused, injured, or orphaned.
As always, Audubon field trips, meetings and events are free and open to the public. Due to the sensitive nature of most activities, attendees are asked to leave pets at home.
For more information on chapter programs and outings, contact Weminuche Audubon Society Vice President Dottie George at email@example.com, or Audubon Colorado’s Southwest Regional Director Becky Gillette at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call Becky at 883-3066.