Pablo “Chespi” Elizondo, Costa Rica Bird Observatories Executive Director Background: Klamath Bird Observatory and USDA Forest Service Redwood Sciences Laboratory have a long-running international capacity building program that is supported by the Forest Service’s International Programs. Costa Rica Bird Observatories is one of the most notable success stories. Emerging from monitoring effort that began over 20 years ago in Torutgeuro, Costa Rica Bird Observatories is now a fully-fledged and sustainable program. Costa Rica Bird Observatories includes 13 field locations where long-term monitoring efforts are ongoing, a support network for coordinated banding efforts throughout Costa Rica (Red de Anilladores de Aves de Costa Rica), and an international capacity building program of its own, that is working towards developing monitoring efforts throughout central and south America as part of the Western Hemisphere Banding Network (Red de Anilladores de Aves del Hemisferio Occidental). The White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) is a migratory bird that breeds in the southeastern United States from New Jersey west to northern Missouri and south to Texas and Florida. This species winters in eastern Mexico, northern Central America, Cuba, and the Bahamas. White-eyed Vireos rarely occur in Costa Rica. Garrigues and Dean (2007) indicated that there were very few records for Costa Rica, “… one record for the Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí area (Jan 2004); and one report of a bird seen and heard in Monteverde (March 1997).” eBird only shows two other records (one from 2012, and one from 2010) (eBird 2013). This year at Costa Rica Bird Observatories we captured three individual White-eyed Vireos in Tortuguero, one at our Airport station (Nov-19-2012) and two at the Caribbean Conservation Corp station (Nov-11 and Dec-14 2012). Two of the individuals were unknown age, but suspected to be young birds, and one was confirmed to be a hatch year bird by observed molt limits between newly grown formative (i.e., 1st adult) and retained juvenal (i.e., fledgling) feathers. There have been additional White-eyed Vireo observations in Tortuguero this winter; Daryl Logh, a well know birdwatcher from Casa Marbella, has seen this rare vireo a couple of times this year. Ornithologists suggest that individual birds that stray beyond their wintering range (i.e., vagrants) such as White-eyed Vireos in Costa Rica, are predominantly young birds. Our capture data collected over the past 20 years in Tortuguero provide plenty of additional evidence that rarities and vagrant birds are usually younger individuals. For example, 6 out of 6 Black-throated Blue Warbler and 8 out of 8 Yellow-breasted Chats, both rarities to the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica and captured at our Totuguero stations, have been young birds. Literature cited eBird. 2013. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org. (Accessed: April 4, 2013). Garrigues, R. and R. Dean (2007). The Birds of Costa Rica. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press. Hopp, Steven L., Alice Kirby, and Carol A. Boone. 2010. White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p_spp=506316
here for video access and then call 1-866-628-1318 (passcode: 6959549) to hear the presenters.
excellent article about the book. The Klamath Bird Observatory is pleased to be hosting Harry Fuller’s first book signing event from 630-730pm on Wednesday, February 27th at the KBO Offices (320 Beach St., Ashland, OR). We hope to see you there. The book, published by Living Gold Press, is available for $21.95 and proceeds from this event will be donated to the Klamath Bird Observatory. Light refreshments will be provided. Harry Fuller is an experienced birding guide in the Pacific States and a KBO Board Member. This is Harry’s first book.
Posted by Brandon Breen, on Jan. 3rd, 2013
**These positions are now filled**
Position Title: BIRD MONITORING STUDENT VOLUNTEER INTERNSHIPS
Stipend: $750/month and housing will be providedPosition Description The Klamath Bird Observatory (www.klamathbird.org) is seeking five interns (April – July) to participate in the bird monitoring component of a large river restoration project in northern California. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure to an array of ornithological field methods while working on a high profile restoration project in a beautiful part of the world. Job Duties Duties will include nest searching/monitoring, spot map surveys, and vegetation surveys. Additional duties include: managing and entering data, maintaining equipment, and completing other tasks as required. Exposure to other aspects of the project, including point count and riverine float surveys, is possible and will be contingent upon logistics and personal aptitude. Field training on protocol methodology, bird identification, and orienteering will be provided early in the field season. Basic Qualifications Applicants should demonstrate a strong interest in birds, natural history, and field biology, and should be prepared to work long days in the field in hot and inclement weather, follow prescribed protocols, be meticulous in collecting and recording data, be in good physical condition, work well both independently and closely with others, possess good communication skills, and have a valid Driver’s License. Applicants must be willing to work in areas rife with poison oak, Himalayan Blackberry, and biting and stinging insects, with the potential to encounter rattlesnakes, black bears, and cougars. It is essential that the applicant be comfortable and capable of working independently both at remote sites and in developed areas where interaction with the public is likely. Desired qualifications include: experience with ornithological field methodologies, camping, and orienteering. To apply, send cover letter (including dates of availability and whether you have a personal vehicle), resume, and contact information for three references to Jaime Stephens (jlh AT klamathbird.org). Snail mail applications are also accepted: Klamath Bird Observatory, PO Box 758, Ashland, OR 97520. Applicants will be evaluated beginning January 7th and on a continual basis until all positions are filled.
