Tens of thousands of migrating songbirds soon will be winging their way through Washington, looking for optimal feeding, breeding and nesting areas.
One thing that they won’t be looking for is the danger of crashing into windows. Only humans can consider the loss of life.
Birding sites throw a lot of numbers around, such as “up to a billion birds” every year. Rather than getting hung up on studies, statistics and sources, suffice to say that an unfathomable number of birds are either killed or, if “only” injured, may die afterward of their injuries or make easy marks for prey.
The American Bird Conservancy (abcbirds.org) is a good source of information on how we can lower the numbers of dead or injured birds on a micro level — our homes. According to the ABC website, it is the first organization to take a national approach to solving the problem by educating architects, planners, developers and legislators about the issue and solutions.
ABC has a fact sheet on quick and inexpensive ways to bird-proof your home as part of its Bird-Smart Glass program. Check it out.
Don’t lose out. To be a winner in the race to secure this year’s backcountry permits, be prepared to wade through a variety of rules and, in the case of the Enchantments, hope that you’re lucky. Limiting permits to the backcountry of national parks or wilderness areas help protect the fragile environment. The outdoors experience is worth applying for a permit, even if you’re not a winner.
You might not get the perfect site or the best dates that you want, but you’re not going to get them by complaining about the process, either.
First rule: Do it now.
Second rule: Go to wta.org and search for backcountry and wilderness permits, then follow the links to your preferred destination.
Third rule: Carefully read the rules and start the process.
There is a lottery system for 75 percent of the permits for backpacking in the Enchantments between May 15 and Oct. 31. The window for applying for a chance to win ends March 3.
Yes, March 3.
Snowshoe with rangers. Learn about the winter environment, plants, wildlife, local history, and snow safety on 90- to 120-minute guided snowshoe walks along the Pacific Crest Trail at Stevens Pass.
The 1-mile walks are at 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 25. The maximum group size is 20. Snowshoes are provided. A $15 donation for adults and $10 donation for youth age 16 and under is suggested. An optional Stevens Pass history presentation will be given at 10:30 a.m.
For reservations, call the Skykomish Ranger District, 360-677-2223. Trips for special events and school groups can also be scheduled.
Another option, albeit strenuous, is a Darrington Ranger District (360-436-1155) snowshoe hike from the Verlot Public Service Center, 11 miles east of Granit Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway. The five-hour walk begins at Deer Creek and includes a lunch stop.
Participants should be at least 16 years old and in good shape. Though there is very little elevation gain, it can be physically strenuous depending on conditions. Reservations are required and snowshoes are provided. A $20 donation is suggested.
Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or firstname.lastname@example.org.