John Alexander, KBO co-founder and Executive Director is featured in the current edition of the Point Blue Quarterly. Conservation Frontman: John Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory describes the energy, focus, and passion John brings to the enduring Point Blue—KBO partnership. Point Blue leaders and John himself share perspectives of their collaborations that are making a positive difference.
Dear KBO Friends and Supporters,
Please Contribute to our 2018 Membership Drive.
Thank you KBO Community, for your sustained financial support of KBO. We recognize and appreciate the choice you make by donating to Klamath Bird Observatory — your contributions encourage and inspire us. As a non-profit, KBO relies heavily on federal and state funding, however private donations are a key part of the revenues that help us achieve our science-driven mission.
As we are well into our 2018 field season we continue to seize opportunities to advance bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. We are also now facing a new set of challenges — extreme changes in federal funding are putting our work at risk, making private sector support more important than ever. Therefore, the success of our annual spring membership drive is critical. Please support KBO by contributing to our spring membership drive. Your donations support our success.
Your contributions support our research and long-term monitoring.
- Our results recently informed the expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and influenced improved management of this protected area. The science is now a key tool for defending our Monument.
- Our science is also elucidating details about unique threats to birds here in our region. For example, forest birds appear to be in steeper decline here in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion, as compared to the broader Pacific Northwest region. This makes our science relating to forest protection and restoration that much more critical.
Your contributions support our collaborative approach to bird conservation.
- Jaime Stephens (KBO Science Director) was just recognized for her exceptional contributions to the field of bird conservation with the Partners in Flight International Leadership Award. Jaime’s active collaboration with land managers ensures that our science translates into conservation success. She is using science to put oak woodland and forest restoration on-the-ground on both private and public lands.
Your contributions support our education programs.
- We are building generations of conservation practitioners. Over the past 20 years we have trained and mentored more than 250 student interns from 18 countries. They are now working to advance conservation as young leaders at universities, natural resource management agencies, and NGOs throughout the world.
- Our Community Education programming offers a diversity of learning opportunities that foster an appreciation for birds and an interest in conservation. These include our regular Talk and Walk series of classes and our outreach at festivals throughout the region.
Please support our successful science-driven bird conservation. Right now, your support is critical!
Make your tax-deductible membership donation online (CLICK HERE) or by mailing your donation with our membership form (CLICK HERE FOR OUR MEMBERSHIP FORM) at Klamath Bird Observatory, PO Box 758, Ashland, Oregon.
John D. Alexander, Ph.D, Executive Director
Shannon Rio, President, Board of Directors
Migratory birds live complex lives—spending parts of their year in places hundreds or thousands of miles apart and in different habitats. Ornithologists face challenges at least equally complex in their study of these far-ranging and fleeting creatures. So it should not be surprising that they find ways to collaborate … and to migrate great distances in is this pursuit of understanding.
Klamath Bird Observatory has long recognized the value of international engagement. Since 1999 we have worked to build the capacity of like-minded individuals, organizations, and networks dedicated to the conservation of the birds we share. Through our international internships, training workshops, partner bird observatory support and mentoring, and collaborative network participation, we plant seeds and help grow bird conservation efforts that have taken root all over the world.
KBO has hosted 54 interns from 17 countries over the past 20 years. Many of these individuals are now engaged in careers that are creating exchange opportunities for information and training, and participating in international bird conservation organizations, partnerships, and networks. Our high-impact training opportunities have been possible only through partnerships with the US Forest Service International Programs, Oregon State University’s and Southern Oregon University’s International Programs, National Park Service’s Park Flight Migratory Bird Program, and with KBO member donations. KBO biologists have completed migrations as instructors to banding training workshops in nine countries outside the US—gatherings where we have met many of our interns and partners. And KBO is a close partner with bird observatories in Brazil, Costa Rica, and Mexico, and an active partner in several international information networks.
One of the collaborative networks in which we are closely involved is the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. Their current newsletter features the article “The Value of International Engagement for Birds and People” by Environment for the Americas ornithologist Carol Beidleman. The article highlights the considerable achievements and wide-ranging impacts of the NPS Park Flight Migratory Bird Program.
