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Author: Elva Manquera

2024 Banding Internship

Klamath Bird Observatory seeks highly motivated individuals to participate in our long-term landbird monitoring program. This position requires independent drive and patience for the travails of fieldwork but also affords an amazing opportunity to build practical experience in field biology and master a variety of bird monitoring and research skills in a beautiful part of the country.

Our bander training program blends an intensive field internship with coursework designed in accordance with North American Banding Council (NABC) standards to prepare participants for successful careers as field ornithologists. Training and duties will include mist netting and banding of passerines and near passerines; bird surveying; data quality assurance, entry, and management; and participation in public outreach and education. Non-field duties include study and discussion of banding curriculum, equipment maintenance, field station upkeep, and data entry. Accommodation is provided in shared rooms in a rustic cabin on the Upper Klamath Lake, which has potable running water, a full kitchen, internet access, a wood stove, electric space heaters, and an external bath house. Hiking and birding opportunities abound nearby, with access to bikes and kayaks. Weekly visits to remote sites will require multi-night camping trips and brief strenuous hiking carrying heavy banding equipment.

QUALIFICATIONS: Successful candidates will demonstrate a strong interest in birds and field biology, possess a positive attitude during long days and occasionally adverse conditions (heat, cold, mosquitoes, smoke), work cooperatively and constructively toward project objectives, give priority to safety considerations, make common sense decisions about wildlife (bears, cougars, snakes), and be able to work and live harmoniously in close company with coworkers. To preserve the quality and consistency of our long-term dataset, interns must also be able to precisely follow protocols and take meticulous care in collecting and recording data. Excellent communication skills are critical. Interns are required to possess a valid Driver’s License and clean driving record to use provided field vehicles for project-related travel. Preferred qualifications include outdoor skills, bird identification skills, bird handling, and banding experience. This position requires early mornings (pre-dawn), weekends, and the ability to follow a work schedule that is dependent on the changing weather and unpredictable field conditions.

Compensation: Stipend of $1000/month and accommodation
Duration: May 1st 2024 to October 31st 2024
Project Location: Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Ongoing until the position has been filled.

KBO_Banding Intern Announcement_2024

Tomorrow International Partnership Potluck

Join us for a delightful evening with KBO and Mantiqueira Bird Observatory (OAMa) at a potluck on November 30th from 4 to 7 pm. Discover the incredible work OAMa is accomplishing in Brazil for bird conservation as founder Luiza Figueira shares the importance of international partnerships. Engage in lively conversations with KBO staff and board members, and be the first to learn about the exciting 2023 fundraising trip to Brazil and the plans for 2024.

And there’s more! Look forward to a special guest appearance by the neighborhood screech-owl. This is a free, in-person event located at 114 Granite St., Ashland, OR. Come savor delicious food, make new friends, and immerse yourself in captivating stories. We can’t wait to share this enriching experience with you!


4 pm: Meet the neighborhood screech owl, plus enjoy refreshments and food

5 pm: Presentation by Luiza and stories from Brazil

6 pm: Conversation, refreshments and food

Cover Photo: Screech-owl by Frank Lospalluto

Registration is recommended but not required.

2024 Point Count Technician

Job Description

Klamath Bird Observatory is seeking seasonal field technicians for the 2024 breeding season to complete avian point count surveys from April 29th through July 19th throughout the ecologically diverse and beautiful regions of southern Oregon, eastern Oregon, and/or northern California. Technicians will conduct work related to multiple projects, including monitoring the effects of oak and conifer forest restoration on species distributions and long-term monitoring on both private and public lands. Surveyors will work in northeastern Oregon conifer forests, eastern Oregon sagebrush habitat, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and/or Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Applicants should be able to identify a wide variety of western bird species as they may be working in a range of habitats, including coniferous forests, mixed chaparral and oak woodlands, and shrub-steppe. Primary responsibilities will include conducting multispecies avian point count surveys and vegetation sampling along off-road transects following standard protocols, and associated data entry. Other tasks may be assigned if time permits. Field training on protocol methodology and distance estimation will be provided at the onset of the season. Camping independently, often at undeveloped or dispersed sites, will be required for most work. A small number of sites may also require overnight backcountry camping. Experience and comfort with backpacking to sites will be discussed and agreed upon prior to the field season and is not required for every position. Several field vehicles are available for use, but surveyors may need to use a personal vehicle to travel to work sites. If technicians are required to drive their personal vehicle, mileage reimbursement will be provided.


