It’s Year of the Bird April! This month’s call to action is to both celebrate the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s century of success and raise concern about recent and abrupt changes to it. eBird Northwest has published a great article about this important law that has influenced bird and habitat conservation in many ways.
The OSU Extension Land Steward Program and Rogue River Watershed Council will host the Living on Your Land Conference April 14, 2018 8 am to 6 pm at the Rogue Community College Redwood Campus in Grants Pass, Oregon. The one-day conference is for small farmers, small woodland owners, land owners or managers, wildlife enthusiasts, backyard gardeners and those interested in our region’s natural resources. KBO Research Biologist Dr. Sarah Rockwell will join a blue ribbon collection of foresters, botanists, biologists, working farmers, and other land management experts presenting more than two dozen 90-minute classes on a variety of topics related to natural resources and land management.
Sarah and Trout Unlimited Biologist Jay Doino will co-present the class “Birds and Fish That Reside in Your Streamside Backyard and How You Can Help Them”.
The late-Winter Special Edition Klamath Bird newsletter is out! It’s a close look at KBO’s Community and Professional Education programming. This edition ranges from Klamath Basin birding to migration research in Nayarit, colleagues and partners from Brazil to Ethiopia to New Zealand, and back around to tell our collected education story. There’s also a new Bird Bio and Words on the Wind feature—we hope you enjoy!
CLICK HERE to download the Klamath Bird late-Winter 2018 Special Edition.
If you subscribe to a print copy it is in the mail. Thanks!
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.
The Year of the Bird’s Call to Action for the month of March is to raise awareness of the value of landscaping with native plants. Creating a bird-friendly habitat in yards featuring native plants is a great way to help birds facing changes in their natural habitats. Planting native plant species in your yard, garden, patio, or balcony can create a vital recharging station for birds passing through and even a sanctuary for nesting birds. Having more birds will help with garden pests naturally and the native plants will require much less watering. March might be a little early for planting but not too early for planning ahead to birdify your yard.
KBO’s Birdify Your Yard! Landscaping for Birds and Native Plants for Birds in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion flyer offers several home landscaping suggestions for attracting birds and includes a list of local bird-friendly native plants.
eBird Northwest has just posted an article titled Year of the Bird: March Monthly Action with more information about including bird-friendly native plants in our “habitats”. The article includes a link to the National Audubon Society’s Plants for Birds webpage and their Native Plant Finder Database with tips for planning a bird-friendly landscape.
If you haven’t already heard, 2018 is Year of the Bird! The National Geographic Society is celebrating the centenary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act with a year-long celebration of birds. Dozens of Year of the Bird partners, including Klamath Bird Observatory, are coordinating Year of the Bird activities.
Each month during Year of the Bird there will be a simple action you can do to make a difference for birds. February brings us the Great Backyard Bird Count. Visit eBird Northwest for details and how to join in!
KBO and American Bird Conservancy are excited to introduce OakBirdPop: a new interactive web application to assist land managers and conservation professionals working on oak restoration projects in the Pacific Northwest. Like other decision support tools, the goal of OakBirdPop is to streamline the process by which research can be used for management. KBO has a suite of decision support tools that present key results from our avian monitoring and research programs in short, user-friendly formats.
What make OakBirdPop different? OakBirdPop is interactive, so managers can see what our bird research and analyses would predict for their specific restoration projects. OakBirdPop allows users to select their region, the bird species they are interested in, and how the oak habitat type will change. The result is a dynamic graph and table that shows how the bird community might change following restoration.
Seeing how bird species would respond to restoration projects is useful for conservation professionals to know because birds serve as important indicators of ecological conditions. Different bird species will be present in an open oak woodland than in a mixed oak-conifer forest. So if managers know which species of birds to expect in the oak habitat they are trying to restore, they can use birds as a ‘measuring stick’ to determine whether the project met their goals. OakBirdPop makes it easy for managers to see the oak bird-habitat analyses that are most relevant to them, and how birds might fare under alternative habitat change scenarios.
Similar to the Land Manager’s Guide to Bird Habitat and Populations in Oak Ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, OakBirdPop draws from several years of bird monitoring data to provide density and population estimates for several bird species that may use oak habitats. The hope is that conservation professionals can learn from OakBirdPop, and then collect on-the-ground bird monitoring data to assess restoration success. New data may contribute to future versions of OakBirdPop to provide even more information about bird responses to habitat change throughout different regions of the Pacific Northwest.
Volunteers from Humboldt State University help KBO recapture Yellow-breasted Chats returning from Mexico with valuable data
Introduction by Sarah Rockwell:
We described the start of the Yellow-breasted Chat geolocator project in a previous blog post (CLICK HERE TO VIEW). Geolocators are lightweight devices designed to track a birds’ whereabouts by recording daily light levels. These novel data can then be used to determine migratory routes and wintering grounds—we need to know where birds go when they leave their breeding grounds before we can understand potential conservation needs during migration and winter. Since then, we have recruited a Ph.D. student, Kristen Mancuso, who is supervised by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Environment and Climate Change Canada. KBO’s Executive Director, John Alexander, is an advisor on her committee. She is studying chats in British Columbia, northern California, and Mexico—throughout the range of the western subspecies. Here is a project volunteer’s account from last year’s field season!
