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.
Posts Tagged ‘bird conservation’
Native Hawaiian birds are renowned for their beauty and unique evolutionary history, where numerous species rely on native plants for food in the form of nectar and fruit. Many of these important native plants that provision food for birds rely on climatic cues – such as rain and temperature – to time their flowering and fruiting activity. Understanding how birds respond to climatically-induced changes in their food web represents an important step towards predicting the effects of climate change on vulnerable wildlife species.
To better understand these complex relationships, Klamath Bird Observatory research associate, Dr. Jared Wolfe, and KBO research advisor, Dr. C. John Ralph, used data collected from the Big Island of Hawaii to measure long-term relationships between changes in climate, fruit and flower production, and the timing of breeding and molting in native and non-native birds. Their results were recently published in the scientific journal Ecology in a paper titled “Bottom-up Processes Influence the Demography and Life-cycle Phenology of Hawaiian Bird Communities”.
“Flower and fruit abundance at our study site were strongly affected by seasonal changes in rain, which had cascading effects on the timing of important lifecycle events of birds, such as breeding seasonality”. says lead author Wolfe. “Our results suggest that changes in climate can cascade up the food chain and strongly affect wildlife at higher trophic levels.”
Results from the analysis suggest that three native birds that commonly feed on nectar, the ʻiʻiwi, ʻapapane and Hawaiʻi ʻamakihi, all timed their breeding season with the availability of ʻōhiʻa lehua flowers, which in-turn, used heavy rains to time flowering activity.
“Our project is one of the first from Hawaii to combine long-term climate, plant phenology and bird monitoring data to disentangle these complex trophic relationships” says co-author Ralph. “These types of studies are rare because they rely on long-term and labor-intensive field work. But, findings from long-term studies such as this one are critically important because they provide insights into how changes in climate might affect native Hawaiian birds.”
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.
Birds in the western United States time their breeding and molting (annual replacement of feathers) behaviors with seasonally abundant food resources. Understanding how birds move across the western landscape to acquire the food they need to successfully breed and molt represent critical pieces of information for wildlife managers.
To measure bird movements in the western United States, researchers from Klamath Bird Observatory and U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station have been capturing and marking birds throughout northern California and southern Oregon. These data have now been used to analyze movements of breeding and molting birds to better understand the habitat requirements of multiple species throughout their annual life-cycle.
“After the breeding season, many species were found to move away from their breeding grounds before they began molting” says Jared Wolfe, co-author and KBO research associate. “My graduate student leading this research, Andrew Wiegardt, and I, in addition to the KBO scientific team, believe that dry, late-summer environments prevent many birds from remaining on their breeding grounds late in the season. To find the insect and fruit-rich habitats necessary to molt, many birds left their breeding territories and made small-scale movements to environments with more food, such as wet meadows and riparian forest”.
Results from this recent research highlight that most migratory species are reliant on multiple locations and habitats in northern California and southern Oregon to breed and molt prior to fall migration. For long-distance migrants, such as Wilson’s Warblers, these different locations used for breeding and molting often occurred on an altitudinal gradient where birds tended to breed in lower elevations during the spring, and then moved upslope to molt at higher elevations late in the summer.
KBO Research Associate Dr. Jared Wolfe received his BS and MS from Humboldt State University. He completed his PhD at Louisiana State University studying landscape demography of Amazonian birds. Dr. Wolfe is a science advisor for Costa Rica Bird Observatories, co-founder of the Louisiana Bird Observatory, North American Banding Council certified trainer and current board member serving as a trainer-at-large, and a permitted master bander in the USA and Brazil. He regularly coordinates bird monitoring and statistical workshops in the USA, Costa Rica, Peru and Brazil. Dr. Wolfe is an Assistant Professor at Michigan Tech University.
Jared’s affiliation with KBO has been long and fruitful, resulting in multiple scientific publications focused on migratory and resident bird demography as well as the influence of climate on migratory bird condition, molt patterns and novel ageing systems for tropical birds.
What to do: Look for birds and report what you find at eBird.org in this exciting 24-hour quest to collectively record as many bird species as possible across the world.
