Looking for a new place to bird during fall migration? Klamath Bird Observatory and The Selberg Institute are continuing a yearlong citizen science project on the beautiful Sampson Creek Preserve just east of Ashland and, are looking for volunteers to help monitor during fall migration. This project offers something for all birders and outdoor enthusiasts.
Please join Klamath Bird Observatory on September 23rd for our 2017 Mountain Bird Conservation Fundraiser.
Celebrate a love for birds and birding and support science-driven conservation.
Our 2017 Mountain Bird Conservation Fundraiser features:
- NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR NOAH STRYCKER
- The unveiling of our 2017 Conservation Science Stamp
- Two decades of Klamath Bird Observatory science informing conservation in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
- Additional conservation birding events
Klamath Bird Observatory’s Mountain Bird Conservation Fundraiser is an International Bird Day Event.
Save the Date –September 23rd! (Registration opens August 18)
To learn more about this International Migratory Bird Day event and to register visit www.KlamathBird.org.
Our 2017 conservation birding event from 4:30-6:00pm features:
- New York Times best seller Noah Strycker
- Unveiling of Klamath Bird Observatory’s 2017 Conservation Science Stamp
- Science and conservation in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
- Hors d’oeuvres and no-host bar
This Saturday afternoon event will bring our community together in dialogue focused on birding and bird conservation. Please join us to celebrate a love for birds and birding and to support science-driven conservation.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER NOAH STRYCKER — Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World
In September, 2015, Oregonian Noah Strycker set a new world record by seeing 6,042 bird species in one year. His Big Year bested a British couple breaking their 2008 record by over 1,500 species. Birders around the world followed Noah’s global birding adventure on the Audubon Society’s blog. Now, Noah’s latest book Birding Without Borders chronicles his quest to break the world birding record.
Put your stamp on local and national bird and habitat conservation; all attendees will receive a Conservation Stamp Set including:
- 2017-18 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation [Duck] Stamp
- Klamath Bird Observatory’s 2017 Conservation Science Stamp
With additional donations attendees are invited to join us for space-limited conservation birding add-on events:
- VIP Reception 3:00-4:30pm: Meet featured speaker, Noah Strycker
- Receive a signed copy of Noah’s Best Seller “The Thing With Feathers”
- Hors d’oeuvres and no-host bar
- Exclusive Field Trips on on Saturday, September 23, and Sunday, September 24
- Birding with Noah Strycker and KBO Executive Director John Alexander
- Great Grey Owl trip with Harry Fuller
- Presidential trip with current and former KBO Presidents Shannon Rio and Harry Fuller
THANK YOU MOUNTAIN BIRD SPONSORS:
- City of Ashland and Kinsman Foundation
- Home Adviser, Rogue Valley Audubon Society, Bob Thomas and John & Lori Thomas
- Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop and Red Fin
- Buzz Parent
Please consider sponsoring KBO’s Mountain Bird Conservation Fundraiser
Call Jacob McNab at 541-201-0866 or eMail MountainBird@KlamathBird.org.
SCIENCE BRIEF: BLACK TERN POPULATION DECLINES — KLAMATH BIRD OBSERVATORY SCIENCE IN THE CONTEXT OF WATER USE AND WETLAND CONSERVATION IN THE KLAMATH BASIN
In Part Two of a three-part series on the wildlife refuges of the Klamath Basin and water in the arid West, reporter Jes Burns puts KBO research and monitoring results in the broader context of bird population declines in the Upper Klamath Basin. Click here to read and listen to the Oregon Public Broadcast series.
The following provides more detailed information about KBO’s Black Tern monitoring results:
10 YEAR STUDY FINDS SHARP DECLINE IN BLACK TERNS – POSSIBLE TIE TO WATER MANAGEMENT IN THE KLAMATH BASIN
Results from long-term monitoring efforts show that Black Tern population declines in the Klamath Basin are higher than declines previously documented for continental and regional populations. Results from a 10 year study conducted by Klamath Bird Observatory show a steady, sharp decline in numbers of Black Terns in the wetlands and open waters of Agency Lake and Upper Klamath Lake.
Klamath Bird Observatory Science Director and the study’s lead author Jaime Stephens points out, “Black Tern populations in North America experienced steep declines prior to 1980, likely a result of dramatic wetland habitat loss. The current population is estimated to be about one-third of its historical size — reversing declines has become a conservation priority. Our findings suggest an alarming decline of 8% loss annually at Agency and Upper Klamath Lakes.”
