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.
Posts Tagged ‘bird conservation’
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
***NEWS RELEASE: May 8, 2017 6:15 AM PDT***
John Alexander, Executive Director, Klamath Bird Observatory, 541-890-7067, jda@KlamathBird.org
Ashland, OR – New study demonstrates an improved approach to ensure protected areas enhance and conserve biodiversity. The results of the study were used to inform expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
A team of researchers from the Klamath Bird Observatory, Point Blue Conservation Science, and other partner organizations used big data and fine-scaled modeling to 1) evaluate an existing network of protected areas in the Klamath Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and 2) to identify and prioritize new areas for protection. The study used birds as indicators of important habitats and biodiversity.
The researchers found that the region’s protected areas, including seven National Parks and Monuments, were protecting coniferous forest habitat. However, adequate amounts of grassland and oak woodland habitats were not being protected. Birds that are associated with these under-protected habitats have been identified as at-risk at both national and regional scales and the conservation of grasslands and oak woodlands has become a priority.
Results from the study identified some protected areas where grassland and oak woodland birds did occur, as well as additional areas that, if protected, would increase the amount of priority birds protected by the region’s Parks and Monuments. Specifically, these priority habitats occur within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and on adjacent multiple-use lands. This scientific insight informed science-driven recommendations to expand the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. With support from Oregon’s US Senators Wyden and Merkley, President Obama signed an executive order on January 12, 2017 increasing the size of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument by more than 45,000 acres resulting in more protection for grassland and oak woodland birds.
“This study offers robust scientific evidence that expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument provides critical protection to an amazing ecosystem found nowhere else in the world, and will serve Oregonians well for decades to come,” said Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley. “National monuments are American treasures that belong to the people.”
This study and its application offer an improved science-based approach to evaluating protected areas and identifying and prioritizing new areas for protection. The results were published today by the Ecological Society of America in a special feature of the journal Ecosphere, Science For Our National Parks’ Second Century. The special feature highlights the crucial value of long-term monitoring and scientific inquiry and the role of science in informing natural resource management and conservation on public lands. This research was completed with support from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and US Forest Service and contributes to the Partners in Flight bird conservation initiative. A gigantic amount of data used for this research was made available through the Avian Knowledge Network. The paper can be accessed online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.1799/full.
Citation: Alexander, J. D., J. L. Stephens, S. Veloz, L. Salas, J. Rousseau, C. J. Ralph, and D. A. Sarr. 2017. Using regional bird density distribution models to evaluate protected area networks and inform conservation planning. Ecosphere 00(00):e01799. 10.1002/ecs2.1799
Click here to download a zipped press package: News Release – Science informs protected area evaluation and expansion (RELEASE DATE 5-8-2017)
Click here to download a PDF of this News Release: News Release – Science informs protected area evaluation and expansion (RELEASE DATE 5-8-2017)
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About Klamath Bird Observatory:
Klamath Bird Observatory advances bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. We work in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of our region. We developed our award-winning conservation model in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California. Emphasizing high caliber science and the role of birds as indicators of the health of the land, we specialize in cost-effective bird monitoring and research projects that improve natural resource management. Also, recognizing that conservation occurs across many fronts, we nurture a conservation ethic in our communities through our outreach and educational programs. Visit Klamath Bird Observatory at www.KlamathBird.org.
About Point Blue Conservation Science:
At Point Blue Conservation Science (Point Blue), our 140 staff and seasonal scientists conserve nature through science, partnerships and outreach, on land and at sea. Using our long-term data, we identify and evaluate both natural and human-driven change over time. We work hand-in-hand with governmental and non-governmental agencies as well as private interests to help ensure that every dollar invested in conservation yields the most for biodiversity and our communities. Visit Point Blue at www.PointBlue.org.
About Avian Knowledge Network:
Avian Knowledge Network is a network of people, data, and technology working together to improve bird conservation, management, and research across organizational boundaries and spatial scales. Visit the Pacific Northwest node of the Avian Knowledge Network at www.AvianKnowledgeNorthwest.net.
