Klamath Bird Observatory’s executive director John Alexander has recently been awarded for his years of effort in conservation through international partnerships. The U.S forest service awarded him the Wings Across the Americas award, recognizing the partnership between KBO, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad in Costa Rica and Dr. C.J Ralph of the U.S Forest Service in Arcata, CA. Through their efforts many Latin American biologists have been brought to the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion for an extensive six month bird banding training. The trained biologists are then able to use these skills back home to help expand the network of scientists throughout the Americas. Data collected through this partnership will help computer modeling tools show projections of how birds will likely react to changes in climate, the environment and land use in the future. The goal is for these tools to help public land agencies make decisions about land use practices. Many of the species seen here in the spring and summer are migratory, therefore conserving habitat in Latin America not only benefits the endemic birds found there, but also the migrants we commonly see here. To read the full article and learn more about what Klamath Bird Observatory and its partners are doing, click here.
article on the Medford Examiner’s website.
This summer KBO is implementing its third season of aquatic bird surveys as part of the OregonCoordinated Aquatic Bird Monitoring Program. As part of this coordinated monitoring effort, KBO is focusing on seven species of marsh-nesting, colonial aquatic birds, including the Eared Grebe—Podiceps nigricollis. The Eared Grebe is the most abundant grebe species in North America, with an estimated population of 3.7 million. In its breeding plumage the Eared Grebe is black with chestnut flanks, bright white underparts and a scarlet iris. Its most distinguishable feature is a fanshaped, reddish-orange tuft that extends from the eyes to the back of the head. Eared Grebes typically winter in saltwater estuaries along the Pacific Coast and breed in freshwater habitats. In Oregon the majority of breeding areas are in Klamath, Lake and Harney counties, while breeding occurs in California in the east-central and northeastern portion of the state. Eared Grebes nest in large colonies, sometimes numbering in the thousands, in shallow water one to four feet deep. KBO survey crews have found Eared Grebes at more than 40 sites in southcentral Oregon. The status of Eared Grebes is of interest in the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion in part because the region’s many lakes are subject to year to-year water level fluctuations which can impact Eared Grebe’s nesting habitat. Understanding water level impacts on Eared Grebes on their breeding habitats will be key to maintaining their abundance. Note: The Oregon Coordinated Aquatic Bird Monitoring Program is part of a large, multi-partner effort to determine the status of aquatic birds through the Western United States and to better inform waterbird management and conservation decisions. Source: Marshall, David B., Matthew G. Hunter and Alan L. Contreras, eds. Birds of Oregon: A General Reference. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2003. This article can be found in KBO’s Summer 2010 Newsletter.
This article can be found in KBO’s Spring 2010 newsletter.
Ken Keffer and Kim Check write about the wonder and curiosity which captivates many children and adults while visiting a bird banding station. Since the first record of bird banding by John James Audubon in 1803, thousands of people have had the experience of releasing a bird back into the wild after placing a small band on its leg and even more have been able to see the excitement in a child’s face when seeing a bird up-close for the first time. Though bird banding stations are increasingly visited by environmental education programs a small amount of research has been done to show the effectiveness of these programs. One study conducted by Amy Busch and Ashley Dayer of The Klamath Bird Observatory showed 4th and 5th grade students demonstrating scientific skill and having an increase in knowledge and awareness of birds after participating in KBO’s Songbird, Science and School programs which involve both classroom visits and field-trips to the banding station. Click here to read the full article on Bird Education Network Bulletin.
www.stateofthebirds.org. KBO’s executive director, John Alexander as well as Southern Oregon University’s Stewart Janes and Ornithologist Barbara Massey were interviewed by the Mail Tribune for the article “The State of the Birds”. Janes states that the report is straightforward, “Birds are declining. We’ve done a great job of preventing extinction, but not as well with maintaining healthy populations.” Though many species are declining some such as the Whooping Crane, whose population was once down to 16 individuals is now up to 540, are starting to increase credited partially to the Endangered Species Act. Bird hunters have also made an impact to conservation through funding from sales tax on guns and ammunition. Alexander explains that birds are indicators of how well ecological systems are doing and land managers should consider the health of the birds when assessing management practices. Not only do land managers and scientist make an impact in bird conservation but all levels of birders can as well. Imputing sightings into ebird, www.ebird.org/klamath-siskiyou, and participating in Christmas and breeding bird counts provide valuable information to help decipher the health of the birds. Looking over the report Alexander states “(It’s) a scary picture, but there’s optimism. Birds are resilient, as are our ecosystems.” Click here to read the full article in the Mail Tribune.