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.
Klamath Bird Observatory research scientist Dr. Sarah Rockwell was mentioned in the most recent issue of Living Bird, published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (click here to see the article). Sarah completed her Ph.D. research with Dr. Peter Marra (now Director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center) on the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler in her home state of Michigan. She found that after drier winters in The Bahamas (which are predicted by several climate change models), Kirtland’s Warblers arrived on Michigan breeding grounds later in the spring, raised fewer offspring, and had lower survival rates that year. This emphasizes the importance of winter habitats for migratory birds; conditions there can carry over to affect birds during different parts of the annual cycle.
“Without natural wildfires, the Kirtland’s Warbler may always be a conservation-reliant species, but it is important to demonstrate the success the Kirtland’s recovery team has had in alleviating limitations on the breeding grounds, and increasing the population from around 200 pairs in the 1970s to over 2,000 pairs today,” says Sarah. “My research helped demonstrate threats that could result from drought on wintering grounds in The Bahamas, which still need to be addressed. Nathan Cooper’s research (discussed in the article) adds important data to the question of identifying where else Kirtland’s Warblers might be spending the winter, as well as important stopover sites along migratory routes, which would be good candidates for habitat protection. My work also demonstrated that Kirtland’s Warblers have higher mortality during migration than any part of the year, making this a critical part of its life cycle.”
Dr. Rockwell, who says she’ll always have a soft spot for this charismatic species, will present her research as an invited speaker in the Kirtland’s Warbler symposium that will take place as part of this year’s American Ornithological Society meeting. She will also present KBO research using birds as indicators to evaluate riparian restoration at beaver dam analogue sites in the Scott Valley, California (click here for more information about this project).
Dr. Sarah Rockwell’s Kirtland Warbler publications:
Rockwell, S. M., C. I. Bocetti, and P. P. Marra (2012). Carry-over effects of winter climate on spring arrival date and reproductive success in an endangered migratory bird, Kirtland’s Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii). The Auk 129:744-752. http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1525/auk.2012.12003
Rockwell, S. M., J. M. Wunderle, Jr., T. S. Sillett, C. I. Bocetti, D. N. Ewert, D. Currie, J. D. White, and P. P. Marra (2017). Seasonal survival estimation for a long-distance migratory bird and the influence of winter precipitation. Oecologia 183:715-726. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00442-016-3788-x
By Sonya Daw, Science Communication Specialist for the National Park Service Klamath Inventory & Monitoring Network
This article first appeared in The Klamath Kaleidoscope Spring/Summer 2017 newsletter
People spend a lot of time watching birds, and scientists are no exception. Because birds use such a wide variety of resources and respond quickly to environmental change, they are gold mines of information. Even better, most species are easy to find, especially in the spring when they are singing! Scientists from Klamath Bird Observatory, the Klamath Inventory & Monitoring (I&M) Network and others used a wealth of bird data from the Klamath Ecoregion to understand how birds naturally group themselves across the landscape. Their results were just published in PLOS ONE, “Bird Communities and Environmental Correlates in southern Oregon and northern California, USA.”
Recent research suggests that the challenges bird communities already face are exacerbated by climate change. As climate change brings shifts of habitats, birds can be among the first to tell the story of climate trends. Just like the canary in a coalmine, they may alert us to what is happening and what the future holds. If we are paying attention.
Join Southern Oregon Climate Action Now and Klamath Bird Observatory to learn about international, national, and regional efforts to adapt bird conservation and natural resource management strategies to effectively meet the most urgent needs in the face of climate change.
Dr. John Alexander, Director of the Klamath Bird Observatory, will be the guest speaker at the next Southern Oregon Climate Action Now general meeting April 25th 6:00 pm at the Medford Public Library. John will share what critical impacts climate change is having on regional and national bird populations, and summarize research that KBO is undertaking in his talk “Climate Change: A Bird’s Eye View”. The U.S. Department of Interior’s 2010 State of the Birds Report on Climate Change, to which Klamath Bird Observatory contributed, addressed this very issue.
Tropical forests are used by local people for food, timber, and resource extraction. Balancing the needs of local people and the needs of sensitive wildlife has presented scientists with pressing global conservation challenges. To help protect and manage tropical wildlife, Klamath Bird Observatory Research Associate Dr. Jared Wolfe has partnered with academia, governments, and nonprofits in Central Africa and Central America to successfully develop and fund several capacity building grants focused on conserving important habitats at risk of being lost.
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.
A NOTE FROM OUR SCIENCE DIRECTOR:
Peer-reviewed science is nonpartisan. While science is non-advocacy in nature, scientific results ensure fact-driven debate and informed decision making. In this time when our colleagues are being silenced, science is being dismissed, and funding is being cut, Klamath Bird Observatory remains steadfast in standing up for science. And today, right now, science needs you. Your support is more important than ever.
Our science provides the foundation for conservation of our most at-risk bird species and the habitats on which all wildlife depend. In the last six months alone, our science has influenced state policy to eliminate red tape for oak restoration on private lands, informed the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, and contributed to the petition to list the Oregon Vesper Sparrow under the Endangered Species Act. These are just a few examples of how our work is having an impact.
But there is so much more to do! Please consider joining our monthly sustained giving program. For less than the cost of a daily latte ($50/month), or cup of coffee ($25/month), you can ensure that Klamath Bird Observatory’s science is at the table when decisions are being made. Your monthly contribution will provide staff time to put our science in front of decision makers at all levels. The reliable monthly revenue from you, our loyal supporter, will ensure that we can stand up for science during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history.
Thank you for your contined support — Jaime L. Stephens, Science Director
Image Copyright Gary Bloomfield
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.