Well-qualified applicants should have at least one full season of avian point count field experience. Applicants should have a full range of hearing, be in excellent physical condition, and be comfortable working and camping independently. Required qualifications include the ability to identify western birds by sight and sound, hike in steep and rugged off-trail conditions, follow standardized field protocols, collect and record meticulous data, communicate with coworkers effectively, work independently in remote forested areas, work in inclement weather conditions, and tolerate working in areas containing poison oak. Surveyors must possess good map reading, GPS, and orienteering skills and be eager to work long days in the field. Applicants must have a valid driver’s license, a clean driving record, and insurance.


$1528/bi-weekly, plus reimbursement for mileage at the federal rate if required to drive a personal vehicle. An additional completion bonus of $1000 will be provided at the end of the field season.

To Apply

Send a cover letter (including dates of availability and vehicle type), resume, and contact information for three references in a single PDF document to Tom McLaren (
Hiring will be ongoing until all positions have been filled. It is Klamath Bird Observatory’s policy to provide a work environment free from unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age, expunged juvenile record, performance of duty in a uniformed service, physical or mental disability, or any other characteristic protected by local law, regulation, or ordinance. Additional employment opportunities and information about Klamath Bird Observatory can be found at:

Photo Barn Swallow by Frank Lospalluto. 

This Giving Tuesday

As the seasons shift and daylight wanes, we are excited to share with you some of the extraordinary work Klamath Bird Observatory has been involved in this past year throughout the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion and beyond! We also write to ask for your continued support — birds link us together across borders as we all share delight in their beauty and concern for their decline. With help from our supporters, KBO will continue building unique partnerships that strengthen our ability to advance bird and habitat conservation and address our collective concerns.

KBO staff work hard to understand what birds tell us about the natural world, and we use this knowledge to foster healthier habitats and a more sustainable future. For example, the Klamath-Siskiyou Oak Network (KSON) is a regional collaboration working to conserve oak habitats that serve as a vital resource for bird populations. Under KBO’s leadership, KSON’s Upper Rogue Oak Initiative is bringing together over 15 partners to restore over 3,000 acres of private and public lands. Working with partners strengthens our work on behalf of birds, and in-turn, our collaborative restoration work is also focused on ensuring greater water and fire security for our surrounding communities.

This year, we welcomed our first intern through KBO’s Birds and Banders Beyond Borders exchange program with Mantiquiera Bird Observatory in Brazil. Otavio, a young professional, spent six months with KBO, receiving his trainer certification and getting him many steps closer to starting a bird observatory in Brazil. Your donations have helped make this possible.

Your generous donations have contributed to bringing these new projects to fruition. Together, we are fostering positive change for birds, ecosystems, and people across the Western Hemisphere. Your continued support ensures progress in our shared efforts to protect birds and their habitats. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your donation to the Klamath Bird Observatory.

Support bird and habitat conservation today

Brazil Trip Dinner Party

Join us on November 30th from 4-7 pm for a dinner party potluck-style with the past attendees of the fundraising Brazil trip at a home in Ashland, OR. They are eager to share their personal stories and photos. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the upcoming August 20th-29, 2024 trip. This is a free potluck-style dinner with food provided by past trip attendees.

You can learn more about the Trip to Brazil here. 





An evening chat with the KBO Banding Team

The 2023 banding season is over, and our staff have had time to breathe. Meet our new Banding Program Manager, Lucinda, and Martin, Lead Bander, to learn about KBO’s international banding program and internships. Plus, we will have some surprise intern Zoom pop-ins who will tell us their stories. Come learn about why bird banding is such an important tool for bird conservation and the amazing people who do this work.

Where: KBO Office in Ashland, Zoom option

When: November 16th, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Cost: Free

Brazil Trip Dinner Party

Join us on November 30th from 4-7 pm for a dinner party potluck-style with the past attendees of the fundraising Brazil trip at a home in Ashland, OR. They are eager to share their personal stories and photos. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the upcoming trip on August 20th-29, 2024. This is a potluck-style dinner with food provided by past trip attendees.