About Partners in Flight:
Partners in Flight is a network of organizations advancing the conservation of birds via sound science, integrated conservation partnerships, habitat delivery, and targeted citizen outreach. Visit Partners in Flight at www.PartnersinFlight.org.
*** NEWS RELEASE—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
May 18, 2016
Media Contact: John Alexander, Executive Director Klamath Bird Observatory
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative has published the State of North America’s Birds report. Through a groundbreaking collaboration between the United States, Mexico, and Canada this report evaluates birds of nine key ecosystems across the continent. The report highlights two key aspects of bird conservation that are core to Klamath Bird Observatory’s science, education, and partnership efforts in southern Oregon and northern California. First, science driven conservation works, and second, our continent’s birds still need our help.
The Report’s authors found that where an investment is made in healthy habitat management, birds are doing well; and healthy birds mean healthy ecosystems. They provide several examples, including southern Oregon’s Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network collaboration of Lomakatski Restoration Project, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Klamath Bird Observatory and others. The Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network has leveraged $4.5 million of combined federal and non-federal resources to restore over 3,000 acres of oak woodlands across our region, with another 3,000 acres to be restored by 2020. This work is being guided by and evaluated with KBO research and monitoring using oaks-associated birds as indicators of success.
The Report also presents a Watch List that identifies one third of North America’s bird species as high risk, including the Olive-sided Flycatcher. Klamath Bird Observatory research shows that in our region the Olive-sided Flycatcher is associated with fire and related forest conditions. This is just one example of the many indicator species that Klamath Bird Observatory studies, with results informing forest management. The State of North America’s Birds report emphasizes the importance of such studies, because quality, not just quantity, of our temperate forests, is critical for forest birds. In the West, fire plays a key role in maintaining high-quality forest ecosystems, and Klamath Bird Observatory is working to show how this understanding, and the use of birds as indicators, can inform management our western forests. This application of science and bird conservation priorities to address pressing forest management challenges, with an intention to protect and restore our forests, and thereby stop the steepening declines of our western forest birds.
This new State of North America’s Birds report is a call to action. Of North America’s 1,154 bird species, 432 are now considered of “high concern” due to low or declining populations and growing threats from habitat loss, invasive predators, and climate change. Migratory birds connect people to nature and provide multiple benefits – ecological, economic, agricultural, aesthetic, and recreational – for people and the natural environment. Therefor our governments, industry, and the public must once again come together to support migratory bird conservation. The 2016 Report and past State of the Birds reports archive are available at www.StateOfTheBirds.org.
Klamath Bird Observatory, based in Ashland, Oregon, is a scientific non-profit organization that achieves bird conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of our region. We developed our award-winning conservation model in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and we now apply this model more broadly to care for our shared birds throughout their annual cycles. Emphasizing high caliber science and the role of birds as indicators of the health of the land, we specialize in cost-effective bird monitoring and research projects that improve natural resource management. Also, recognizing that conservation occurs across many fronts, we nurture a conservation ethic in our communities through our outreach and educational programs.
The U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Committee is a forum of government agencies, private organizations, and bird initiatives helping partners across the continent meet their common bird conservation objectives. The Committee is working to secure a bright future for North America’s more than 1,150 species of birds, in conjunction with NABCI partners in Mexico and Canada to increase cooperation and effectiveness of bird conservation efforts among the three countries. The NABCI Committee’s strategy is to foster coordination and collaboration on key issues of concern, including bird monitoring, conservation design, private lands, international collaboration, and state and federal agency support for integrated bird conservation.
