Corvallis Science & Nature: Spring Birds Arriving, Pollan Lecture, Wildflower Planting

The weather is warming up, and that means, among other things, new birds are coming. The spring migration of birds into the Willamette Valley won’t peak until April or May, but it has definitely begun. This past week, Benton County birders spotted five new species for the year: common yellowthroat, northern rough-winged swallows, purple martin, black-bellied plover and vesper sparrow. That brings the county total on the popular birding app eBird to 168 species so far this year, with many more of our regular spring arrivals still to come.  

When migrant birds do arrive in our skies and trees, they are often here to do one thing: make more birds. With baby bird season comes a spike in rescues brought to Chintimini Wildlife Center, which takes in and rehabilitates over 2,000 animals every year. This week, they announced their first baby bird arrival of the season, a young Anna’s hummingbird. Learn about this new arrival, and check out the tiny knitted nest staff are raising it in, on Chintimini’s Facebook page.  

This week in Corvallis science and nature events, we have a bestselling author coming to town, a wildflower planting opportunity, and more:  

Thursday: Wildflower Planting 

Western dog violet is a Northwest native wildflower and primary food source for the endangered Oregon silverspot butterfly. This Thursday, the Institute for Applied Ecology is looking for volunteers to help plant these violets in raised beds to raise new seeds for projects all over the region. Bring your own lunch, water, gloves and weather-appropriate clothing. (The forecast Thursday is for rain.) 

The work party runs from 9 am – 2 pm on Thursday, March 28, at the USDA Forest Sciences Lab on SW Jefferson Way. More details are available here. 

Tuesday: Michael Pollan Lecture 

We talk a lot in this column about OSU’s place as a leader in ecology and engineering, but between the university and the various agencies based here, we’re also in a center of food and agriculture studies. Next week, one of the bestselling authors in the sustainable food movement comes to Corvallis. Michael Pollan, author of nine books including “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “How to Change Your Mind”, will be speaking as part of the OSU Provost’s lecture series. The talk will be a conversation between Pollan and OSU Nutrition professor Emily Ho. Following the conversation, Ho will moderate a Q&A with the audience.

The event runs from 7-8:30 pm on Tuesday, April 2, at the LaSells Stewart Center on SW 26th Street, and will be available both in person and online. Registration is required. For more information, as well as registration and an opportunity to submit questions for Pollan, click here.  

Wednesday: Leopold Talk 

This year marks the 75th anniversary of a classic of environmental studies and conservation. Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac” was first published in 1949, and introduced many readers to the idea of a land ethic, a respectful and responsible relationship between people and the land. Next Wednesday, Buddy Huffaker, President of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, comes to Corvallis to mark the occasion and discuss the ongoing legacy of Leopold in our age of climate change and biodiversity loss.   

The talk runs from 3:30-5 pm on Wednesday, April 3 at OSU’s Peavy Forest Science Center. It is free and open to the public both in person and online, but registration is required for virtual attendees. Click here for more information.  

Wednesday: Garden Webinar 

For many of us with gardens, a little sun is all the inspiration we need to get our hands into the dirt and start growing. But if you’re looking to do something a little different with your outdoor space this year, whether it’s making a better space for pollinators or growing more food, here’s a webinar that could help. A panel of speakers including Jim Rondone, Sherry Sheng, and Laura Eyer will explore the topic of “Garden Transformation”, including setting goals, implementing plans and evaluating success. The webinar starts at noon on Wednesday, April 3. Registration is required, and interested viewers are invited to register even if they can’t attend live, because all registrants will have a recording of the webinar sent to them a few days after the event. Click here to register, and for more details. 

By Ian Rose 

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