Come join us at the 20th Annual Klamath Falls World Migratory Bird Day Celebration at Veteran’s Park this Saturday May 18th! Several expert led birdwatching walks through the park will visit KBO’s bird banding demonstration throughout the festival. Biologists will share the captured wild birds up close before their release—a close-up experience of bird migration passing through the Klamath Basin.
The 2019 World Migratory Bird Day theme is “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution! Come and learn about bird migration and the problems they face from our plastic pollution. Each year, the World Migratory Bird Day advisory committee selects an artist to illustrate the annual conservation theme. Arnaldo Toledo Sotolongo, from Santa Clara, Cuba was selected to create the World Migratory Bird Day 2019 artwork—in which he displays a passionate and beautiful, though painfully tragic, poster illustration.
This local celebration of World Migratory Bird Day is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with Klamath Watershed Partnership, Klamath Basin Audubon Society, Klamath Wing Watchers, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, the City of Klamath Falls, and many other valuable partners. Now in its 29th year, World Migratory Bird Day has grown from a one-day event into a framework underpinning hundreds of projects and programs year-round. It is coordinated by Environment for the Americas, which provides bilingual educational materials and information about birds and bird conservation throughout the Americas. Their programs inspire children and adults to get outdoors, learn about birds, and take part in their conservation.
Spring is here and so are the birds at the Rogue Valley Bird Day festival at Ashland’s North Mountain Park! Join Klamath Bird Observatory biologists at a bird banding demonstration—one of the many family friendly activities planned. The City of Ashland Department of Parks and Recreation with many partners will host the Rogue Valley Bird Day festival Saturday May 11 from 8 am to 12 pm. The festival is our local celebration of World Migratory Bird Day and will feature expert-guided bird walks, The Big Sit feeder watch, thrilling programs featuring birds of prey by Wildlife Images Education Rehabilitation Center, our bird banding demonstration, and the ever-very-popular bird calling contest!
KBO will also present an interactive display and demonstration of eBird tools that help link community birders with conservation science. The display will highlight Community Science tools that allow all birders to contribute to local and international monitoring efforts and existing bird data from Bear Creek and North Mountain Park, which has undergone immense restoration over the past 20 years.
The 2019 World Migratory Bird Day theme is “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution! Come and learn about the problems birds face from our world-wide plastic problem. And experience the bird migration right here in our beautiful Rogue Valley! Several walks through the park led by area birding experts will visit KBO’s bird banding demonstration. Biologists will share the captured wild birds up close before their release.
Each year, the World Migratory Bird Day advisory committee selects an artist to illustrate the annual conservation theme. Arnaldo Toledo Sotolongo, from Santa Clara, Cuba was selected to create the World Migratory Bird Day 2019 artwork. Arnaldo is a scientific illustrator, photographer and designer, and volunteers in conservation projects in his free time. His 2019 poster illustration tells a passionate though painfully tragic tale.
Now in its 29th year, World Migratory Bird Day has grown from a one-day event into a framework underpinning hundreds of projects and programs year-round. It is coordinated by Environment for the Americas, which provides multi-lingual educational materials and information about birds and bird conservation throughout the Americas. Their programs inspire children and adults to get outdoors, learn about birds, and take part in their conservation.
Talk: May 23rd Thursday, 6:30pm – 8:00pm at 320 Beach Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520
Walk: May 25th Saturday, 8:00am – 1:00pm at Karl’s property on the edge of Ashland.
Bring binoculars. A light lunch/snack will be provided. After we walk the property, we can continue looking at the birds while we enjoy our lunch on the patio.
In the words of Karl: I feel grateful for the abundance of birds seen on our property two miles North of I-5 on N. Valley View Rd. which consists of several habitats including riparian, oak woodland, and grasslands. I’ve had quite a few days when I’ve traveled to see the birds and came home wondering why I didn’t just stay at home and see more species (of course, there are benefits to seeing new areas). However, when I get too old to tromp through the forests and swamps, there is comfort in knowing that I can sit on my deck and enjoy a multitude of birds.
