What's New

Black Phoebe seen on Salem Christmas Bird Count at Minto-Brown Island Park 

 Aerial View of Gehlar Hall at Ankeny Hill Nature Center

(Photo by Mike Williams)

Upcoming events (all events are free unless otherwise noted)


As COVID-19 continues to mutate and toy with everday life in ways we never imagined, Salem Audubon is reluctant to resume what for years has been our regular fall field trip schedule. We are only offering two field trips in Decemver, and none in November. If hospitalization rates continue to trend downward, we are hopeful that State restricts will lessen so we can schedule more field trips beginning in 2022. 

Regular Field Trips:

  • Sunday, January 16, 9:00 AM - Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. Leaders: Mike Unger and Tim Johnson. Meet at Pintail Marsh Parking Lot at 9:00 AM.
  • Thursday, February 3, 9:00 AM - Minto-Brown Island Park. Leader: Mike Unger and Tim Johnson. Meet at parking lot #3 (the last parking lot in the park).
  • Sunday, February 20, 9:00 AM - Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. Leaders: Mike Unger and Tim Johnson. Meet at Pintail Marsh Parking Lot at 9:00 AM. 
  • Sunday, March 6, 9:00 AM - Minto-Brown Island Park. Leader: Mike Unger and Tim Johnson. Meet at parking lot #3 (the last parking lot in the park).
  • Tuesday, March 15, 9:00 AM - Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. Leaders: Mike Unger and Tim Johnson. Meet at Pintail Marsh Parking Lot at 9:00 AM.

SAS Shorts (abreviated version regular field trips, typically not more than 1-2 hours and up to two miles distance traveled):

  • Monday, January 24, 9:00 AM - St. Louis Fish Ponds. Leader: Dominic Valenti. From St. Louis Rd NE, turn south onto Tesch Ln NE and park in front of the closed. gate. 
  • Saturday, February 12, 9:00 AM - Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. Leader Harry Fuller. Meet at the parking lot at Ankeny Hill Nature Center. Access the Nature Center through the gate on Ankeny Hill Rd. 
  • February (date and time TBA) - Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant. Leader: Dominic Valenti. Meet at the pubic parking lot. 

SAS Special Trips

  • Friday, January 14, 9:00 AM - Lincoln City and Points South. Leader Harry Fuller. Meet at Baskett Slough NWR Overlook on Highway 22.

Birder's Night

  • Tuesday, February 8, 6:30-8:30 PM -- Motus Helps Uncover the Secrets of the Oregon Vesper Sparrow with Dr. Sarah Rockwell. Register by clicking here

Other Events

  • Every Wednesday, 9:00 - 11 AM – Audubon Reserve Work Parties -- Have resumed!
  • Saturday, December 18 - Salem Christmas Bird Count. Past partcipants will be contacted by their sector leader. New participants should contact Tim Johnson at tim@salemaudubon.org or (503) 507-8552. 
  • January 29, 9:00 AM - Willamette Valley Bird Symposium, Oregon State University, Virtual. To register, click here
  • Saturday, February 5 - Ankeny Hill Nature Center opens to the public. The gates will open at 8:00 AM. Join in a weeklong celebrarion of the Ankeny Hill Nature Center's opening.

Birding Webinars 

  • Sunday, January 9, 2022, 1:30-3:330 PM -- Winter Raptors in the Willamette Valley by Mike Unger ($10 fee). To register, click here.
  • Sunday, February 13, 1:30 - Winter Waterfowl in the Willamette Valley by Mike Unger ($5 fee). To register, click here.
  • Thursday, March 24, 2:00 -- Where to go birding in April by Mike Unger (free). To register, click here

Other Links:

  • To see the current Kestrel newsletter -- click here.
  • Salem Audubon's YouTube Channel provides recordings of recent Birder's Night programs and a selection of Mike Unger's webinars: Click here.
  • Salem Audubon's Facebook page is where you can upload your photos or share your birding experiences. Click here.


The Salem Audubon Society is a chapter of the National Audubon Society.  Our mission is to connect people to Nature, through education focused on birds, other wildlife and their habitats, and conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems.  To this end, we promote the enjoyment of wildlife and the stewardship of the environment with birding field trips, nature walks,  monthly meetings and a variety of traveling educational programs.  We involve volunteers in education, advocacy, conservation and restoration projects.

Salem Audubon Society is a charitable organization qualifying as a nonprofit under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code. 

Birder's Night: a presentation on various aspects of birding, followed by an informal sharing of bird observations and questions. The meetings are at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month, September through May. Because of the pandemic, Birder's Night meetings will be held on Zoom. See "Upcoming Events" for the link to register for upcoming meetings. Preregistration is required for these meetings.

Salem Audubon organizes 40+ field trips. Birder's Night and field trips are open to the public.  Birding workshops are offered for a small fee. Consult the monthly newsletter, the Kestrel, for details on Birder's Night, field trips, workshops and other chapter activities.  

For questions or more information call the Salem Audubon Society office, 503-588-7340.

To join Salem Audubon Society, renew your membership or otherwise support our mission, click on the "Support Us" tab above.


Join us as we welcome visitors to our site. 

Volunteer hosts will be at the Nature center to welcome you.

Activities are planned for visitors of all ages.

Saturday, Feb 5, Sunday, Feb 6 and Saturday, Feb 12, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Monday, Feb 7 through Friday, Feb 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Join us as we welcome visitors to our site.

