Daily Archives: February 24, 2014

Historic Preservation group seeks nominations for award

Do you know either an individual, or an organization, or even a preservation project that has had significant community value?

Bainbridge Island Historic Preservation Commission is seeking nominees for its fourth annual Blakely Awards, which are sponsored by the commission.

Nominations are due by March 28.

The Blakely Award for Project of Excellence honors outstanding historic preservation or a restoration project of significant community value. An individual or organization also can vie for the Blakely Award for Preservation Leader award, which recognizes community leadership in promoting historic preservation.

Nomination forms for the awards can be found on the city of Bainbridge Island’s website on the Historic Preservation Commission’s web page – under the Government tab – or alphabetically under Documents & Forms.

The awards will be announced in May during Historic Preservation Month.

For additional information, contact Heather Beckmann, an associate planner on the city’s planning staff, at 206-780-3754.

Past Blakely Awards winners of the Project of Excellence Award include Bainbridge Island Metro Parks for the Yeomalt Cabin restoration (2011), Michael Yates for the restoration of an early log home in the Wing Point neighborhood (2012) and Craig and Alice Skipton for the management of Hey Day Farm (2013).

Past winners of the Preservation Leader Award include Steve Romein and Ty Cramer for the restoration of Lynwood Center (2011), Jeff and Jocelyn Waite, owners of the Harbor Public House (2012) and Howard Block and CeAnn Parker, owners of Bay Hay & Feed (2013).

Birding on Bloedel: Look, and listen, for the Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow lives year-round in the Northwest.
The Song Sparrow lives year-round in the Northwest.

“A Year of Birding in Bloedel” is a column that runs every Friday in the Bainbridge Islander. The project is planned to continue in 52 parts through 2014 to help readers find and identify birds in the island’s garden sanctuary. Each column will also be published here on the Bainbridge Conversation blog each Friday. 

The author, Ted Anderson, is a retired professor of biology, having taught at McKendree University (Ill.) for 32 years and for the University of Michigan’s summer biological station for 20 years, where he frequently taught the biology of birds.

Anderson is also the author of “Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow, from Genes to Populations” (2006), and “The Life of David Lack, Father of Evolutionary Ecology” (2013). Ted and his wife Carol have been members of Bloedel Reserve for 7 years. They live in Kingston. 

As both its common name, Song Sparrow, and scientific name, Melospiza melodia, imply, this species is indeed one of our most melodious songsters. It is a common year-round resident in the Pacific Northwest, and as our days begin to lengthen in late January male Song Sparrows start to declare their ownership of a territory by singing regularly, heralding the impending arrival of spring. The song typically begins with two or three introductory notes, followed by another series of notes at a different pitch, and ends with a trill. Each male has a repertoire of different songs based on this general theme.

The Song Sparrow has a broad range in North America, breeding throughout much of the continent from Alaska and northern Canada southward into Mexico. Like many widespread species it exhibits considerable variation in size and coloration over this extensive range. The birds of the Pacific Northwest are much darker than those elsewhere and demonstrate a general pattern in many organisms that is codified in Gloger’s Ecogeographic Rule. This rule states that animals in hot, dry environments are much paler than normal, while those in cool, moist environments are much darker. Among the possible adaptive reasons for this pattern is the fact that dark plumage absorbs more solar radiation assisting the individual in maintaining its internal body temperature in a cool environment, while light plumage reflects more solar radiation reducing heat intake in a hot environment.

Song Sparrows live near the near the ground, normally foraging for seeds and insects on the ground, and nesting either on the ground or in a low bush. They live in forest edge habitats particularly near water. At Bloedel look for Song Sparrows around the bird marsh, but they are also common elsewhere in the reserve. Look for the males on exposed, elevated perches when they are singing. They have dark brown/black backs, and light underparts streaked with brown — and a prominent spot, their “stick-pin,” in the middle of their chest.