Author: Debra Agnew

SCIENCE BRIEF: Research indicates that restoring urban riparian habitats benefits non-breeding birds

Healthy riparian habitat is vital for Neotropical migrant and resident birds. It supports high biodiversity, and it is increasingly rare across landscapes. The total area of riparian habitat in California and Oregon has declined significantly in recent years and so have its associated bird populations. Human activity and other disturbances contribute to the loss of this scarce and essential bird habitat. Scientists, conservation practitioners, and land managers are collaborating to restore key riparian areas to health, and to understand how bird responses to restoration efforts can indicate restoration success.

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SCIENCE BRIEF: A new modeling approach provides a birds-eye view of habitats, habitat fragmentation, and the effectiveness of conservation efforts

Anthropogenic habitat disturbance and alteration pose serious threats to the persistence and diversity of bird communities throughout the world. Current ecological research and conservation planning efforts largely focus on understanding the relative influence of habitat composition (e.g. how much) and habitat configuration (e.g. the spatial arrangement) on species occurrence across a landscape. Despite this intensive focus, there is little consensus regarding to what degree fragmentation affects biodiversity, either positively or negatively. Research methods used to assess the impacts of habitat fragmentation on species richness (the number of species in a given area) often rely on generalized, vegetation categories that are based on human-classified land-cover data. However, using such coarsely classified vegetation data as a proxy for actual habitat may be a problematic oversimplification leading to inconsistent results, especially when studying multiple species.

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Bird Observatory Holds Talk On Climate-Change Issues

The Mail Tribune recently posted an announcement concerning a workshop that the Klamath Bird Observatory will be hosting on October 19th and 20th. Meeting at this workshop will be climate change scientists, biologists, educators, and land managers from a variety of institutions. The workshop will be held at the Best Western Windsor Inn. The full announcement can be read here.

Klamath Bird Observatory Raising Funds And Fun

The Klamath Bird Observatory and its supporters will meet Sunday for the Wings and Wine Gala at Hanley Farm. The gala will raise money for the observatory, which collects data regarding local bird populations and, though that data, examines the health of the ecosystem. All of this makes a big difference to land managers, who can use the KBO’s data to understand how bird populations might be effected by their decisions. John Alexander, executive director of the KBO and CJ Ralph have received the Partners in Flight Leadership Award. For more on the Wings and Wine Gala and the Klamath Bird Observatory, check out the article on the Medford Examiner’s website.

Klamath Bird Observatory To Host Wings & Wine Gala

An alert for the Klamath Bird Observatory’s third annual Wings & Wine Gala on September 25th appeared on My Outdoor Buddy. The Gala is a chance to connect with other Birders and will include local dining, live music and an auction. Auction items will include art, birding tours, and binoculars amongst other items. The full announcement can be read here.

Bird Banding: Observatory Monitors Bird Populations

Banding birds is an important tool in tracking bird population and, in particular, determining why and how a particular species may be in decline. The Klamath Bird Observatory catches and bands between 50 and 60 distinct bird species during each monitoring season. Many of these are repeat catches, suggesting which areas are successful breeding grounds. John Alexander, KBO’s Executive Director, discussed the banding process and the importance of banding for an article in Klamath Fall’s Herald and News. Birds are a good indicator of habitat conditions, he says. The full article can be read on the Herald and News website, here.

Tour of Middle Eastern Conservation Professionals to Stop in Upper Klamath Basin

By Ashley Dayer, Klamath Bird Observatory, and Erica Hupp, Fremont-Winema National Forests

On June 5-7, 2009, a study tour of Middle Eastern conservation professionals will be visiting the Upper Klamath Basin to learn from Klamath Bird Observatory and Fremont-Winema National Forests’ model of collaboratively advancing bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships.

This is one of four site visits in the national tour to explore and discuss models for migratory bird conservation in the United States hosted by the U.S. Forest Service and their partners. Participants are from Egypt, Ethiopia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, West Bank and Kenya.

They will examine approaches for partnership development, capacity building of young biologists, conservation in urban areas and degraded landscapes and ecotourism opportunities. This stop of the two-week national tour will be focusing on how Klamath Bird Observatory implements monitoring, using various methods at multiple scales to inform land management decision-making.

John Alexander, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Executive Director, commented, “This is a great opportunity to celebrate our multi-agency partnerships in northern California and southern Oregon.  It demonstrates international recognition of our collaborative efforts and bioregional model of linking management with bird conservation.”

Klamath Bird Observatory was founded on a strong relationship with the US Forest Service, working closely with its Redwood Science Laboratory (Arcata, California) to coordinate the Klamath Bird Monitoring Network.  Klamath Bird Observatory also has maintained strong partnerships with regional forests, such as the Fremont-Winema National Forests and Klamath National Forest, to aid the forests in meeting land management challenges while addressing bird conservation objectives. Klamath Bird Observatory’s partnership with the Forest Service International Program continues to expand, including coordinating international capacity-building workshops in the Caribbean, hosting international interns from such locations as Ethiopia, and participating in strategic planning for international conservation efforts.

The Forest Service’s International Programs focus efforts on building the capacity of partners in bird monitoring and implementing conservation programs. The Forest Service actively collaborates with government and non-government partners across the Middle East, to address natural resource management challenges. As Forest Service-supported activities take root at the local level, this network of partners fosters the expansion and implementation of activities into multi-lateral initiatives across the Middle East. The Forest Service is focused on strengthening this network and building the capacity of non-governmental organizations, communities, and land managers to take part and engage in migratory bird conservation and environmental education activities.

During the past two years, the Forest Service has worked with partners to host Middle Eastern biologists in the U.S. and develop their capacity in mist netting, banding, surveying, data collection and interpretive outreach. This next phase brings partners together in an effort to build regional networks that share data and jointly address conservation issues across the region.

Klamath Bird Observatory advances bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. The observatory conducts scientific studies to monitor and inventory bird populations. Working in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and beyond, Klamath Bird Observatory provides information to help federal, state and local land managers better protect and enhance bird populations and their habitats. Klamath Bird Observatory also reaches out to local communities and schools, connecting people with science and conservation.  To learn more about Klamath Bird Observatory, visit or call (541) 201-0866.

Click here to access a PDF version of this press release.

Scientists: Livestock Damage Cascade-Siskiyou Monument

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management was presented Monday with a statement that cattle-grazing should be permanently suspended in on the 52,947 acre monument. A team of scientists had come to this conclusion after examining the effect that grazing had on biodiversity and on the health of the soil. Among other problems, cattle promote the incursion of noxious weeds, alters predator/prey relationships, and damages ryparian areas. KBO’s executive director, John Alexander monitored birds on the monument for the project. The full article can be read on the Medford Mail Tribune’s website.

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