According to a Black Tern conservation plan created in 2006, the desired population objective within the Great Basin — which includes the Klamath Basin — is 10,000 individuals. The current estimate of Black Terns for this area is already some 20% below the objective, making these local declines a red flag. The 2006 Intermountain West Waterbird Conservation Plan was created by many researchers from multiple organizations and agencies to identify and fill knowledge gaps and aid in all-bird conservation efforts. Conservation plans are developed by looking at historic and current population numbers to create reasonable objectives for maintaining populations with the goal of avoiding costly special-protection actions such as threatened or endangered species listing.
Terns are migratory waterbirds related to gulls. Many tern species travel to inland waterbodies to nest and return to coastal areas for most of the year. The Black Tern is one of the smallest terns in the world with a graceful, floating flying appearance. It is a long-distance migrant, nesting in wetlands across the northern United States and southern Canada and wintering along South America’s northern coasts. Black Tern long-term population declines have been attributed degradation and loss of wetland habitat across North America. Now studies must focus on existing habitat suitability, including water levels and water quality.
Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex manager Greg Austin said, “We find these results reflective of the declines observed in wetland habitat throughout the Klamath Basin. Historically the refuges provided the necessary habitats to support Black Tern populations, however with the loss of wetland habitat throughout the Klamath Basin Black Tern populations have declined. The Klamath Basin is an over-allocated system; drought and increased demands on water resources have put the Klamath Basin out of balance; there is not enough water to completely satisfy every need every year. A balanced approach for water allocation in the Basin is needed for effective management by all stakeholders”.
KBO’s Stephens explained the importance of this study’s results: “It is not well understood how water levels in the Klamath Basin relate to how much Black Tern breeding season habitat is available and how good that habitat is for raising young. Given the challenges that Black Terns face from a combination of water allocation, drought, and climate change impacts, an improved understanding local habitat needs is pressing.”
She added: “The best next step to addressing local Black Tern population loss is to determine the cause of the decline we found.”
The results of the 2001-2010 Klamath Basin Black Tern study were published in the Winter 2015 issue of the Northwest Naturalist journal. To read or download the publication click here.
Klamath Bird Observatory, based in Ashland, Oregon, is a scientific non-profit organization that achieves bird conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of our region. We developed our award-winning conservation model in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and we now apply this model more broadly to care for our shared birds throughout their annual cycles. Emphasizing high caliber science and the role of birds as indicators of the health of the land, we specialize in cost-effective bird monitoring and research projects that improve natural resource management. Also, recognizing that conservation occurs across many fronts, we nurture a conservation ethic in our communities through our outreach and educational programs.
Media Contact: Jaime Stephens, Science Director
Klamath Bird Observatory
541-201-0866 x 2#
jlh [AT] klamathbird.org
Klamath Bird Observatory research scientist Dr. Sarah Rockwell was mentioned in the most recent issue of Living Bird, published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (click here to see the article). Sarah completed her Ph.D. research with Dr. Peter Marra (now Director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center) on the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler in her home state of Michigan. She found that after drier winters in The Bahamas (which are predicted by several climate change models), Kirtland’s Warblers arrived on Michigan breeding grounds later in the spring, raised fewer offspring, and had lower survival rates that year. This emphasizes the importance of winter habitats for migratory birds; conditions there can carry over to affect birds during different parts of the annual cycle.
“Without natural wildfires, the Kirtland’s Warbler may always be a conservation-reliant species, but it is important to demonstrate the success the Kirtland’s recovery team has had in alleviating limitations on the breeding grounds, and increasing the population from around 200 pairs in the 1970s to over 2,000 pairs today,” says Sarah. “My research helped demonstrate threats that could result from drought on wintering grounds in The Bahamas, which still need to be addressed. Nathan Cooper’s research (discussed in the article) adds important data to the question of identifying where else Kirtland’s Warblers might be spending the winter, as well as important stopover sites along migratory routes, which would be good candidates for habitat protection. My work also demonstrated that Kirtland’s Warblers have higher mortality during migration than any part of the year, making this a critical part of its life cycle.”
Dr. Rockwell, who says she’ll always have a soft spot for this charismatic species, will present her research as an invited speaker in the Kirtland’s Warbler symposium that will take place as part of this year’s American Ornithological Society meeting. She will also present KBO research using birds as indicators to evaluate riparian restoration at beaver dam analogue sites in the Scott Valley, California (click here for more information about this project).
