Joelle Finley, a Birder's World subscriber from New Orleans and a member of the Orleans Audubon Society, recently told me that birders in the Big Easy are collecting donations for Couturie Forest in City Park, the birding hotspot we featured in our June issue.
It's a worthy cause because the forest provides one of the best stopover habitats for migrating birds in the whole city. Our writer, Dan Purrington, said this about Couturie:
"I have birded Couturie Forest through thick and thin for about 40 years. Depending on the season and the vagaries of weather, the birding might be spectacular or fairly bland, but rarely is it uninteresting. About 280 species of birds have been seen. Like any good hotspot, persistence is in the end rewarded. The list of regional or seasonal rarities is quite long."
Joelle's request reads: "Please join the Orleans Audubon Society and the Crescent Bird Club in helping Couturie Forest recover from Hurricane Katrina. Couturie needs bird-friendly trees, Chinese tallow control, hummingbird plants, and more. We need to do our part. We plan on making a donation to City Park to help them on their way. Please donate $10, $20 or whatever you can to help with this effort. All donations are 100% tax deductible."
Just 10 days ago, of course, Hurricane Gustav plowed into Louisiana. New Orleans was spared a Katrina-like wrath, but the storm shut down City Park for about a week, mostly due to fallen trees and debris. The park estimated damage costs between $500,000 and $1 million. And over the next day or two, Hurricane Ike is forecast to produce rain and wind in New Orleans. (Ike is primarily threatening the central Texas coast, including Corpus Christi, site of our recent hotspot, Hazel Bazemore County Park.)
Donations for Couturie Forest can be sent the old-fashioned way: via the post office. Make checks payable to Orleans Audubon Society and write “For Couturie Forest” on your check. Mail to:
Michael Crago, Treasurer
801 Rue Dauphine #304
Metairie, LA 70005-4608
Thanks for considering this request, and thanks especially to Joelle and the local bird clubs for devoting their efforts to restoring habitats for birds. — M.M.