Finding bird nests is challenging. Sometimes you accidentally find one, and other times you try hard, but no luck. I’ve had pretty good luck around my house with quite a few species. Golden Eagles nest about 1.6 miles from my house, so I see them regularly. Last year I had two new species: American Kestrel and Barn Owl. Western Kingbirds, Tree Swallows, Western Bluebirds, Red-tailed Hawks, and Bullock’s Orioles will also be likely nesters.
On Saturday’s field trip, we’ll check the nests in my yard, safely and ethically so we don’t over-stress the birds. Also, we will do some easy birding to see what else we can find. Thursday’s Talk portion will be a time to talk about nesting birds, with topics such as providing nest-building materials, providing nest boxes (including plans, construction, and placement), and maintenance. I have photos to share that I hope will stimulate a fun discussion of nesting birds. On Saturday there will be beverages and light lunch/snacks provided. With good weather, we can sit outside on the deck, have some snacks, watch and share the birds.
Regular cost: $50.00 Reduced cost: $40 for holders of the Conservation Stamp Set. Contact Shannon Rio at email@example.com or call 541-840-4655 to sign up.
Talk: May 16th Thursday 6:30pm – 8:00pm at KBO Headquarters, 320 Beach Street
Jeanine Moy, Vesper Meadow Program Director will share encounters with charismatic birds, community-powered restoration and surveys for the imperiled Oregon Vesper Sparrow.
Walk: May 18th Saturday 8:30am – NOON at the Vesper Meadow Restoration site on Indian Memorial Road
Frank Lospolluto, expert bird ecologist, will lead us through the forest edge, wet meadows and riparian habitat known as Vesper Meadow Restorative Preserve. Located up Indian Memorial Road, we might see vesper sparrows, hawks, sandhill cranes, and possibly owls.
The Klamath Bird Observatory is partnering with the Vesper Meadow Restoration Project in this unique walk and talk. Vesper Meadow is a place-based restoration project, as well as outpost for community science and art programs. It is the site where KBO is collecting information on the endangered vesper sparrow.
To sign up for this, contact Shannon Rio at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-840-4655. Cost is $30 with $15 going to Vesper Meadow and $15 to KBO.
NEWS RELEASE: March 23, 2019 CONTACT: John Alexander, Executive Director, Klamath Bird Observatory, 541‐890‐7067, jda@KlamathBird.org
Managers charged with stewarding public and private lands strive to protect, maintain, and restore healthy forest conditions that are resilient to drought, flood, and severe wildfire. Managers often rely on the presence of indicator species and species richness (i.e., the number of species present) to assess the value of different forest conditions to wildlife; however, relying on an indicator species or estimates of richness does not directly measure in what way focal habitats support the life history needs of individual species. For example, a bird provisioning food to nestlings is a more meaningful metric than a bird of the same species simply dispersing through a focal habitat. Unfortunately, classical measures of richness often treat these two hypothetical birds as similar when assessing the value of forests to wildlife. While past conservation planning has largely focused on wildlife presence, new research suggests assessing habitat value throughout the entire avian life cycle will provide a more holistic approach to management.
Recognizing the need for a better assessment of forest value to wildlife, a team of researchers from Klamath Bird Observatory, the Forest Service, and Michigan Technological University developed the “informed indices” concept. This new and impactful method scales diversity estimates by meaningful phases of each species lifecycle, such as breeding and feather replacement (i.e., molt). For proof-of-concept, the collaborative team used 18 years of bird capture data from across multiple forest types in California and Oregon to determine how measures of diversity change for bird communities across the breeding and molting seasons.
“We were surprised to find that forests with diverse breeding bird communities sometimes hosted relatively depauperate molting communities, demonstrating that a single location’s value is dynamic, changing from high to low depending on what part of the avian lifecycle a manager is considering” said Dr. Jared Wolfe, Klamath Bird Observatory Research Associate and lead author of the study.
“Instead of relying on simple measures of presence and absence, our informed indices concept assesses wildlife across biologically-meaningful seasons. This is an important improvement because it identifies essential variation in the value of forest to wildlife, thereby allowing managers to properly conserve wildlife throughout North America and beyond” said Dr. John Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory Executive Director and co-author of the study.
About Klamath Bird Observatory: Klamath Bird Observatory advances bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. We work 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. 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. Visit Klamath Bird Observatory at www.KlamathBird.org.