Gates will be open from approximately dawn to dusk daily.

For more information, visit www.ankenyhillnaturecenter.org

Photo of Phase One of the Gehlar Classroom Building

This is the product of an unusual and effective partnership among Salem Audubon, The Friends of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Half of Gehlar Hall, the main building of the Center, has been completed.  It's a very classy structure, with an indoor classroom, a covered outdoor learning space, and restrooms.  Most of the cost of this building has come from a bequest made by Mark Gehlar to Salem Audubon many years ago; the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has provided the rest.  

With the anticipated increase in traffic to the site of the Nature Center, a new, safer road access point was needed, along with access roads and parking areas at the Nature Center. That work is now complete. Work is currently underway on the Nature Explore Area (see here). The COVID-19 pandemic has halted our plans to open the Nature Center area to the public. We anticipate it will be safe to do so this coming winter. 

Meanwhile, the Service is engaged in restoring most of the site to native emergant prairie, upland prairie, oak savanna, and raparian habitats.  This work has included removal of the nonnative plants on the site. That work continues.

We anticipate expanding the capacity of the Nature Center by adding the David Marshall Classroom to be situated on Peregrine Marsh.  That work will begin next spring.

This is a long-term project; all phases will be operated in a three-way partnership. Watch the Kestrel for updates.

If you're interested in supporting the Nature Center or would like related information, please contact Tim Johnson, chapter president, at tim@salemaudubon.org.



Salem Audubon Society recognizes that black individuals and other persons of color experience systemic racism and prejudices, including while being out in nature. Everyone should have the ability to feel safe and open to explore all the beauty that Oregon has to offer without fear of being attacked or discriminated against. We all have a lot of work to do, but it is our charge to encourage everyone to be a part of our community with the mission of enjoying birds, birding, conservation, outreach, and education. We want all community members to feel safe and welcome to be involved with Salem Audubon Society. We know that we can do more to promote and support diversity, and we will prioritize having conversations and taking action to make this happen. We invite our members and community to be a part of these conversations so that we can not only encourage diversity but also work more actively on antiracism efforts.


We have some great opportunities to volunteer for Salem Audubon Society with some upcoming events. These offer us the chance to connect with our community and discuss their interests in plants, pollinators, and of course, birds!

Please contact Maureen Leong-Kee at SalemAudubonVolunteering@gmail.com if you are interested in volunteering! We greatly appreciate our members’ support. Thank you!

Please be sure to check out the SAS Volunteer Calendar for upcoming events and opportunities: http://bit.ly/2kTDAC6. 


1) Why Care About Birds? 

There are at least five compelling reasons to care about birds. Please click on the following link to learn more. -- click here.

2) Loss of 3 Billion Birds in North America

A recent study published in the journal Science reveals that nearly a quarter of the birds or North American have been lost over the past 50 year. To learn more, click here. To learn what you can do to help protect our local bird populaitons, see the two items below.

3) Bird and Cats

Predation by domestic cats is the number one direct human-caused threat to birds in the United States and Canada. Outdoor cats suffer a much higher incidence of injury, parasites, and disease than cats kept indoors. To learn more, click here.

4) Bird Window Strikes

It is estimated that a billion birds die each  year in the United States when they hit glass widows, walls or other structurs, making this threat one of the most costly to bird popularions. But it's a relatively easy problem to solve. There are things we can do to effectively prevent birds from striking windows in our homes and businesses. To learn more information:

   Americal Bird Conservancy guidelines -- click here.

   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guildelines --- click here

5)  The State of North America’s Birds, 2016

This is the first comprehensive report assessing the conservation status of all bird species that occur in Canada, the continental United States and Mexico. The report shows that more than one third of all North American bird species need urgent conservation action and calls for a renewed, continent-wide commitment to saving our shared birds and their habitats. It is a call to action to governments, private industry and the public to come together to support a beloved shared resource: our migratory birds.  See: https://www.fws.gov/birds/news/160519SOTB.php

6) Minto Island Conservation Area Plan

On July 13, 2015, the City Council approved the City's Minto Island Conservation Area Plan.  Salem Audubon was represented on the Technical Advisory Committee for this Plan.  The Plan complies with key provisions of the Conservation Easement for the Conservation Area.  Salem Audubon was successful in advocating for:

  • Managing the large basin within the Conservation Area as a wetlands, providing suitable habitat for our wintering waterfowl.

  • Much information regarding native turtles has been collected by Audubon members since the draft plan was written.  Salem Audubon will advocate for a plan which includes continued monitoring of the native turtles species, numbers, and nesting habitats.

  • Mowing and other maintenance will be done according to 'work windows' calendar so it does not occur while birds are nesting.

If any further trail development is to be proposed, it must not affect the core wildlife habitat values for which the parcel was purchased.  New information about turtles must be considered, and wildlife concerns must trump recreational desires, under terms of the purchase.  The Board recommends no further trail development.

  Marion Soil and Water Conservation District Grant Award 

In 2019, Salem Audubon was awarded a generous grant by the Marion Soil and Water Conservation District (Marion SWCD).  The grant will pay for room rental and speaker stipends for Birders' Night presentations through May, 2021.  This award will relieve our annul operating budget of these costs.  The grant was awarded through Marion SWCD's Conservation Learning Education and Resources (CLEAR) Grant program.  This program awards funding to organizations that provide conservation education and foster natural resource conservation.