Migratory birds live their lives oblivious to the borderlines people have drawn all over the world. As scientists and conservationists, we need to continue in finding ways to freely exchange information, ideas, and people across those lines to better understand and so more effectively help these international travelers—our foretelling ‘canaries in the coal mine’ for environmental well-being.
World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) in the Year of the Bird is May 12, 2018—a day to celebrate the amazing annual migrations of the birds who know no borders. The day is also for raising awareness of conservation challenges that these world travelers face and what we can do to help.
This WMBD (formerly known as International Migratory Bird Day) is a special one for Klamath Bird Observatory. We are part of a group being recognized for its collaborative achievements in migratory bird conservation. KBO will also be part of two local WMBD celebrations—Rogue Valley Bird Day in Ashland and the WMBD Birdwatching Field Trip at Shasta Valley Wildlife Area near Montague, California.
It has just been announced that the Western Hummingbird Partnership has been given the U.S. Forest Service’s 2018 Wings Across the Americas award. This is a prestigious award that recognizes outstanding achievements in the conservation of migratory birds—to be presented at a special World Migratory Bird Day ceremony in Washington, D.C. this Tuesday May 1st. KBO’s Executive Director Dr. John Alexander will join other members of the Western Hummingbird Partnership Advisory Group in receiving the award.
KBO will join many local partners for the City of Ashland Department of Parks and Recreation’s Rogue Valley Bird Day Saturday May 12th at North Mountain Park from 8 am to 1200 pm. KBO biologists will demonstrate mist netting and banding songbirds as a part of the festivities. We will also join A World Migratory Bird Day Birdwatching Field Trip at Shasta Valley Wildlife Area starting at 7:30 am. This event is sponsored by Klamath National Forest.
CLICK HERE to view the Rogue Valley Bird Day 2018 flyer.
CLICK HERE to view the Shasta Valley Birdwatching Field Trip 2018 flyer.
Join us for World Migratory Bird Day!
The Western Hummingbird Partnership addresses a critical need in hummingbird conservation—engaging researchers, educators, and governmental and non-governmental groups in collaborative science and education. Key partners include Klamath Bird Observatory, Environment for the Americas, Point Blue Conservation Science, University of Guadalajara, and U.S. Forest Service. Since 2006, the Partnership has contributed to projects in biosphere reserves, botanic gardens, and national forests and has provided funding in support of projects where western hummingbirds nest, stop during their migrations, and winter.
Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, with support from the Bureau of Land Management, will host the 2018 Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Research Symposium this Thursday March 15 evening. Come learn about recently-conducted fieldwork from both students and professional scientists within the Monument in our backyard.
KBO Executive Director Dr. John Alexander will present the Symposium keynote with a talk titled “KBO Science Informing Adaptive Management and Conservation in Our National Monument”. His talk will explore the more than 20 years KBO has been conducting monitoring and research in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in collaboration with the BLM and many other partners. The results have and continue to inform adaptive management that improves ecological conservation. Dr. Alexander will summarize these results, focusing on how KBO’s science has helped to shape management actions that have benefited migratory birds, ecosystem health, and biodiversity in the Monument.
The Symposium will be held at the Southern Oregon University Science Auditorium (CLICK HERE for map) March 15, 2018 from 7 pm to 9 pm.
Klamath Bird Observatory is partnering with Intermountain Bird Observatory to launch the pilot year of the Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study (WAfLS) in Oregon. This citizen science project, now spanning eight western states, is designed to gather information to better evaluate the population status of the Short-eared Owl. 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 pilot survey is a critical starting point to fill 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 dedicated volunteers to help complete this state-wide survey.
WAfLS 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.
Help fill these information gaps by signing up for a survey!
The cover article of Monday October 30, 2017 edition of the Medford Mail Tribune shines a spotlight on the Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network’s recent $100,185 grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
The article by the Mail Tribune’s Mark Freeman highlights both the plight of disappearing oak woodlands and the successes of restoration efforts. Klamath Bird Observatory Science Director Jaime Stephens explains the crucial need for oak woodland restoration and how KBO is using bird count data to measure restoration effectiveness.
The Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network is a partnership that includes KBO, The Nature Conservancy, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Lomakasti Restoration Project.
Klamath Bird Observatory’s 2017 Conservation Science Stamp features the Oregon Vesper Sparrow. We feature this sparrow to raise awareness about its peril while also showcasing steps we are making for its conservation. The Oregon Vesper Sparrow is a subspecies that occurs to the west of the Vesper Sparrow’s core continental breeding range. To learn more about the Oregon Vesper Sparrow and its science-driven conservation CLICK HERE.
Klamath Bird Observatory’s Conservation Science Stamp is produced each year and sold as part of our annual Conservation Stamp Set. Proceeds support both regional and national conservation efforts. The 2-stamp set includes 1) KBO’s Conservation Science Stamp and 2) the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (i.e., the Duck Stamp).
Each year’s Conservation Science Stamp feature a different species that KBO studies, works to conserve, and highlights through community education programs. This $15 stamp brings attention to our science-based conservation programs and proceeds support these effort. Additionally, Conservation Science Stamp buyers are offered discounts on some KBO fee-based community education and conservation birding events.
The Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp is popularly referred to as the Duck Stamp. Why does the Klamath Bird Observatory sell Duck Stamps? Because we see birds and birding as our refuge, and by purchasing Duck Stamps birders and hunters alike directly contribute to bird habitat conservation efforts on our National Wildlife Refuges. The United States refuge system is one of the world’s best migratory bird conservation models. By buying Duck Stamps, birders make an important statement — we, a significant conservation constituent, hold non-game bird conservation, in addition to gamebird and endangered species conservation, as a societal priority. An additional perk is that a Duck Stamp provides access to National Refuges that charge admission or parking fees.
The Oregon Vesper Sparrow is a subspecies of the Vesper Sparrow, a migratory grassland-obligate bird. This subspecies nests to the west of the Vesper Sparrow’s continental breeding range. The Oregon Vesper Sparrow is at risk of becoming extinct. However, KBO’s science is informing important steps in its conservation.
In early 2017, new protections for Oregon Vesper Sparrows that breed in grasslands adjacent to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument were put in place when President Obama issued a proclamation that doubled the size of this Monument. The expansion increased the amount of grassland habitats that occur in the Monument, and thus in the Region’s network of protected areas.
Klamath Bird Observatory’s science informed President Obama’s decision to expand the Monument. The expansion focused on at-risk species and considered ‘ecological’ boundaries to provide further protection for the biodiversity for which the Monument was originally established. Specifically, Obama’s proclamation expanded protection for grasslands and oak woodlands that are critical for bird conservation — habitats that occurred near but not within the original Monument boundary.
One of KBO’s most recent peer-reviewed papers identified these habitats as underrepresented in our regions National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, and Monuments. President Obama’s expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was driven by this and other regionally relevant science. As a result the expansion benefited some of Oregon’s most at-risk and under protected birds, including the Oregon Vesper Sparrow.
Despite this success story, the Vesper Sparrow still faces significant conservation challenges.
A petition to list the Oregon Vesper Sparrow under the Endangered Species Act has been submitted to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The species is at-risk of extinction because 1) it has a very small population (estimated at <3,000 individuals), 2) for the past half-decade this population has been declining by 5% per year, and 3) ongoing habitat loss and degradation continues to threaten the grasslands that Oregon Vesper Sparrows depend on for nesting. Adding to these challenges, there is uncertainty about why this species is in such decline.
For us to effectively save this species there are key questions we must answer about when and where during its annual cycle it is most threatened. Which threats — threats to its breeding, migratory stopover, or wintering habitats — are most ‘limiting’ to this subspecies? KBO is collaborating with the American Bird Conservancy and many other partners to answer these questions in order to better prioritize conservation actions that will stabilize and reverse its population declines.
The Oregon Vesper Sparrow is featured on KBO’s 2017 Conservation Science Stamp — CLICK HERE to learn more about our Conservation Stamp Set.
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.”