Sarah Rockwell, PhD
Sarah manages several KBO programs monitoring birds at riparian and coniferous restoration sites, and studying the ecology of specific bird species of conservation concern. She uses multiple methodologies in her research, including point counts, spot-mapping, nest-searching, and new technology such as archival GPS tags; analyzes data; and delivers results to diverse audiences.
The goal of KBO’s restoration site monitoring is to determine how changes in habitat structure associated with restoration are related to bird abundance, diversity, and demography. Results are used to evaluate the success of restoration actions and inform future restoration plans, using birds as indicators of a healthy, functioning ecosystem. Sarah also manages KBO’s Oregon Vesper Sparrow research program, studying nest success, survival, and habitat to better understand causes of their decline and potential conservation actions. She is using lightweight GPS tags to track the migratory routes and overwintering locations of both Oregon Vesper Sparrow and Western Purple Martin – two imperiled subspecies unique to the Pacific Northwest.
Sarah joined KBO in 2013 after completing her doctorate at the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, where she studied the ecology of the then-endangered Kirtland’s Warbler. She earned her B.A. in Biology in 2002 from Kalamazoo College in her home state of Michigan, where she fell in love with birds during her study abroad experience in Ecuador. Sarah worked on many avian research projects before moving to beautiful southern Oregon, with field sites in other picturesque locations such as Hawai’i, Venezuela, northern Arizona, central California, the South Carolina Low Country, and northern Michigan.