Dr. Sarah Rockwell’s Kirtland Warbler publications:
Rockwell, S. M., C. I. Bocetti, and P. P. Marra (2012). Carry-over effects of winter climate on spring arrival date and reproductive success in an endangered migratory bird, Kirtland’s Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii). The Auk 129:744-752. http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1525/auk.2012.12003
Rockwell, S. M., J. M. Wunderle, Jr., T. S. Sillett, C. I. Bocetti, D. N. Ewert, D. Currie, J. D. White, and P. P. Marra (2017). Seasonal survival estimation for a long-distance migratory bird and the influence of winter precipitation. Oecologia 183:715-726. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00442-016-3788-x
KBO Birding Adventure and Fundraiser led by Harry Fuller
September 12, 13, 14, 2017 with a pre-trip slide show September 11th, Monday 6:30 – 8:00pm
Our first stop will be the Summer Lake Wildlife Area where we will spend our first night on the way to Malheur Field Station. The next two nights will be spent at the Field Station. Accommodations will be a shared room at Summer Lake Lodge, and at Malheur Field Station a dorm-like setting. Cost of the trip includes lodging, a dinner at the famous Diamond Hotel, two breakfasts at the field station and a light breakfast at Summer Lake, gas for the vehicles, either bird netting or some educational experience with Duncan Evered (co-director of Malheur Field Station), a tax deductible donation to KBO in the amount of $375, leadership of Harry Fuller as our bird guide expert, and the glorious exposure to the landscape of eastern Oregon.
Not included: You will need to bring your lunches, snack foods, liquids, and alcoholic beverages. The first night will be a communal potluck.
Cost of the trip is $565.00 which includes the tax deductible donation of $375. To sign up, contact Shannon Rio at email@example.com or call her at 541-840-4655. She will confirm that your space is secured. Number of participants will be limited to 16 total for safety of travel and satisfaction at seeing the birds and sharing the experience.
The registration deadline has been extended for Klamath Bird Observatory’s July 24-28 Fundamentals of Songbird Banding Workshop – now July 12.
Faces in the Dark by Claudia Strijek
I stood outside the barbed-wire fence that guarded the historical barn from vandals, camera and binoculars in hand. The fence was also protecting a family of barn owls. I had seen one of the adults fly into the upper loft through an opening on the west side the barn the night before. Just seconds after the adult disappeared behind the warped, weathered wood, owlet cries poured into the night air—feeding time! I wanted a closer look at the owls.
With my binoculars I searched the interior of the barn. The evening sun pierced through large gaps in the siding creating beams of dusty light but this did nothing to illuminate the shadowy recesses of the structure. But my eyes adjusted to the dim light nonetheless. As I looked about the lower loft my eye caught sight of large wing. My mind immediately registered something was terribly wrong, for the wing was upside down and splayed open. One of the young had recently died and its body hung between some boards. Then out of the shadows a shape moved slightly. An owlet was perched on the edge of a horse stall. It slowly lifted its head using its wings to balance itself but the motion was slow, deliberate and possibly painful. Its emaciated body told me this youngster was not getting fed with the others and would likely die soon as well.
But there had to be a couple other owlets that were healthy and had made all that racket the night before. So I moved to another spot where I could see into the upper loft. The right corner was empty. On the left side however, stood a well-made owl hut complete with a pitched roof and large round opening. Perched in front were the two adult barn owls.
Their heart-shaped faces held my gaze not moving an inch. The larger female sat just in front of the male guarding her family. I took in the details of their feather patterns. The white faces were trimmed in dark grey-brown. Between widely-spread dark eyes was an elongated nose bridge that ended with a blond-colored hooked beak. There were grey and brown spots peppered around their throats, breast and underside which merged into rusty-brown wings and backs. This reversed pattern was quite beautiful.
I stood there for several more minutes, taking photos and admiring the patterned plumage of the adults but the young remained hidden and silent. I left the family to their restful state and looked forward to hearing their night activity again that evening.
Claudia Strijek is a KBO Field Technician conducting point counts in southern Oregon and northern California. Click here to visit her blog for more of her writings and photography.
Just a few spots are still open for KBO’s Fundamentals of Songbird Banding Workshop July 24-28, 2017 at our Upper Klamath Field Station. This is a North American Banding Council-approved training session with NABC-based content and NABC-certified Trainer instructors. All registration fees go directly to funding our long-term monitoring and banding training program. Registration closes June 26, 2017.
By Sonya Daw, Science Communication Specialist for the National Park Service Klamath Inventory & Monitoring Network
This article first appeared in The Klamath Kaleidoscope Spring/Summer 2017 newsletter
People spend a lot of time watching birds, and scientists are no exception. Because birds use such a wide variety of resources and respond quickly to environmental change, they are gold mines of information. Even better, most species are easy to find, especially in the spring when they are singing! Scientists from Klamath Bird Observatory, the Klamath Inventory & Monitoring (I&M) Network and others used a wealth of bird data from the Klamath Ecoregion to understand how birds naturally group themselves across the landscape. Their results were just published in PLOS ONE, “Bird Communities and Environmental Correlates in southern Oregon and northern California, USA.”