By Kelly Commons, HSU Master’s student
On my first day with the Yellow-breasted Chat project, I woke up to a dark, early morning with more than a bit of chill to the air. Since it was my first day, I would have the help of veteran chat-catching volunteer Kachina Rowland and the project leader Kristen Mancuso. We were on the hunt (to catch and release!) chats that wore color bands on their legs which meant they also wore a geolocator device we needed to remove for its record of where they had been since last year.
We had made our way to a site the team had been to several times before (unsuccessfully) to catch the notorious Dark Blue-White-Dark Blue-metal (DWDX for short). As the sun rose high over the hills and the day turned long, Mr. DWDX had managed to evade our nets. In fact his constant chattering song seemed to mock our best efforts. Disappointed but still game, we tried elsewhere looking for color-banded chats in riparian forest overgrown with blackberries that chats seem to love. Chats make a confusing variety of grunts, chatters, and whistles, so we had to keep a sharp ear out for any of their more subtle call notes. We found several singing males, but none of them were color banded. The day ended warm and sunny but with just three more days left to find our chats!
The next morning we trudged through streams, rocky hills, and blackberry bushes and while we found several chats, none of them were banded. About to give up, we finally heard one last male singing in the distance and scouted his territory before calling it a day. We split up to opposite sides of this chat’s bramble. I caught glimpses of him flying back and forth across an opening in the trees, but I couldn’t see his legs well enough to tell if he had any color bands. I was moving to a better location when Kristen spotted him—and his bands! This male had a geolocator and we were determined to catch him the next day. A successful day deserves a reward and after we got back to camp we treated ourselves to s’mores around the campfire.
On the next to last day in the field, we trudged over and through yesterday’s streams, rocky hills, and blackberry bushes to set up nets for our newly found bird. We set up wooden decoy males by the nets even though the other birds the team had tried to catch weren’t falling for this trick. However, within minutes of playing a recorded male song at the decoy, our male flew in the net! Gotcha! We removed his geolocator, took measurements, feather samples, and snapped a few pictures before setting him on his merry way. We even had enough time left in the morning to try for old DWDX again! Nets and decoys were deployed for him but we weren’t able to repeat our morning’s luck. A lovely female Black-headed Grosbeak in the net did brighten my mood before we headed back to camp.
The last morning was full of promise as we attempted to catch DWDX one more time. We set up nets in a different location, but still weren’t able to convince him to come into our nets. We did, however, catch his previously unbanded neighbor and outfitted him with some spiffy new bands before we let him go. As the day wore on, we became less and less hopeful. However, a feisty Red-breasted Sapsucker caught in the net was just the pick-me-up we needed to end the day on a good note. We may not have caught our nemesis, but we left with smiles on our faces. Now Kristen moves on to British Columbia to catch returning chats there, as Kachina and I return to regular life, with a bit more knowledge and experience under our belts.
Editor’s note: The 2017 Yellow-breasted Chat banding team, comprised of PhD student Kristen Mancuso, KBO Research Biologist Sarah Rockwell, and Humboldt State University volunteers Kachina Rowland and Kelly Commons, recaptured three males with geolocators this season, nearly doubling the sample size from the Trinity River region. We even recovered one from a male who had dutifully carried his geolocator backpack since 2014!
The National Geographic Society, in partnership with National Audubon Society, Birdlife International, and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology have proclaimed 2018 as the Year of the Bird. The Year of the Bird marks 100 years of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. The Year of the Bird will celebrate the wonder of our feathered friends and provide an opportunity for people everywhere to recommit themselves to protecting birds. The Year of the Bird will be 12 months of storytelling, science, and conservation aimed at heightening public awareness of birds and the importance of protecting them.
KBO, many other organizations, and people all around the world are committing to help protect birds today and for the next hundred years. Everyone can join in and be a part of the #YearoftheBird! National Geographic will be highlighting simple actions you can take part in each month to make a difference for birds—visit their website (see link below) to read more about this special year. Another wonderful resource is the All About Birds website’s “6 Resolutions To Help You #BirdYourWorld In 2018” (see link below). KBO will post news and updates of these actions and how to stay involved throughout the year through our Call Note blog and at eBird Northwest.
As Thomas Lovejoy, biologist and “godfather of biodiversity” once stated: “If you take care of the birds, you take care of most of the environmental problems in the world.”
CLICK HERE to visit National Geographic Society’s website Year of the Bird page.
CLICK HERE to visit The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website “6 Resolutions to Help You #BirdYourWorld in 2018” article.
Klamath Bird Observatory has announced several new position openings. We are currently recruiting for field technicians for the upcoming 2018 field season, citizen scientist volunteers for a new Short-eared Owl survey project, and a meeting facilitator to work with the Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network. Links to the position announcements on KBO’s website are below—where you with find details about the positions and instructions on how to apply.
On behalf of the Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network, KBO is seeking bids for a meeting facilitator to support strategic planning efforts—CLICK HERE to view this position announcement.
KBO is seeking to fill two Field Technician positions in our bird monitoring and research program at several riparian restoration sites along the Trinity, Salmon, and possibly Klamath rivers in northern California—CLICK HERE to view this position announcement.
KBO invites applications for four (4) Bird Banding Assistant Internship position openings—CLICK HERE to view this position announcement.
KBO seeks to fill a Field Technician position with primary responsibilities to manage our bird banding long-term monitoring project—CLICK HERE to view this position announcement.
KBO is seeking volunteers for a Short-eared Owl citizen science monitoring project—CLICK HERE to view this position announcement.