Klamath Bird Observatory is offering two unique opportunities to participate in our long-term landbird monitoring program. A Bird Banding Workshop at KBO’s Upper Klamath Field Station in southern Oregon on August 5-9 2019 and a Bird Banding Field Course, a 10-30 day opportunity to immerse yourself in the life of a field ornithologist and obtain a comprehensive introduction to bird banding and other field methodologies.
CLICK HERE to read more about these exciting bird banding opportunities.
The study of natural areas can improve our understanding of plants and animals that occupy different habitats. Land managers need this kind of information for making decisions about how best to manage, restore, or protect their lands. However, it is not possible to measure each aspect of biodiversity. Studying one or several species to better understand the natural area as a whole is a common, but relatively understudied, practice. In the Pacific Northwest, Partners in Flight – a broad partnership aimed at conserving bird populations – has been using birds as focal species for nearly 20 years. The premise is that a suite of songbird species that are closely tied to key habitat features will represent many other bird species and other elements of biodiversity.
New research examines the focal species approach
Scientists from Klamath Bird Observatory and the Klamath Inventory and Monitoring Network of the National Park Service teamed up to think about how the focal species approach is being applied to six national parks in southern Oregon and northern California. Specifically, we examined whether the Partners in Flight focal species, which are derived from expert opinions and knowledge of birds and their habitats, did a good job at representing three additional management concerns: 1) vegetation, 2) other songbirds, and 3) more specifically, songbirds in decline. We then tested whether we could develop a focal species list from existing park-specific bird surveys that would do a better job at representing the other groups. The results were recently published in the scientific journal Ecological Applications in an article titled Established and Empirically Derived Landbird Focal Species Lists Correlate with Vegetation and Avian Metrics(CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PUBLICATION).
Why does this matter?
If focal species do a good job at representing other groups of birds or vegetation, then the list can help land managers make better decisions about natural areas. Deciding which correlations are most important will depend on the management question at hand. For example, with vegetation management, if focal species are highly correlated with other songbirds and vegetation, managers can confidently apply their knowledge about the focal species to planning needs, such as developing a restoration strategy.
What have we learned?
Partners in Flight focal species represented three other components of biodiversity (all songbirds combined, songbirds in decline, and vegetation) in some, but not all, instances. We found that the Partners in Flight focal species did a good job of representing other songbirds at four of the six national parks. For all parks combined, the focal species developed from park-specific bird surveys improved correlation, showing the most notable improvement at Crater Lake National Park, where the existing focal species did not correlate strongly with the other groups. In contrast to the close association with songbirds generally, the Partners in Flight focal species lists represented songbirds in decline at only two of the parks. It is likely that species in decline have different habitat needs or experience different threats than the focal species.
Partners in Flight focal species lists are based on breeding season habitat needs, but food and habitat outside of the breeding season are also critically important for birds. For example, understanding how seasonal habitat and food needs relate to songbird health and ability to produce young, and how climate interacts with those, may inform conservation of declining species. Adding focal species that can represent limitations or threats outside of the breeding season may expand the use of this approach in the context of widespread bird population declines. Further, continued long-term monitoring in the parks is critical to understanding both whether local bird populations show similar dynamics as the same species at regional and national scales, and if so, the reasons why.
Ashland, OR – A new study on songbirds in the Pacific Northwest, released on March 11th, empirically tests the use of focal species as indicators of ecosystem health.
Focal species are often monitored to understand overall ecosystem health and thereby inform and improve natural resource management. However, few studies have empirically tested how well this approach works. The new study, Established and empirically derived landbird focal species lists correlate with vegetation and avian metrics, published by scientists at Klamath Bird Observatory and the Klamath Inventory and Monitoring Network of the National Park Service, tested the focal species approach against site-specific empirical data and found that a suite of bird focal species represented other birds and vegetation in some, but not all instances, and the application of focal species may be improved with more site-specific data.
