By Brad Rumble, Director At Large, Los Angeles Audubon

LA-Audubon-Membership-flyer-2015 by-Brad-Rumble

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Hundreds of thousands of people live within the boundaries of the area covered by Los Angeles Audubon Society, yet fewer than 3,000 are members of our local chapter. This intrigues me enough that I have volunteered to take on a leadership role in increasing the membership of our dynamic organization.

 A map of where our members reside shows there are many parts of LA Audubon’s territory in which few if any residents are local members. I can’t imagine any zip code devoid of birders. It may well be they have not found us yet.

An interest in birds crosses all demographics.  Our interest unites us, and we learn from one another through the sharing of our experiences. Think of your arc as a birder and all you gained from conversation with other birders. In an urban setting where folks sometimes can feel isolated from one another, our organization provides a forum for us to build the local birding community.  This happens at LA Audubon’s monthly Wednesday evening meetings, at formal and informal bird walks, on excursions to parts farther out and online. Through the trailblazing work of the Education branch of LA Audubon, it also happens in indoor and outdoor classrooms throughout the region.

I can’t help but think that when a birding community is robust and in touch this can only be helpful to the birds--and in Los Angeles our birds need birders more than ever. Consider the loss and fragmenting of habitat which is the narrative of our county over the past one hundred years. Presently there are precious reminders in our midst of what once was, places like Ballona Wetlands and the San Gabriels. What remains needs knowledgeable people to serve as ambassadors to the broader population so they can grow to appreciate the rich diversity of species and understand why it’s important to all of us. But LA Audubon goes even further, creating opportunities to become involved in the actual restoration of habitat for birds. This, too, brings us together.

As someone who became interested in birds later in life, I have come to appreciate the work of LA Audubon in supporting the ornithological community through the posting of rare bird sightings, participation in bird counts and the support of research being conducted at the university, high school, middle school and elementary levels. It’s hard to know all the ways in which this work will touch our future.

Over and over I have seen how a passing interest in, say, a noisy mockingbird or a brilliant woodpecker can lead to further exploration and even to a lifetime of birding adventures. The local chapter of Los Angeles Audubon Society is a conduit to such adventures. Let’s build our membership so many Angelinos from every corner of our region are part of our local birding community.  It’ll be good for people and definitely good for the birds.

Published Western Tanager Vo. 81 No. 3 January/February 2015