Klamath Bird Observatory has enjoyed and benefited from the efforts of a long string of volunteer student interns since our very beginnings in 1996. Over 170 individuals, representing 18 different countries, have participated as interns in various KBO projects. Very often, our interns are early in their careers, many just recently completing their undergraduate studies. They come to KBO for practical professional experience in preparation for graduate studies or for taking on leadership roles on various projects, mostly involving Conservation Biology.
A maxim we impart to interns from the outset is this: if they succeed, KBO succeeds. Thus, we are deeply invested in their achievements following their time with KBO. One way we measure our interns’ success is to watch as they seek higher academic degrees. More than 35 former Klamath Bird Observatory interns have earned or are now pursuing advanced degrees in the natural sciences. Specifically, 22 have earned Master of Science degrees, four hold doctorates, and nine are currently enrolled in graduate programs.
Another exciting way we measure success is to follow the accomplishments of our international interns, many of whom have gone on to make significant contributions to bird conservation outside of the United States. To date, we have hosted student interns from Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Holland, Hungary, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Perú, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and United Kingdom. Of the 36 international interns we have hosted, 18 are active banding trainers internationally and most are working with increased responsibility and impact for conservation organizations. Some have even established their own bird monitoring and research programs in their home countries.
We endeavor to impart a positive learning experience for every intern, and for their part, our interns oblige us through their considerable and wonderful contributions that help us advance bird and habitat conservation. As we follow the developing careers of these dynamic scientists and educators, their success is truly our success as well.
This article appears in KBO’s Summer 2013 Newsletter.
The Rotary Foundation and Rotary District 5110 of Oregon and northern California have awarded a Humanitarian Grant of $12,000 to fund an international capacity building project to be implemented in partnership with San Pancho Bird Observatory in Mexico and Ashland-based Klamath Bird Observatory. The Rotary Club of Ashland, collaborating with the Jaltemba Bay Rotary Club of Mexico and supported by Shasta Valley, Bend High Desert, and Cottage Grove Rotary Clubs of District 5110, initially promoted this project and provided the funding required to receive matching awards from Rotary District 5110 and The Rotary Foundation.
This grant will allow the implementation and completion of a project focused on bird conservation and sustainable community development in western Mexico. This project builds on Klamath Bird Observatory’s successful model of developing professional, economic, educational, and conservation capacities in Latin American and Caribbean countries through a grassroots science-based approach to international migratory bird conservation.
A growing tourism industry along the Nayarit coast in Mexico offers low-paying employment that draws Mexican youth out of rural communities where there are fewer career options. Away from their families, these youth become easy recruits into prostitution and drug mafias, leading to the disintegration of social structure. Furthermore, existing tourism projects cause habitat loss that can result in population declines of resident and migratory birds. San Pancho Bird Observatory will use grant funds to build local capacity for careers in science and ecotourism that can benefit communities, maintain social structure, and protect natural resources of global significance.
With support from Klamath Bird Observatory, San Pancho Bird Observatory will train 20 Mexican participants on the science of monitoring bird populations during a two-week workshop in the Pacific State of Nayarit. Workshop participants will then return to their respective communities and develop bird monitoring programs that collectively track the health of Mexican bird populations in the region. Additionally, San Pancho Bird Observatory will offer community education programs in at least six coastal villages to inspire an appreciation for birds and build capacity for birdwatching-based tourism. San Pancho Bird Observatory will also strengthen the connections among coastal Nayarit communities to create networks for support and information exchange related to sustainable development.
This project applies principles of sustainability and recognizes the links between ecosystem conservation, social equity, and economic development. The project meets an international bird conservation priority by building science capacity for Mexican conservation leaders, and also meets economic and community development goals of The Rotary Foundation. Dr. John Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Executive Director, calls the awarding of this grant “a significant event with regard to sustainability and the links between ecological well-being, economic well-being, and human well-being.”
— Brandon Breen
Migrating birds met migrating biologists in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion as Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) engaged community members on International Migratory Bird Day on May 11th. Tatiana Straatman of Brazil and Liberato Pop of Belize were among the KBO biologists demonstrating bird banding and survey methods used to monitor bird populations and inform conservation efforts.
KBO has an international capacity building program that is dedicated to empowering biologists to use standard monitoring techniques throughout the summer, migration, and wintering ranges of the migratory birds that are shared among the countries of North, Central, and South America. Through hemisphere-wide monitoring efforts we can untangle the threats that birds face throughout their life-cycles and use what we learn to protect the habitats and ecosystems that these birds depend on.
With support from the US Forest Service’s Wings Across the Americas Programs, Southern Oregon University’s International Programs, and the Rotary Club of Ashland, KBO has hosted and provided training to 35 international interns from 17 countries outside the United States. We have hosted students from Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Holland, Hungary, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Perú, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and United Kingdom.
John D Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory Executive Director
This article is the fourth installment in the series Achieving Partners in Flight Strategic Goals and Objectives.
Partners in Flight’s ability to support full life cycle conservation and direct bird conservation resources toward the highest priority needs requires detailed information about bird populations. Constant effort mist netting and bird banding is a demographic monitoring technique that provides this needed information through data that can be used to quantify two important drivers of population change: reproductive success and survival. Such data help us understand where birds are most threatened within their life cycle. If reproductive success is low, then conservation on the breeding grounds might be effective in reversing declines. Low survival might instead require increased conservation efforts in migration corridors or on wintering grounds.
There is a need for increased capacity in demographic monitoring throughout the Americas. To meet this need Klamath Bird Observatory provides banding workshops in a variety of international arenas. In August 2012, we teamed up with the North American Ornithological Conference scientific committee, the Canadian Wildlife Service, the North American Banding Council, and Iona Island Bird Observatory to offer an intensive banding workshop in Vancouver, British Columbia. Participants from Canada, the US, Mexico, Colombia, and Puerto Rico learned about bird identification, ageing and sexing techniques, safe handling procedures, and safe mist net use among other topics during this four day course.
For more information about KBO’s banding workshops visit our website page about science training.