RAPTOR ID IN THE KLAMATH BASIN TALK: Dick Ashford, local raptor expert and longtime KBO board member, will share his enthusiasm and knowledge about raptor ID during this informative class session. January 5th Thursday 6:30-8:00PM WALK: Start the brand new year off right with an all-day raptor viewing outing to the picturesque Klamath Basin! January 7th Saturday 8:00AM-6:00PM
WATERFOWL ID IN THE KLAMATH BASIN TALK: March is that time of year when things are just “ducky”. Want to learn how to ID them? Join longtime KBO board member Dick Ashford for a fun talk on ducks, geese, and other waterfowl! March 2nd Thursday 6:30-8:00PM WALK: We will get a chance to test our classroom knowledge in the field. Dick will plan a route that will give us our best chance of seeing the varied birdlife for which the Klamath Basin is famous – and we’ll have lots of fun doing it! Depending on water levels and weather conditions, there may be excellent opportunities for viewing thousands of migratory waterfowl. March 4th Saturday 8:00AM 6:00PM
Cost: $25 for each talk and outing (or $50 makes you a member of KBO). Space is limited. Will schedule an extra outing day if needed. Contact – ShannonRio@aol.com with questions or to hold your spot.
The Hermit Thrush is very well named. One might not know of its presence but for a soft quoit call or a brownish blur rushing into the base of a bush. They are a quiet, skulking, and reclusive species. This is a good reason for trying to catch them in nets to quickly place a band on their leg, figure out their age and sex, assess their physical condition, and release them on their way. Researchers attempting to learn more about Hermit Thrushes usually capture many more of them than are heard or seen. And with a brief examination in the hand we learn so much more than could be learned from a passing encounter using non-capture monitoring methods.
KBO has banded a great many Hermit Thrushes over decades of monitoring at several study sites in our monitoring network. They are consistently in the top ten most numerously captured species each year. This species is present throughout the year in our Klamath Siskiyou Bioregion. And so it was mid-September a couple years ago at a study site along the western shore of Upper Klamath Lake …
The Odessa Creek Campground, within Fremont-Winema National Forest and about 22 miles west of Klamath Falls, Oregon, is the location of a KBO long-term monitoring station operated each year since the fall of 1996. The campground is well-known as a hot birding spot and as a “vagrant trap” – that is, as a place where bird species show up far away from their usual range of distribution. This has made the station an exciting one to operate over the years with several species captured that might be considered out-of-place like American Redstart, Black-and-White Warbler, Gray Catbird, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Ovenbird, and others. But the real value of the study site is its usual richness of birdlife during the nesting season and fall migration. The habitat is mixed with a fairly mature conifer forest adjacent to an expansive riparian forest and the great wetlands of Upper Klamath Lake. The mixed and rich nature of habitat equates to a mixed and rich bird community. There are many breeding species as well as large migration waves using the area.
On September 18, 2012 KBO biologists experienced a fairly big and busy day capturing 65 birds of 15 species, including flycatchers, jays, wrens, chickadees, thrushes, warblers, sparrows, and finches. One of these was a Hermit Thrush given the band number 2551-10469, a healthy youngster just hatched earlier that year. The following week, another busy day was had at Odessa Creek Campground with 76 captures, several of these already-banded, including our quiet and skulking acquaintance number 2551-10469. After that day, we had no further contact with Hermit Thrush number 2551-10469. That is, until earlier this year with the arrival of a report from the U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory that 2551-10469 had been captured and released by a banding operation at Cabrillo National Monument near San Diego, California on April 4, 2014!
But this hermit’s story doesn’t end there. Many chapters are yet to be uncovered — where was this bird hatched? What route has it used in its migrations? Where has it ultimately gone in its northern nesting and southern wintering destinations? The hermit’s tale has an exciting beginning with nine days in September at Odessa Creek Campground and a flashy appearance (with a shiny band) at Cabrillo National Monument a year and a half later, after three migrations of over 800 miles during each journey. What ribald and dashing adventures to be had, what dangers to be narrowly escaped, what sun and song filled summer mornings to come? We anxiously await the next installment … or as we say in biology, more study needed.
Over the past 19 years, Klamath Bird Observatory has hosted over 170 student volunteer interns from 16 countries and 23 of the US states. Our objective with each individual has been to create a safe and fun learning experience, with the hope that we impart some positive influence on their academic and professional careers. Certainly, we have enjoyed the company of some incredibly bright, energetic, and enthusiastic individuals.
Luis Morales of Mexico interned with KBO in 2012. At that time he was laying the foundation for a new bird observatory in his native San Pancho, Nayarit, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Luis mentored with KBO Executive Director John Alexander as part of his training. The San Pancho Bird Observatory is now a healthy and growing organization advancing bird conservation and education in western Mexico, where many of our nesting songbirds spend their winters.
Keith Larson of Washington interned with KBO in 2004 and 2005. He later completed a PhD at Lund University in Sweden studying songbird migration patterns. Keith is now a research ecologist with the Abisko Arctic Research Lab in northern Sweden, where he is examining the effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems.
Viviana Cadeña Ruiz of Colombia interned with KBO in 2002 and 2003. She later completed her PhD at Brock University in Canada on the effects of high altitude acclimation on thermoregulation. Viviana is now an eco-physiologist. She recently commenced a three year postdoctoral research fellowship with the University of Melbourne in Australia, where she is researching the adaptive significance of color change in bearded dragon lizards.
These are just a few examples of KBO intern successes – former KBO interns making positive impacts in the world of science and conservation throughout the globe. Our hope, as always, is that their KBO experience has played some part in their accomplishments.