Monthly Meeting: Tuesday, November 25
7 - 9 pm
Kennewick First Lutheran Church
Corner of Hwy 395 and Yelm
Andy started birding as a teenager in California and grew to love all aspects of nature from birds, plants, to geology. He is a graduate of the University of British Columbia and was an interpretive ranger in B.C. forests in his 20s.Andy has lived in Yakima since 1978 and is the author of “The Birds of Yakima County.”
Andy will introduce you to the plant and bird communities of the shrub-steppe ecosystem in the Columbia Basin of eastern Washington. He will take you on a journey into the arid "sagebrush wasteland" that is actually a mosaic of plant communities, some with nary a sage, based on precipitation, slope and aspect, and soil depth. He will emphasize the relationships between birds and their habitats, and impart much in the way of botanical tidbits as these relate to birds.
Each plant community hosts a unique assemblage of birds. For example, the Horned Larks prefer the rocky (thin) soils, and the threatened Sage Sparrows like some bare ground between the sagebrush to forage in. Sage Thrashers, Brewer's Sparrows and Sage Grouse depend on high quality native bunchgrasses mixed in with the sagebrush. Vesper Sparrows seem wedded to the lusher grasslands. Andy will also talk about the coulees in eastern Washington, nesting habitat for raptors and birds of the cliffs and talus. He will describe the riparian zone community and its wealth of plant and bird life, oasis in an arid region.
Finally, Andy will touch on conservation issues affecting the shrub-steppe ecosystem. Over 60% of the original shrub-steppe landscape has been converted to various forms of agriculture and much of the remaining habitats are degraded.
But wait! That’s not all. Spring wildflowers are yet another feature of the shrub-steppe!
The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. with a brief business meeting and a bird identification segment presented by Ivar Husa. Following the business meeting, there is a 15 minute break for those attending to visit and enjoy cookies, tea or coffee. The speaker usually begins the presentation around 7:45 p.m.