Date: 10/9/17 1:07 pm
From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...>
Subject: [obol] Skinner Butte habitat changes
Hi all,

Here is the City of Eugene's web page on this project:
According to the information there, the goals of this project, along
with removal of invasive species, included removal of smaller trees and
shrubs, in order to reduce canopy crowding and open up the understory.

In general I support this type of work, because so many wooded sites in
the Willamette Valley have developed much more dense canopies and
understories than the historical norms. This negatively impacts many
native plants, insects, herps, etc. along with native birds like
Chipping Sparrows that used to be much more abundant as nesting species.

However I can understand the sense of shock for birders who were not
aware of these plans.

This is another good reason for birders to get involved in planning for
local parks and natural areas. Then if you know of particular features
that have high value for birding (such as the round bush and cluster of
small trees mentioned that tend to be good for viewing migrant
passerines), you can advocate for modifications in the plans to preserve
those features. Sometimes the land managers aren't aware of the
specialized recreational value that some of these features hold for

For example, at Luckiamute State Natural Area's north unit (sometimes
referred to as "Luckiamute Landing"), I was able to convince managers to
phase in a project to replace non-native blackberries and other brush
with native shrubs, rather than clearing the whole area and replanting
in one go. So even though the vegetation has changed dramatically over
the past 6 years, there have always been some patches that were good for
wintering Lincoln's Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows and other brush-loving
birds that birders tend to be interested in, even while waiting for the
new, native shrubs to grow in.

I hope this inspires more birders to get involved in the planning
process (and as volunteers) for your local birding spots. It's much
easier to influence the process in a collaborative, proactive way.

Good birding,

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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