Building a Better Birdhouse

posted Apr 18, 2019, 5:59 PM by Roxie Rochat

Joe Meche stressed how important it is to provide birdhouses that protect their inhabitants from predators. 
Guidelines and dimensions used to be available on the WDFW website, but haven't been ported over to their new website yet.
Luckily for us, you can access them through the "Wayback Machine" that archives past versions of websites.
Here are some links:
Nesting and Roosting Boxes for Birds has general tips and dimensions.
Woodworking Projects for Backyard Wildlife with project plans for several different kinds of nestboxes

Be sure to take the perches off of any existing birdhouses that you have - they just make it too easy for predators to snatch out nestlings!

Time to Plant Sunflowers for the Bees!

posted Apr 13, 2019, 6:40 PM by Roxie Rochat

Our soil temperatures are now above 50 degrees, so it's time to sow sunflower seeds directly in the ground.
According to a recent North Carolina State University study, sunflower pollen has medicinal and protective effects on bees and they need the pollen to feed their young.

Tall sunflowers like Lemon Queen, advocated by The Great Sunflower Project, have great pollen for bees and produce abundant seeds for birds, but our Camano winds can topple them over.   If you are tempted to try the shorter varieties, be aware that many have been bred to be pollenless for commercial growers who produce flowers for the florist industry.  Pollenless sunflowers still produce nectar, but varieties like TeddyBear don't seem to have as much pollen, and bees seem to learn to avoid pollenless sunflowers, according to this Laidback Gardener article

Beware: Seed packets don't always tell you whether a flower has pollen or not.  Ann Lovejoy has some specific recommendations for pollen-rich sunflowers in this recent article.  Do your research - your birds and bees will thank you!

Wed, April 17th, 7pm Program: Spring Birds, Nesting, and Nesting Boxes by Joe Meche

posted Apr 7, 2019, 12:46 PM by Roxie Rochat

Would you like to enjoy watching birds raise a family in your yard? Join Joe Meche, expert birder, photographer, carpenter, and author of Beaks and Bills, to learn about our springtime birds, their oft-hidden nests, and how we can support them by making species-appropriate nest boxes. Meche will share designs for predator-proof nest boxes for local birds and have a few nesting boxes for sale (exact cash and check only, please).

This community program is Wednesday, April 17, 7 p.m., at the Island County Multi-Purpose Center (Blue Building), 141 N East Camano Drive. The Camano Wildlife Habitat Project, sponsored by Friends of Camano Island Parks, hosts public presentations the third Wednesday of the month. For information, call 360-387-2236, visit, or email

Spreading the Word

posted Apr 7, 2019, 12:45 PM by Roxie Rochat

If you're a Backyard Wildlife Habitat Steward and have a few hours free on Sat. April 13th, please help us table at the
Port Susan Home & Garden Show
at the Camano Center
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Email if you'd like to help.

Where to Buy Native Plants

posted Apr 7, 2019, 12:41 PM by Roxie Rochat

The Salal Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society has spring and fall sales at the demonstration garden on Memorial Highway in Mt. Vernon.  The 2019 Spring sale will be Sat, May 4th from 10 am until noon.  Get there early for best selection!  Email for more information.

The Snohomish Conservation District has a sale in February at the fairgrounds in Monroe.  Skagit Conservation District has a plant sale in April (the 2019 sale is Sat, April 13th) and accepts orders year round for quantities of 500 or more plants.

The Skagit Master Gardener Plant Fair is Saturday, May 11, 2019, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and they have a section for native plants as well.

SnoPUD's Avian Protection Program

posted Mar 21, 2019, 1:08 PM by Roxie Rochat

Did you know that almost all species of birds are federally protected? There are several federal laws that protect most species. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act all cover a variety of birds. The few species not covered include the introduced house sparrow, European starling and rock dove. Washington has almost 450 species of protected birds, including over 250 nesting species.  

Our Snohomish County PUD is committed to a conscientious Wildlife Injury Prevention & Response Plan. This includes policies for providing insulation over energized parts, increased separation to prevent electrocution and line markers to make power lines more visible to reduce the risk of collision.  You can read more about this program at  

AvianProtection Program - Snohomish County PUD

To report an avian-related incident, please call the SnoPUD Customer Service Department:


Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5:30 PM, excluding holidays (toll-free 1-877-783-1000 in Western Washington and outside the Everett local calling area) Weekends & evenings: 1-877-783-1000, select Option 1 and report information to PUD dispatcher

COASST Training in Stanwood 3/24

posted Feb 28, 2019, 10:49 AM by Roxie Rochat

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) is a 17 year old rigorous citizen science project housed at the University of Washington. COASST trains coastal residents in their communities. Post-training, participants pledge to conduct monthly surveys on a beach that has special meaning to them. At present, three basic types of data are collected:

1. beachcast birds
2. marine debris
3. evidence of human use of the beach environment

In March, COASST will be in Stanwood for a beached bird training.

You are welcome to attend, and if you know of anyone who would like to become involved in COASST please feel free to forward the following information to them:

March 24th, 2019
Stanwood Senior Center
7430 276th St NW
Stanwood, WA 98292

If you are willing to hang some posters in your area to attract more interested attendees, please just let us know and we will have some printed and mailed to you. We have a new, smaller size that should fit more comfortably on bulletin boards! Any other suggestions for advertising are welcome.

Thank you for your help, and we hope to see some of you at the trainings!

Participant Coordinator
Box 355020
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-5020
ph (206) 221-6893

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning on Camano

posted Feb 28, 2019, 10:44 AM by Roxie Rochat

FYI WSU is offering a Forest Stewardship Coached Planning on Camano this year - Wednesday afternoons, March 27th – May 22nd , 2019; 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM, except for the first day, when class will begin at 12:30 PM. Saturday field trip May 4th. For more information and how to register see

This program is made possible in part with support from the Island County Commissioners.

Program: Wed, Feb 20th, 7pm Pollinators on Camano Island and How We Can Support Them by Dr. Jennifer Short

posted Feb 7, 2019, 12:51 PM by Roxie Rochat

Learn about pollinators in your yard and how to assist them. Dr. Jennifer Short, veterinarian and alum of WSU, will discuss the current challenges for the bees, forage support,  and toxin control. Short will also explain the basics of beekeeping and the honey bee.

This community program is Wednesday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m., at the Island County Multi-Purpose Center (Blue Building), 141 N East Camano Drive. The Camano Wildlife Habitat Project, sponsored by Friends of Camano Island Parks, hosts public presentations the third Wednesday of the month. For information, call 360-387-2236, visit, or email

SCD Plant Sale rescheduled to Feb 17

posted Feb 7, 2019, 12:48 PM by Roxie Rochat

On account of the impending snow, SCD has announced that they are postponing this Saturday's Plant Sale to help keep everyone safe and warm. Please join us on Sunday, February 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. For more information, see

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