How to do it: Watch birds on May 5th –any time from midnight to midnight in your local time zone. It’s that simple. You don’t need to be a bird expert, or go out all day long.
• Get an eBird account if you don’t already have one: eBird is a worldwide bird checklist program used by hundreds of thousands of birders. It’s what allows us to compile everyone’s sightings into a single massive Global Big Day list—while at the same time collecting the data for scientists to use to better understand birds. It’s free. Log your sightings on the eBird website or download the eBird app, for maximum ease-of-use.
• Watch the sightings roll in: During the day, keep an eye on how the lists are growing in different parts of the world. Follow along with sightings from more than 150 countries, including the Cornell Lab’s Team Sapsucker in Colombia, Honduras, and California. Stats will be updated in real-time on our Global Big Day page.
Pro Birder Tips for Big Day Success:
• Explore eBird Hotspots near you.
• Put your birding plans on the worldwide Global Big Day map.
• Get together with friends and set a goal for your birding—most unusual species? Biggest flock? All the species in your favorite family? The possibilities are endless.
• Take photos and add them to your checklist—they might end up on the Global Big Day page!
Why do it?
• Put your birds on the map! Your sightings become part of a global snapshot that helps track the numbers, health, and movements of birds for scientists and conservationists.
• It helps other birders: your data feeds migration forecasts, species checklists, and hotspot maps that are free for all.
• 20,000 bird watchers around the world will be on a 24-hour birding binge; count yourself in their ranks.
• In 2017, bird watchers recorded an incredible 65% of all the bird species on the planet. Can we set a new record?
And don’t miss World Migratory Bird Day! There are 1,200 events happening around the world in 200 cities on Saturday May 12, including two KBO is part of—Rogue Valley Bird Day and the Global Migratory Bird Day Birdwatching Field Trip in Shasta Valley Wildlife Area.
CLICK HERE to view the Rogue Valley Bird Day 2018 flyer.
CLICK HERE to view the Shasta Valley Birdwatching Field Trip 2018 flyer.
Of course the invaluable citizen science wonder that is eBird is bigger than Global Big Day—watch the birds any day and let your observations add to our body of knowledge, empowering bird conservation science through eBird. Every bird counts so count all your birds!
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.
Announcing our always popular Malheur birding trip scheduled for June 2nd-5th, 2018!
This five-day and four-night eastern Oregon birding expedition will begin with birding from Ashland to Summer Lake, explore surrounding wildlife areas, and stay at the Summer Lake Lodge. On the second day we will arrive at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge—birding this special area the next three days with accommodations at Crystal Crane Hot Springs those three nights. Bring your swim suit as we will study the night sky from the warmth of the hot spring pool in the evenings (optional of course). One night we will have dinner at the famous Diamond Hotel. Dinners will include tallies of our birds for the day.
Some of the species we hope to see: Cinnamon Teal, Trumpeter Swan, White-faced Ibis, Sandhill Crane, Ferruginous and Swainson’s hawks, Bald and Golden eagles, nesting Long-billed Curlew, Wilson’s Phalarope and Wilson’s Snipe, Franklin’s Gull, Black Tern, Prairie Falcon, Great Horned and Barn owls, Common Nighthawk, Loggerhead Shrike, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Flycatcher, Say’s Phoebe, Black-billed Magpie, Rock and Canyon wrens, Sage Thrasher, Mountain Bluebird, Sagebrush and Brewer’s sparrows, and Yellow-headed Blackbird. We have seen as many as 142 species on this trip in the past.
Cost of the trip is $575 which includes modest accommodations, dinners, transportation (a small van will be available plus there will be room in vehicles), and the expert guiding of birding extraordinaire and bird guidebook author Harry Fuller. $300 of this will be a tax deductible contribution to the Klamath Bird Observatory so not only will you have a fantastic adventure in a very special part of the world, you’ll contribute to bird and habitat conservation efforts.
Participants will need to bring breakfast and lunches. Sign up by contacting Shannon Rio at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 541-840-4655.
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 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 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!