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.
Ah, spring, when young persons’ fancies turn to thoughts of bird migration and YES! The Birdathon! It’s a high point of the year for our team, the Great Greys. It started out to be an excuse to spend some quality time with pals, looking for birds. But we were subjected to some serious ridicule a few years back, and we still haven’t gotten over it. That was the year we actually won the competition, surprising us as much as the previous year’s winners, the Mighty Falcons. So the leader of the Falcons, who shall remain nameless(1), had the nerve to publish an article in High Country news about our surprising victory, calling us the “Bad News Bears of Birding(2).”
Well. Now we started to care. So the next year we won again. But the year after that, the Falcons cleaned our clock, setting the county record that still stands (162 species). The year after that, we won again. One year we tied another team, the Binosaurs, for first place. Last year we came in second. This year we won again, with 154 species(3). Not that we’re counting. It’s all in good fun…
But hey, the purpose of the Birdathon is to raise money, by getting friends and relatives to pledge some amount per species identified. Every year I send out a fund-raising, trash-talking letter, offering the opportunity to pledge at different levels, from Golden Eagle ($1,000 per species identified)(4) down to brown-headed cowbird ($0.10/species).
We raised over $3,400 this year, which is pretty darn thrilling. We split the money between Rogue Valley Audubon and KBO, even though John Alexander, KBO’s Executive Director, is actually a Falcon, and thus one of our fierce rivals. However, we know the main reason the Great Greys started winning is because Frank Lospalluto joined our team that year. You may know Frank as a field biologist who has worked for KBO over ten years. Like the rest of the KBO folks, he is really passionate, and amazingly knowledgeable, about birds. So we owe a substantial part of our success to KBO. Hence, the donation.
And in case you were wondering? Everyone is welcome to join our support network(5). Just let me know and I’ll add your name to the annual trash-talking solicitation.
- Pepper Trail. Stewart Janes and John Alexander are also Falcons.
- High Country News article about the Bad News Bears of Birding!
- Take that, Falcons. Team members are Bob Hunter, Dom DiPaolo, Brian Barr and Frank Lospalluto.
- A girl can hope!
- Even John Alexander has pledged on behalf of the Great Greys. Don’t tell Pepper.
Klamath Bird Observatory was highlighted in the latest Audubon magazine. The Spring 2017 issue’s Travel section suggests our Community Education Programs as an Alternative Adventure.
Pictured is 2015 student volunteer intern Daniel Gómez banding a bird at our Willow Wind Community Learning Center ecological monitoring station located in Ashland, Oregon. Photo by (2015 intern) Erica Gaeta.
The article’s text:
If attending a festival doesn’t fit your schedule, consider checking out a bird observatory. These groups monitor birds, conserve critical habitat, and have a host of activities for the public. Starting in late spring, the Klamath Bird Observatory, for instance, invites visitors to watch bird banding in action at multiple sites in Oregon, including Crater Lake National Park. “It’s a great opportunity to see warblers, thrushes, and sparrows up close, and to learn about their life histories,” says Jaime Stephens, the observatory’s science director. She also points to the Talk and Walk program, which consists of an hour-long talk on a specific topic, such as Great Gray Owls, followed by a field trip to see the species in its habitat. Dozens of other observatories across the nation and beyond provide a plethora of similar programs; find a full list of observatories in the Western Hemisphere at bit.ly/2lBLvWm.
© National Audubon Society
Klamath Bird Observatory and The Selberg Institute are launching a new citizen science project on the beautiful Sampson Creek Preserve just outside of Ashland. This project offers something for all birders and outdoor enthusiasts. Participants will have the choice to bird on fairly flat terrain walking less than two miles through meadows and oak woodland, or for the more adventurous there are little-explored areas off-trail along a gradient of different habitats. The project will take place on a large parcel of private property along Sampson Creek. The Preserve is in the foothills of the Cascades and holds a variety of oak habitats as well as coniferous forests and riparian woodlands. This is a terrific spot for birding and will give the public a unique opportunity to visit and bird in a diversity of habitats managed for conservation.
Citizen Scientists will participate in a training event on April 15th to learn how to collect data, and the opportunity for monthly surveys will continue throughout the year. If you enjoy looking for owls, you are in luck as well. This project will also include guided night surveys to inventory the local owl population. Participation will include some walking and/or hiking, recording all birds observed by sight and/or sound, and entering and submitting your findings into eBird Northwest. Klamath Bird Observatory has completed baseline breeding surveys on this property in the past, but with this project we aim to add to the existing knowledge by harnessing the power of Citizen Scientists to collect robust data throughout the breeding, migratory, and winter seasons.
If you are interested in participating or would like more information please contact KBO biologist Ellie Armstrong at eea@KlamathBird.org. Ellie will give a short presentation on the project at the next Rogue Valley Audubon Society monthly meeting on March 28th – come learn about this special place and what we can do to help keep it special.
Conservation on the Wings of the Mountain Bird Festival — American Birding Association Birder’s Guide to Conservation & Community
This May, the American Birding Association (ABA) published their 2nd Birder’s Guide to Conservation & Community. This edition of the popular Birder’s Guide series is designed to help, to inspire, and to support birders in building a better future. This latest edition features an article about Klamath Bird Observatory’s Mountain Bird Festival. We are extremely excited that the American Birding Association recognizes the Mountain Bird Festival as an avenue for conservation.
The cover article of Wednesday May 27th’s edition of the Ashland Daily Tidings featured the 2015 Mountain Bird Festival.
The article by John Darling highlights the economic benefits of birding. Bird enthusiasts generate billions of dollars of economic activity each year — The 2014 Mountain Bird Festival generated an estimated $70,000 of economic activity, benefiting local businesses in our region.
The article covers additional details about the Festival and Klamath Bird Observatory and also includes beautiful photographs by Jim Livaudais. Click here to read the article.
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.