Bird Migration Myth: Barnacle Geese

Where do the geese go? When the seasons change, where do birds go? That question puzzled people for millennia, but it took a long time for us humans to figure out sensible answers. Before you scorn our ancestors, remember how little access they had to accurate information. People could see that the birds had left…Continue reading »

True Tales of the Great Flock

In my series, the Crow Nickels, the Great Flock refers to all birds, not just the crows or even the extended family of corvids. Lady Obsidian, the leader of the Sky Council, runs the Feathered Forum twice a year (on the solstices) to listen to reports from various species. Hunters of the Feather is fiction,…Continue reading »

Blog for 2020 May 18:


“We are all Great Mother Bird.” – Early Bird

American cardinal, photo from Wikipedia

I am pledging to give 10% of royalties to bird-friendly organizations, something that will happen about 3 months after a purchase is made (I don’t receive the royalties until then). The first organization on the list is the National Audubon Society. Therefore, I am writing a little about them here.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about this organization: “The National Audubon Society (Audubon) is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation. Located in the United States and incorporated in 1905, Audubon is one of the oldest of such organizations in the world and uses science, education and grassroots advocacy to advance its conservation mission. It is named in honor of John James Audubon, a Franco-American ornithoologist and naturalist who painted, cataloged, and described the birds of North America in his famous book Birds of America published in sections between 1827 and 1838.”

This is what the National Audubon Society says about itself: The mission of the National Audubon Society is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the Earth’s biological diversity. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in positive conservation experiences. Audubon is making progress protecting habitat on-the-ground, while its public policy office in Washington, D.C. connects Audubon with Congress, the executive branch, courts, and mass media to ensure our great natural heritage endures for generations.

They do plenty to support birds and the people who love them. They lobby for the environment, sponsor activities such as talks by Jane Goodall (obviously more into chimps than birds).

This article, for example, tells you how to make your yard more bird-friendly. Hint: more untidy is better, and of course that’s easier. The National Audubon Society is also connected with local Audubon societies. I have gone on a few walks in Tucson organized by the Tucson Audubon Society, and they always spot far more birds than I do when I’m by myself.

You should consider donating to the National Audubon Society yourself. You’ll receive links to articles and you’ll get on their email and snail mail lists. This has both pros and cons. You will never feel lonely! After my initial contribution a few years ago, I received calendars, not just from them, but several other environmental groups. I have enough address labels for the rest of my life. Although the number of calendars may not be good for the environment, the photos are fabulous. And, in the time of the pandemic, when I was compelled to speak to grandchildren via video chat, showing the photos to two-year-olds is a good way to have a conversation.

How legitimate are they? One should always check out a charity to make sure that it’s behaving responsibly and effectively. I checked with both Charity Navigator and Charity Watch.

Charity Navigator scores them 92, out of 100, giving them 89 for financial and 97 for transparency.

Charity Watch gives them a B+, pointing out they spend 24 to raise 100. But as I said, I like the magazine and the calendars and the information they send is informative and sometimes useful. Plus, birds!

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