Exposure to the beauty of the land of Brazil along with contributing to conservation made this a trip of a lifetime. Each Brazilian person we met was an inspiration in terms of their commitment to birding and protection of birds and landscape. – Shannon Rio

Purple Martin Banding Efforts

by Sam Webb

Sarah Rockwell checking nest boxes with the box remover tool (c) Sam Webb

This spring marked the 4th year of our Purple Martin project. Klamath Bird Observatory has partnered with USFS and USGS to learn more about the western subspecies of Purple Martin. Our goal this year was to place GPS tags on 8 adult Purple Martins in order to track their migration routes and learn more about where they spend the winter.

Prior to banding, our crew boated out to check the nest boxes at the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Fern Ridge Reservoir to determine which were being used by Purple Martins. We checked each box for nesting activity so that we knew which ones were the most likely to have an adult Purple Martin roosting in it for the night.

Purple Martins naturally nest in cavities or old nest holes in snags or dying trees originally created by woodpeckers. Nesting locations become limited when snags are removed, or other bird species outcompete for nesting areas. The nest poles and boxes at Fern Ridge were made by USACE to provide Purple Martins with structures to roost and build their nests in. Designed to be removed with a unique tool, these nest boxes allow us to carefully bring them down, check for eggs or chicks, and catch adults.

While we were out checking nest boxes in the daytime, we took the opportunity to band any chicks that were old enough with a red band that had three easy-to-read numbers and an aluminum federal band. This will allow us to resight those individuals next year and learn more about the return rate of young Purple Martins or learn where else they might return to for their first breeding season.

Collaborator Joan Hagar of USGS banding a Purple Martin nestling (c) Sam Webb

After determining which nest boxes were likely to have adult Purple Martins roosting in them that night, we returned at dusk to try to catch and band the adults. We did this by floating quietly up to the poles and standing in the bow platform to quickly block as many cavity entrances as we could reach without the adults escaping. Once we caught an adult, we carefully took it out of the box and banded it using an aluminum federal band and the 3-numbered red band. We took additional measurements, looking at the health and size of the adult before choosing an appropriately sized GPS tag.

Sarah Rockwell and Sam Webb banding adult Purple Martin (c) Daniel Farrar

We fitted the GPS tag on the adult by slipping one loop of a harness made of stretchy jewelry cord around each of its legs and placing the tag on its back, similar to wearing a backpack. After the adult was banded and received its GPS tag, we double-checked the harness fit, carefully placed the martin back in its nest box, and set it back into position.

Adult male Purple Martin with its GPS tag (c) Sarah Rockwell

The following day, we paddled out once more to resight the adults that we banded the previous night. We spent time at each nest box to confirm that the adults still had their tags from the previous night and were comfortably delivering food to their young as usual.
These GPS tags that each Purple Martin received will take a location point every few days for up to the next year (depending on battery life) while the individual migrates to and from its wintering grounds. Due to its lightweight and compact size, the GPS tag is only able to collect location coordinates but not send them. Next year, we will return to find the adults with tags and catch them to retrieve the tags and data. Little is known about the migration route of the west coast population of Purple Martins or where they spend the winter. These data are critical for understanding their complete life cycle and for informing conservation efforts across their entire range. To read more about our first returnee and where she went, click here!


Our 2023 field efforts were supported by the Greenfield Hartline Habitat Conservation Fund and the Purple Martin Conservation Association.

Raptor Viewing in the Klamath Basin (Rescheduled)

November (December) can be a great time of year to enjoy raptor viewing in the picturesque Klamath Basin! Please join KBO board members Amanda Alford and Dick Ashford on Saturday, December 9th, for a fun, day-long hawk-watching outing to Butte Valley and the lower Klamath Basin. We’ll look for resident and early-wintering hawks, falcons, eagles, and harriers (and there are possibilities for an owl or two 😊). We’ll depart Ashland at 8 AM and return around 5ish. Limited to 14 attendees, $40 per person. This will allow us to carpool (a must!) in 4 vehicles. We’re looking forward to seeing you in the Field Of Wonder!