For more information about the North American Bird Conservation Initiative: www.nabci-us.org/
New study shows how wildfire changes forests and the birds that live there a decade after a mixed-severity fire in southwest Oregon
PRESS RELEASE — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 17, 2015
Contact: Jaime Stephens, email@example.com, 541-944-2890
Ashland, Oregon: As much of the West is experiencing drought-related wildfire, new research on the effect of wildfire on forests and bird communities has just been released. Researchers from Klamath Bird Observatory just published results from a 10-year study looking at the effects of the 2001 Quartz Fire that burned in southwest Oregon. They found that not only did the forest structure change dramatically over time, but the bird community changed as well, with many species benefitting from the fire, a finding that was only obvious at the end of the 10- year period. In addition, the researchers documented the role of the fire’s severity showing that for half of the species affected by the fire their response was dependent on fire severity more so than simply whether the area was burned.
This study is important because it looks at the interacting effects of fire severity and time since fire, and provides forest managers with scientific evidence of how wildfire can create a forest that meets the needs of both wildlife and forest management, especially as forest restoration efforts are increasing. Their results are published in the journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications (http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1650/CONDOR-14-58.1?journalCode=cond&).
The Quartz Fire of 2001 burned over 6000 acres of mixed conifer broad-leafed forest (a mix of conifers and trees such as Pacific madrone and black oak). Wildfires are an important part of southwest Oregon forests, and usually burn in a pattern called mixed-severity – which means the fire burns unequally, in a patchwork of lightly to heavily burned areas interspersed with unburned patches. The resulting mosaic is important for wildlife and healthy forests.
“One important takeaway from our study was the interaction of fire severity and time since fire. Often, fire-related studies measure the short-term impact and compare only burned versus unburned areas, however, in this case, we saw bird species that initially decreased, increasing by the end of the study and doing so with greater magnitude in areas that were more severely burned,” says Jaime Stephens, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Science Director and the study’s lead author.
Some of the birds that increased over the longer term were species like the Olive-sided Flycatcher, a species of conservation concern in the West. Immediately after the fire, this species was decreasing, but over time, it increased because areas that burned with high-severity resulted in standing dead trees where the flycatchers nest, and a shrub understory re-growth that provided the flycatchers with ample insect food. The House Wren, Lazuli Bunting, and Lesser Goldfinch had a similar story – they increased in areas that were burned and more so with increasing fire severity. The length of the study shed light on how a forest recovers from a mixed severity burn, detecting patterns that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
“After more than 100 years of fire suppression, and now exacerbated by the effects of climate change, our forests may be at-risk of burning at uncharacteristically high severities. Today, forest managers are trying to remedy this problem with thinning and controlled fire, however, these common techniques sometimes fail to replicate the impact of a natural wildfire,” says Jaime Stephens, Science Director, Klamath Bird Observatory.
“The findings of this study can inform management actions, particularly when objectives relate to maintaining or improving ecosystem function” says Jena Volpe, Fire Ecologist, Bureau of Land Management. “Additionally, having long-term post-fire data, relevant to southwest Oregon, greatly improves our understanding of vegetation succession and fuel condition changes across our diverse landscape.”
So what does the study mean for forest management? The challenge of managing western forests in the face of climate change, drought, and a history of fire suppression is not easy. Results from this study show the importance of management techniques that mimic conditions created by a mixed-severity fire: a patchwork forest type, an abundance of snags, and allowing natural regeneration of shrubs. Using these techniques will make it more likely future fires will burn in a mosaic pattern as well, which will benefit birds and create healthy forests for years to come.
This study was funded by the Joint Fire Sciences Program, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Bureau of Land Management Medford District, and Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 Title II.
Klamath Bird Observatory (www.klamathbird.org) is fueled by partner-driven science programs. We use birds as indicators of the healthy and resilient ecosystems on which we all depend. Our science involves three integrated aspects: 1) long-term monitoring, 2) theoretical research, and 3) applied ecology. We bring our results to bear through science delivery involving partnership driven engagement in conservation planning, informing the critical decisions being made today that will have lasting influences on the health of our natural resources well into the future. Klamath Bird Observatory’s award-winning model was developed in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. We now apply this model more broadly throughout the Pacific Northwest. Plus, our intensive professional education and international capacity building programs expand our influence into Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Excepts from an interview with KBO Executive Director John Alexander were quoted in an article written by Meg Scherch Peterson and published in the Taos News. The article brings attention to the conservation challenges facing this miraculous migratory hummingbird.
