In 2018, Klamath Bird Observatory began in-depth monitoring of the survival, nest success, and habitat preferences of Rogue Basin birds located near Howard Prairie, east of Ashland, Oregon. This research is being replicated by partners in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and the Puget Lowlands in Washington to get a picture of Oregon Vesper Sparrow population health across its entire range.
Vesper Sparrows are a medium-large sparrow approximately 15 cm long. They are grayish brown above and buffy below with brown streaks. They have a narrow white eye-ring, white outer tail feathers, and a rufous shoulder patch. The Oregon Vesper Sparrow subspecies cannot be determined by plumage or vocalization, but by geographic range.
The Vesper Sparrow is sometimes affectionately referred to as a “little brown job”. This is what birdwatchers call those streaky brown sparrows and dull-colored females that we all struggle with identifying. But if no one knows about this subtle songbird, how can it ever be protected?
Vesper Sparrows (Pooecetes gramineus) are found throughout the northern half of North America and Canada. In the Pacific Northwest, breeding populations of Oregon Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus affinis), one of four subspecies, historically spanned from southwest British Columbia, through western Washington and Oregon, to northwestern California. Breeding Oregon Vesper Sparrows have been extirpated from British Columbia and California, and their overall abundance has declined at a rate of about 5% per year since 1968 – equivalent to losing over 90% of the population from 1968-2015. The current population size is estimated to be fewer than 3,000 individuals. Due to these dramatic changes, the subspecies has been petitioned for listing as endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Oak Science Day presented by the Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network seeks to broaden awareness related to oak ecology, conservation and, restoration, and to increase efforts and improve restoration techniques in the Klamath Siskiyou Bioregion. Researchers, land managers, and restoration practitioners are invited to attend.
Lodging: A block of rooms is reserved at Inn at the Commons (http://innatthecommons.com/) under the name “Oak Science Day” for November 2nd and 3rd. The rooms are $84/night plus tax and includes a hot breakfast buffet and discounted meals at Larks Restaurant located within the hotel. You must reserve your room before October 12th to receive this rate.
The meeting is an 8 minute walk from the hotel. Parking is available at a lot across from the Library for $5 per day, free on-street parking is limited to 1-2 hours.
The January Talks and Walks series are now full, please check in later for our next upcoming events.
The Klamath Bird Observatory’s popular Talks and Walks series will continue into January. The Talkswill be held on a Thursday evening at the KBO headquarters followed by the Walkon Saturday. January is a great time of year to see raptors and with the Klamath Basin hosting some of the densest concentration of wintering raptors in the country you will not want to miss this opportunity. To register contact Shannon Rio at Shannonrio@aol.com, registration fee is $25 for the classroom session and the field trip.
RAPTOR IDENTIFICATION WORKSHOP
Taught by Shannon Rio, KBO Board President
Thursday January 21, 2016 6:30-8:00pm
KBO headquarters, Lincoln School, 320 Beach Street, Ashland, Oregon
Lead by bird expert Frank Lospalluto
Saturday January 23, 2015
Spend a day in the Klamath Basin seeing and learning about hawks, eagles,falcons, and any other birds that happen in to our binoculars.
Co-supervisors: Dr. Karen Hodges, University of British Columbia Okanagan, and Dr. Christine Bishop, Environment Canada.
Collaborators: Dr. Keith Hobson, Environment Canada, Klamath Bird Observatory, San Pancho Bird Observatory, Tierra de Aves A.C., MX
Many riparian birds in Canada occur at the northern edge of their range. There is little understanding of the overwintering locations, return rates, and survivorship of these birds relative to those in the core of their range. This research will primarily examine the range-wide patterns in overwintering locations and the factors that influence migration trends in riparian birds that nest in the dry interior of British Columbia (BC) and in Northern California.
This PhD position is designed as a comparative study of populations of two focal species, Gray Catbird, and Yellow-breasted Chat (endangered in BC). The student will use geolocator data, stable isotopes, corticosterone, and mercury analyses in collaboration with Mexican partners to identify overwintering locations, travel corridors, and stressors affecting these populations.
Preferred Qualifications: We are seeking a student with an MSc in ecology, biology, conservation, or related disciplines. We will look favorably on research experience with birds, including practical skills in bird banding and handling and identification. The successful applicant will have strong grades, likely with peer-reviewed journal publications, and GIS and statistical skills. We expect the successful applicant will also apply for graduate fellowships.
We ask all interested applicants to submit a cover letter, informal transcripts, and a CV to Dr. Hodges for initial screening (for full consideration, submit materials before December 15). Highly qualified candidates will be encouraged to apply formally to UBC Okanagan’s Biology Graduate Program for September 2016 admission; we strongly hope the student will be able to begin fieldwork in May 2016.
For questions about the position please contact:
Dr. Karen Hodges, email@example.com
For information about the Biology Graduate Program at UBC Okanagan:
The Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey is a multi-partner project, led by Point Blue Conservation Science; the survey depends on citizen science effort to help protect shorebirds and wetlands all the way from Canada to Mexico. This year Klamath Bird Observatory is assisting with the coordination of surveys at Coos Bay, Oregon.
Time Commitment: ~1-2 days:
1. Review: Learn the protocol and training techniques
2. Scouting: Become familiar with your site; make sure you know the access points and how long it will take to cover the area.
3. Survey: One survey on January 13th, 2016 from 9:00am-11:00pm
4.Data Entry: Surveyors will enter their data online into the California Avian Data Center.
The best candidates for the project will:
1. Be confident with their shorebird identification
2. Have their own binoculars and scope (some scopes are available to borrow if needed) and possess reliable transportation
3. Be physically able to walk long-distances carrying a scope and tripod in muddy and often inclement conditions
4. Be willing to follow a protocol to count birds
5. Be comfortable entering data online into California Avian Data Center
6. Have a passion for and dedication to shorebird conservation
If you missed your first opportunity or would like a chance to see it again, this week Immense Possibilities will be rebroadcasting the episode For the Birds featuring Klamath Bird Observatory’s Executive Director John Alexander and Science Director Jaime Stephens.
Watch this episode:
Friday November 20th, 2015 at 8:30pm Pacific Time on SOPTV or streaming at the IP Homepage,
Saturday November 21st, 2015 at 8:30am Pacific Time on OPB Plus or,
Saturday November 21st, 2015 at 4:00pm on KIXE-TV.