My fellow CTOS Members,
The Chattanooga TOS Board recently had a discussion regarding monthly meetings and field trips in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. We decided that for the health and well-being of our members, it is best to follow the recommendations put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and suspend gatherings for the next few weeks.
Therefore, we have cancelled the March and April monthly meetings and all scheduled field trips. I know this is disappointing, as we had good programs and trips lined up. Rest assured, as soon as the COVID-19 threat subsides we will resume our activities. And, hopefully the speakers will be able to present at another date.
While these are stressful times, we will get through them. We are in the beginnings of spring migration, and some birds are in the early stages of breeding (several pairs of Ospreys are back on their nests, Tree Swallows and bluebirds are checking out next boxes), so we can take comfort knowing that the rhythms of life go on.
While we need to practice social distancing. Being outside is not prohibited. Even in cities with a “shelter in place order”, as long as you keep at least 6 feet from other people. Most of us in the group get peace and enjoyment from looking at, listening to, and being around birds. So going birding can help our mental and emotional well-being. If you want/need to stay home, watch birds at your feeders.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology posted bird-related resources on their web site to help people during this time, including links to nest cams and feeder cams, games, quizzes, and other activities (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/how-to-make-these-next-few-weeks-a-little-easier-courtesy-of-birds/).
Stay well, wash your hands, and we will hopefully back on schedule in May! (Editor’s note: For the health and well-being of our members, we have suspended all activities through May, hopefully we will be back on schedule in June!)
David Aborn, President