Attention Oregon birders, I am pleased to announce a great community science opportunity in Oregon! Klamath Bird Observatory is partnering with Intermountain Bird Observatory to carry out the Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study (WAfLS). This community science project, now spanning eight western states, is designed to gather information to better evaluate the population status of the Short-eared Owl. Traditional survey data have indicated that Short-eared Owl populations have declined by more than 60% in the last 40 years. The Oregon Conservation Strategy has identified the Short-eared Owl as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need and the National Audubon Society Climate Initiative has identified the species as Climate Endangered. This survey is a critical step to filling information gaps for this species in Oregon. Results will directly influence high-value conservation actions by state and federal agencies. We are looking to recruit a set of dedicated volunteers to help complete this state-wide survey.
Volunteers will enjoy rural Oregon at twilight while completing two road-based surveys during late winter and early spring. The surveys consist of driving on secondary roads, stopping at 8 to 11 points to complete a five-minute survey. At each point volunteers will record detections of Short-eared Owl as well as some brief habitat information. The entire survey is completed within 90 minutes. Training material will be provided and no experience is necessary to volunteer. Participants will need to follow field and data entry protocols, have use of a vehicle, smartphone or GPS device, and be able to identify a Short-eared Owl.
Named after the abundance of camas
lilies dotting the meadow blue through the long days of June, Lily Glen offers
a fine sight that comes alive in the summer. This May-July, my field partner
and I spent our days here with the purpose of locating and monitoring the nests
of a local population of Oregon Vesper Sparrows. Our goal was to collect data
on nest success for a range-wide study attempting to determine causes of
declines in this at-risk subspecies unique to the Pacific Northwest. Tracking
these birds took more patience than I had ever imagined, and we made slow
progress finding the nests one by one. And I swear, the Vesper Sparrow is a particularly
fickle little bird who is unsurpassed in misleading humans in the whereabouts
of their nests!
Each day would start before dawn with
a quick breakfast and lots of coffee to keep us attentive during the cold, slow
mornings. The meadow was broken up into four general sections that Jen (the
other field technician), sometimes Sarah (KBO staff biologist), and I would
rotate through, following leads from previous attempts. Male Vesper Sparrows
were quite consistent in their behavior, singing in their territory all morning
and foraging on the ground with their female companion. Females were also
fairly consistent in their behavior, which mostly consisted of foraging with or
without their male companions, and hiding from us, nowhere to be found. We
would crouch, sit, lay down, stand, roll, and crawl to try to keep the birds
visible in the dense grass while remaining far enough away for them to go about
Most nests this year were found by
food carries to the nestlings. Both the male and female assist with this duty
once the eggs have hatched, and the nestlings grow rapidly until they leave the
nest around ten days later. A handful of nests were found by following a female
who was observed carrying nesting material repeatedly to a general location.
This method, although common with other birds when locating nests, was
particularly difficult with our Vespers as they like to land on the ground some
meters away from the nest and then walk or run the remaining distance
undetected through thick grass. Additionally, we had a few “luck” finds, in
which a nest was found by unintentionally flushing a female off the nest while
walking through the meadow.
The most rewarding part of this job
was after weeks of following the progress of a nest from creation to egg laying
to hatching to fledging, seeing a little family of Vesper Sparrows exploring
new lengths of the meadow together, learning the ropes of being a bird in the
free world. Really, when it comes down to it, being a nest searcher means
simply not giving up. There were many days when I, the least experienced of the
field crew, after a half hour or so of attentively watching a female would give
up and think “she’s not doing anything but eating.” Yet as Sarah would always
remind me, you just need to be patient and wait for the birds to give you a
Our Vesper Sparrows have now all migrated south
to spend the winter across pasture lands full of seeds and ground spared by
snow. I know that we are all excited to see their return to Lily Glen next
spring – and with the identifying color bands applied to dozens of individuals
over the past two seasons, it will be a pleasure to see which birds return for
another spring in the mountain meadows outside of Ashland.
Editor’s note: The Oregon Vesper Sparrow population is estimated to be <3,000 individuals. Along with researchers in the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys, OR, and the Puget Lowlands, WA, we are studying their nest success, survival rates, and habitat associations. Our goal is to find out how to target conservation actions to halt and reverse their population decline. The 2019 field season was supported by the Oregon Wildlife Foundation, Charlotte Martin, and the Management Studies Support Program for National Conservation Lands.
TALK: BIRDING THE KLAMATH BASIN Thursday, November 14th 6:00pm – 7:30pm at Lincoln School, 320 Beach Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520
Using photography and history of the land and the birds, visit one of the most amazing Wildlife Refuges here in our backyard via a powerpoint presentation. The Lower Klamath Lake part of this refuge was established in 1908 by Teddy Roosevelt. This is the first refuge protected specifically for migratory birds. This presentation is an invitation to visit the Refuge and will give information on how to get there and what glory you might expect to see. Refuge brochures will be available.
KLAMATH WILDLIFE REFUGE FIELD TRIP WITH RANGER STEVE ROOKER AND SHANNON RIO
Two separate days have been selected to have a 3 hour tour from a Fish and Wildlife guide. He will take us in his 9 person van to see the beauty and learn info about wetlands.
Dates will be Wednesday November 20th or Wednesday November 27th from 9:30am – 5:00pm. It takes 2 hours to safely drive to the Tule Lake Headquarters where the tour starts at 9:30am and ends at 12:30pm. After the tour, we will bird some of the Refuge til 3:00pm and then arrive home around 5:00pm. Bring a Lunch!
FEE FOR THE LECTURE IS OPTIONAL DONATION TO KBO. FEE FOR THE OUTING IS $30. CONTACT SHANNON RIO AT firstname.lastname@example.org TO ATTEND EITHER OR BOTH.
Join Vince Zauskey and Shannon Rio for a day of birding in the spectacular Scott Valley. We will likely see a variety of hawks, falcons, and sparrows. Lewis’s woodpeckers will be seen, possibly a shrike, and who knows what else!!
16 folks total so we can have 4 cars of 4 folks each. $25 each.
To sign up or for more information contact Shannon Rio at email@example.com.
Klamath Bird Observatory is offering public visits to our bird banding station near Fort Klamath in the Upper Klamath Lake area. The banding station is scheduled on most Thursday mornings through mid-October. Individual, family, and group visits can be arranged by emailing KBO’s Banding Program Coordinator Bob Frey (see below).
Situated along Sevenmile Creek within Fremont-Winema National Forest, this banding station has been operated each year during the nesting and fall migration seasons since 1997—one of the longest running bird monitoring sites in the region. In the fall, many songbird species migrate through the Klamath Basin and can be encountered here. The location is also a birding hotspot on the Klamath Basin Birding Trail.
Also, KBO and Crater Lake National Park continue our bird ecology program series into the fall. These Ranger-led programs begin at the Park’s Steel Visitor Center and feature a visit to KBO’s banding station within Crater Lake National Park. These programs are scheduled on Thursday or Friday mornings—please check the Crater Lake National Park series flyer below for upcoming dates and more details.
Don’t miss these opportunities to visit KBO’s biologists and the birds they are studying up close!
Klamath Bird Observatory’s Wings and Wine Gala is back by popular demand. Come celebrate more than 20 years of KBO advancing bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. Please help us continue our work by participating in this fundraiser.
$65 — Single Gala tickets $260 — Buy four get one free (Bring a friend!) $100 — Saturday, September 21st trip to Fort Klamath (more info at registration) $165 — One Gala ticket and Fort Klamath trip
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: $40.00 for holders of the Conservation Stamp Set. Contact Shannon Rio at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-840-4655 to sign up.
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.