By Harry Fuller, on 25 Dec., 2012 (This article first appeared on Harry’s Towheeblog) For anybody who’s birded in the Bay Area in the past 50 years, there has always been one human name that was respected, even beloved. Rich Stallcup. Sadly he just died from leukemia. Among his many achievements was co-founding of the Pt. Reyes Bird Observatory some 48 years ago. Rich was as much bird as man, having dropped out of school at 14 to go birding. He never went back to school and he never stopped studying birds. For those of us who had the joy and wonder of watching Rich in the field it was unforgettable. Sharp of eye and ear, softly smiling, tireless in explaining to those of us who could see only part of the picture. I love to tell of the time I showed up for one of his field trips at Five Brooks near Pt. Reyes. Standing in the parking lot I watched him drive up, open the trunk of his jalopy, stick his head in to arrange his gear and begin calling off birds from their chips notes. Rich had 14 species, with his head in the trunk, never once glancing up. At one time his beat-up vehicle sported a bumper sticker that read, “Let the buffalo roam, whistle back the swan.” If only there was a way to whistle back the swan-like soul of Rich Stallcup. One of his famous dicta: “Sure you’ve seen lots of Robins, but have you ever seen THAT Robin?” Every living thing from grass to Grasshopper Sparrow was imbued with vitality and complexity when you got to share the vision with Rich Stallcup. Rich’s quiet demeanor, gentle knowledge and keen love for all things wild and natural was infectious. His deep knowledge of American birds was a resource every other birder valued. When there was some disagreement over a difficult identification of some rare or puzzling bird, the ultimate, accepted judgement would hinge on, “What does Richie think?” Dick Ashford is a friend of mine and President of the Klamath Bird Observatory, one of many institutions inspired by PRBO, one of Richie’s great contributions to bird science. Here is how Dick remembers his friend, Rich Stallcup: “I (we) lost a dear friend over the weekend. Rich Stallcup was my longtime friend and mentor, my guide into the “field of wonder” (Rich’s term for the natural world). For years, I have begun my talks with one of his quotations, “There are no experts, no masters, just students. It is as it should be”. When I called Rich to ask his permission to use it, he choked up. I am choked up as I write this. I have wonderful stories to share, and memories to keep…” Below is an apt tribute written by Jon Winter, another wonderful birder who taught the first bird class I ever took. That would have been 1978, a night course at College of Marin. “Rich has the soul of a poet, the mind of a scientist, and the spirituality of a shaman. This is not a combination of talents often found in a birder. If Rich hasn’t seen the vision, he sure as hell knows where to look for it while the rest of us mortals are stumbling around trying to find out what the hell it is all about. You always felt like a contact hitter when birding with Rich. You always knew at any moment he could put one out of the park. I suspect that it is the same feeling professional athletes get when they are in the same game with a Barry Bonds, a Jerry Rice, or a Michael Jordan. You know that you are in the presence of someone extraordinary; someone that has an ability that completely transcends that of an ordinary player. Rich’s influence goes well beyond just identifying birds, he has become a part of the flow of life itself, part of the essence of what animates the natural world, and he understands that world from that very unique perspective. Placed in that context, the ability to identify birds isn’t really very important, it is all rather clinical. To those who have been fortunate enough to know him, Rich leads you to a higher purpose through birding; an understanding of your spirit.” Here’s one more memory of Rich, the consummate birder and teacher, from Doug Shaw of Santa Rosa, CA: “I remember some years back I ran into Rich with a small group of about 6 birders at Point Reyes walking back to the parking lot from the lighthouse during Fall Migration. A couple of us asked him Anything Good? and got the Rich stare. He kindly responded, “all birds are good,” which gave us a different outlook on the chasing aspect of birding. I have remembered that quote many times over the years. Also, if another birder reported some thing out at the point that was misidentified he was always very respectful and would kindly educate you rather than criticize you.”
Posted on Dec. 24, 2012
By Brandon Breen, on Dec.7, 2012 Jaime Stephens, KBO’s Research and Monitoring Director, answered questions about the response of birds to climate change for an article in the Outdoor section of the Medford Mail Tribune. As the climate changes, Jaime explained, bird distributions will shift and this will lead to new competitive interactions among species and new experiences with predators for some species. For bird species already at risk, climate change can present yet another challenge. Birds that depend on highly seasonal food resources, such as aerial insects or nectar from flowers, and long-distance migrants that depend on food being available for the duration of their migrations, also may face challenges. Read the full article online or in pdf format.
Central Umpqua-Mid-Klamath Oak Habitat Conservation Project. Read the December 4th, 2012 article titled “Region’s Oak Stands Ecologically Important” online or click here for a PDF of the article text. Oak habitat is important for many birds, including Oak Titmouse and White-breasted Nuthatch.
Brandon M Breen, Klamath Bird Observatory Outreach and Communications Specialist
By Brandon Breen, on Oct. 5, 2012 A high school environmental science class from St. Mary’s School visited the Klamath Bird Observatory banding station at Willow Wind to learn about bird banding, bird watching, and how studying birds gives us information about the health of our environment. See the Medford Mail Tribune article, or see just the text of the article.