Alexander describes the Rufous Hummingbird as “an indicator of habitat features that are important for the hardwood understory of the forest.” He talks about the species’ population declines and its preferred breeding habitat that is often associated with wildfire. In the article Alexander relates KBO science to post-wildfire management – “The science suggests we allow the forest to evolve naturally through successional stages. In the past, we’ve often bypassed these stages.” Alexander expresses concerns about best available science not being used to inform management.
Study results represent the first published documentation of El Niño’s influence on the survival of a resident tropical landbird and suggest that mature, un-fragmented forests may offer refuge in a changing climate
*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
June 23, 2015
Contact: Jared Wolfe, jdw[AT]KlamathBird.org, 262-443-6866
Habitat alteration due to forest clearing and climate change threaten wildlife populations across the globe. To better understand the interacting effects of habitat degradation and climate on bird populations, researchers from the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW), Klamath Bird Observatory, and Costa Rica Bird Observatories spent 12 years studying the White-collared Manakin, a fruit-eating tropical bird, in mature and young forests along the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. During the study, several El Niño and La Niña events—cycles of warm and cold ocean temperatures that influence air temperature and precipitation—resulted in very marked dry and wet annual conditions that allowed researchers to measure differences in manakin survival relative to climatic shifts. Results were recently published as the cover article in the journal Oecologia July 2015 edition.
In young tropical forests, researchers found dramatic decreases in manakins’ survival during dry weather associated with El Niño. Researchers believe that, due to a sparser canopy and their fragmented nature, the young forests were more susceptible to understory drying that reduced fruit production. Conversely, manakins’ survival rates were higher during wet years associated with La Niña events in these young forests where increased moisture and sun exposure likely led to an abundance of fruit resources. In mature forests, researchers observed very stable manakin survival rates regardless of climatic shifts, suggesting a relatively constant abundance of fruit resources.
“The complex structure of mature forest is thought to serve as a climatic refuge, buffering fruiting plants from climatic changes resulting in stable manakin survival,” says Jared Wolfe, a postdoctoral researcher with PSW and Klamath Bird Observatory and the study’s lead author. “Climatic refuges, such as mature tropical forests, may be important for many resident tropical bird species faced with the decreasing availability of mature forests coupled with increases in the severity of El Niño-associated dryness.”
These study results represent the first published documentation of El Niño’s influence on the survival of a resident tropical landbird. Researchers believe that variation in manakin survival between forest types provides insight into the sensitivity of certain species to habitat alteration. “From a management perspective, understanding how climatic events affect biodiversity is critical for the development of science-based conservation strategies,” says Pablo Elizondo, the Costa Rica Bird Observatories’ executive director and co-author of the study.
This publication represents an ongoing collaboration between Klamath Bird Observatory, the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and International Programs, and the Costa Rica Bird Observatories.
SCIENCE BRIEF – High ranking priority conservation areas concentrated in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion
A new paper published in the journal Conservation Biology presents results from a novel conservation planning approach. This approach uses detailed data that predict the density of bird species across landscapes, as opposed to probability of occurrence models more typically used in conservation planning. These density-based models are better suited for identifying the highest priority conservation areas. The models were used to identify priority conservation areas in the Pacific Northwest. The results show a concentration of high ranking conservation areas in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. The Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion is recognized as an area of great biological diversity and as an important area for avian diversity. This new paper further demonstrates that the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion stands out as an important area for conservation focus.
This newly released Conservation Biology paper, titled Improving Effectiveness of Systematic Conservation Planning with Density Data represents collaboration among scientists from Klamath Bird Observatory, American Bird Conservancy, and Point Blue Conservation Science and was made possible with funding from the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative and data contributed from many Avian Knowledge Network partners.