In the Pacific Northwest, Partners in Flight (PIF) – a broad partnership aimed at conserving bird populations – has been using birds as focal species for nearly 20 years. The premise of the focal species approach is that a suite of songbird species that are closely tied to key habitat features will represent many other bird species and other elements of biodiversity. The study, published in the scientific journal Ecological Applications (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PUBLICATION), used data from six national parks in southern Oregon and northern California to evaluate the focal species approach in the Pacific Northwest. Specifically, the study examined whether PIF focal species represented three broader ecosystem components of biodiversity: vegetation, other songbirds, and more specifically, songbirds in decline. The researchers then tested whether they could develop a focal species list from existing park-specific bird surveys that would do a better job at representing the broader suite of species and vegetation.
“If focal species do a good job at representing others aspects of biodiversity, then we can confidently apply them to decisions about managing natural areas. In this time of unprecedented human altered environments, ensuring that the best available science informs decision-making in an efficient manner is crucial,” explains Jaime Stephens, KBO’s Science Director and lead author of this paper. Jaime suggests that this study identifies not only how this approach can be useful to land managers, but importantly, also the limitations of the focal species approach.
The research team found that PIF focal species represented the broader suite of species and vegetation in some, but not all, instances. For example, Partners in Flight focal species did a good job of representing other songbirds at four of the six national parks included in the study. For all parks combined, the new focal species developed from the park-specific bird surveys were slightly better at representing other songbirds, with more improvement in some parks than others.
In contrast to the close association of focal species with the group of all songbirds combined, the PIF focal species represented songbirds in decline at only two of the parks. John Alexander, KBO Executive Director and a co-author of the study, highlights that “It is likely that the species in decline experience different threats than the focal species.” Alexander goes on to explain that these underrepresented declining species may face threats when they leave the parks during the migration – the focal species are chosen to help understand conditions in each park where the songbirds breed.
“I’ve worked through many uses of indicator and focal species approaches as a way for us to “see” and perhaps improve how a system works, and this is among the best approaches I know,” says PIF National Coordinator Bob Ford. He adds, “This approach provides a blueprint for how multi indicator species can be applied to advance conservation in other North American biomes.” He believes this is an important part of the PIF toolbox, adding value to the full lifecycle approaches that PIF applies to addressing conservation needs for priority and declining species.
This study, funded by the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program, takes advantage of the first decade of long-term bird monitoring in the six national parks of the Klamath Network. This monitoring program was designed to answer pressing questions for park managers and local conservation practitioners over the short-term, while monitoring long-term trends in bird populations over the long term. “Our long time partners at KBO provide valuable expertise that allows us to extend the value of our datasets and answer important questions that support natural resource stewardship in Klamath Network parks and beyond,” says Alice Chung-MacCoubrey, the NPS Klamath Network Inventory and Monitoring Program Manager. Continued long-term monitoring in the parks is critical to understanding local bird population dynamics in comparison to trends for the same species at regional and national scales.
About Klamath Bird Observatory: Klamath Bird Observatory advances bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. We achieve 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. 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. Visit Klamath Bird Observatory at www.KlamathBird.org.
About Klamath Inventory and Monitoring Network of the National Park Service: The Klamath Network tracks the ecological health of six national park units in southern Oregon and northern California. We inventory park natural resources and then regularly monitor the condition of a carefully selected subset, called “vital signs,” at Crater Lake NP, Lava Beds NM, Whiskeytown NRA, Lassen Volcanic NP, Redwood National and State Parks, and Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. Our small staff of scientists partners with park scientists and other organizations to monitor nine vital signs: cave environments and communities, rocky intertidal zone communities, landbird communities, land cover and use within and surrounding parks, lake water quality and aquatic communities, stream water quality and aquatic communities, vegetation communities, invasive plants, and whitebark pine trees. Learn more about the Klamath Network and browse the published results of our science at https://www.nps.gov/im/klmn/index.htm.
Learn how to easily use birding apps without it getting in the way of birding. Sibley’s, Merlin, iBird Pro, and eBird are the apps we will talk about and practice using.
OUTING: Wednesday, March 6th Noon – 3 pm at North Mountain Park, Ashland Oregon 97520
Cost: $10 donation to KBO. Meet under the covered gazebo at North Mountain Park. Bring your lunch, binoculars and don’t forget your phone! Email email@example.com to sign up or if you have questions or just come. Shannon’s phone: 541 840 4655.