Instructor & Trip Leader

Dick Ashford bio cropped (72ppi 4x)Dick Ashford served on the KBO Board from 2005-2014, with two terms as Board President (2007-2009, 2010-2013). He also served on the board of the American Birding Association from 2007-2013 (Chair 2009-2010).

Dick describes himself as a continuing student of birds and birding. He gives raptor presentations to community groups in both Oregon and California and volunteers as a birding tour leader for several organizations. He especially enjoys leading hawk-watching trips to Oregon’s Klamath Basin and is the originator of the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival’s famous “Hawk Heaven” outings. He has taught a Hawk ID Workshop at the annual Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls for over 10 years.

Klamath Bird Observatory follows CDC guidelines. KBO events are being offered with COVID-19 safety as KBO’s primary concern. Proof of vaccination will be required for all in-person participants. All individuals attending an event must also fill out the Waiver of Liability form. Please do not attend the event if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Masks are not required but wear based on comfortability.

Registration: Klamath Basin with Dick Ashford

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To buy more than one spot please fill out the form for each person. Thank you.

End of Point Count Season Update

By Tom McLaren, Biologist Point Count Program

Each spring, KBO conducts a large-scale point count surveying effort to collect data on abundance, habitat use, and bird communities. Many species can only be surveyed during their breeding season when they establish territories and are easily detected by their unique songs. To take advantage of this, our point count surveys take place within a narrow window during the spring breeding season. With the help of a fantastic team of seasonal point count technicians, KBO completed another successful season of surveys this year.

This spring, our surveyors conducted a total of 2101 point counts over 214 survey days. Much of this work was related to long-term monitoring of avian populations and ecological restoration projects. These projects align with KBO’s goals to understand changes to bird communities and to provide conservation relevant science to resource managers.

Meadow Lark by Frank Lospalluto

Our long-term monitoring projects include partnerships with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service (NPS). Our partnership with the BLM includes ongoing surveys within the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon and large-scale monitoring of bird populations in eastern Oregon as a part of the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. With over 1,000 detections, Western Meadowlarks continue to be one of our most frequently observed species on our IMBCR surveys. Other notable species include Horned Lark, Sagebrush Sparrow, and Gray Flycatcher, each of which was detected several hundred times on our surveys.

Pinyon Jay by Eric Gropp

In partnership with the NPS, we also completed our 15th year of point count surveys in national parks of the Klamath-Siskiyou region. Our surveyors visited the Lava Beds National Monument and Redwoods National and State Parks in northern California. At Redwoods National and State Parks, our most commonly detected species were the Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Western Flycatcher) and the Pacific Wren. Notably, in Lava Beds National Monument, our surveyors had several Pinyon Jay detections. These birds, which are under federal review for listing under the Endangered Species Act, are known for foraging on the seeds of the eponymous pinyon pine and are currently suffering a dramatic population decline. The Pinyon jay’s decline is thought to be the result of a loss of suitable pinyon-juniper habitat.

Veery by Frank Lospalluto

This year, our restoration surveying work took our technicians across Oregon and into Northern California. One of our largest restoration projects in the Northern Blues Mountains included surveys across the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests of Northeastern Oregon in partnership with the United States Forest Service (USFS). Our surveyors also visited regions of Northern California, southern Oregon, and Portland to survey oak, riparian, and aspen restoration sites. Notably, this year marked the initiation of an oak restoration monitoring project as part of an ongoing partnership with the Upper Rogue Oak Initiative. This partnership is focused on restoring and maintaining healthy oak woodlands within the region. With more than 500 detections each, Western Tanagers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and American Robins were the most frequently seen species on our restoration projects. Our surveyors also had several exciting encounters with more uncommon species, including the American Three-toed Woodpecker, Northern Goshawk (American Goshawk), and Veery.

We’d like to give a big shout-out to our fantastic team of point count surveyors this year. They worked tirelessly to collect high-quality data about our bird communities while navigating life in the field. Our science team is happy to have another successful point count season on the books, and we are looking forward to learning more from the data we have collected.