Author: KBO

KBO is Seeking a Jackson County High School Student for a Unique Paid Internship

Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) is excited to offer a new paid internship this summer: The Watchable Wildlife Foundation Science Communication Student Internship. This is the first internship of its kind to be offered by KBO, made possible through a generous grant from the Watchable Wildlife Foundation. The intern will gain firsthand experience in conservation careers, observe and document KBO field activities, and contribute to community science and education that support bird and habitat conservation. This internship will provide an extraordinary experience as the intern explores various careers in conservation and outdoor work and begins to build a professional network that can help them find education and job opportunities in the future.

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KBO Special Webinar: Learn to Animate Snoopy with former PEANUTS Director Larry Leichliter

Monday, May 10th
6-7:30pm via Zoom

Klamath Bird Observatory is proud to present this special webinar with KBO Board Member, former PEANUTS director, and accomplished animator Larry Leichliter. During Larry’s live-action tutorial, you can try your hand at creating a simple animation of Snoopy, the lovable canine character from the PEANUTS cartoon, and his feathered pal Woodstock. The tutorial will be followed by live Q & A. We recommend that you have several sheets of your favorite paper and a pencil, pen, or other drawing instrument handy.

Tickets are available for a donation in the amount of your choosing. Suggested Donation: $10.00.

Click Here to Register

About Larry

Larry Leichliter board member bio (72ppi 4x)Larry’s first job in animation was working on Scooby Doo at Hanna Barbera. From there, he eventually went to Ralph Bakshi’s studio where he worked on two films before moving on to Bill Melendez Productions Inc. – creators, together with Charles M. Schulz, of the PEANUTS cartoons for TV.

The first show Larry worked on was the 1974 special, Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. Larry spent over 20 years working with the Melendez “family,” starting as an assistant animator and eventually becoming an animator, then a director. He directed and co-directed many of the PEANUTS specials including Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales and I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown.

In 1996, Larry went to work as the director of Nickelodeon’s Hey, Arnold. He also directed episodes of Fairly Odd Parents, Chalk Zone, SpongeBob SquarePants, and The Mighty B while at Nick. At Cartoon Network, he directed Time Squad and was supervising director of Adventure Time, for which he received four Emmy nominations and won a BAFTA award (British Academy of Film & TV). In 2015, he won an Emmy for his work on Over the Garden Wall, a miniseries.

Prior to his move to Ashland in 2015, Larry spent three years directing Disney’s Sofia the First, a 3D computer-animated TV series.

Larry studied film and animation at UC Berkeley and University of California Los Angeles.

KBO Community Education: “Learning the Language of Birds” Virtually, and Birding at North Mountain Park with Shannon Rio

Learning the Language of Birds
Monday, April 26th
6-7:30pm via Zoom

Spring has arrived and it’s a great time to deepen your connection with the world of birds as they nest, feed, migrate, and fill the air with sounds. Have you noticed that we often hear birds before we see them (if we see them at all)? On April 26, 2021, Shannon Rio will present a virtual talk, “Learning the Language of Birds.” In this interactive talk, Shannon will share inspiring images as you listen to bird sounds and practice identifying birds by sound, hear the differences between songs and calls, and explore the reasons birds use these different sounds. No prior experience or knowledge is necessary. Please bring along your love of birds, and willingness to learn and have fun!

Click here to register


North Mountain Park Bird Walk
Saturday, May 1st

North Mountain Park
620 N Mountain Ave, Ashland, OR 97520

KBO is excited to once again offer in-person community education! Look and listen for birds in one of Shannon’s favorite local places for birdwatching: North Mountain Park. Space for this bird walk is limited to 10 individuals, and Oregon Covid-19 guidelines will be observed. Please bring an appropriate face covering with you. Please read “Public health guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority for responsible outdoor recreation” on the City of Ashland’s website here before registering. Meet at the North Mountain Park Nature Center at 8:00am sharp.

Click here to register



“Let’s come together in the spirit of community, supporting conservation, and caring for and connecting with our beautiful natural world.” – Shannon Rio

Shannon Rio is president of Klamath Bird Observatory’s Board of Directors. She believes in protecting birds and wild places, and that sharing the love of birds connects us to them and to one anoth

Bear Creek Community Bird Survey

In September of 2020, multiple fires impacted much of the riparian (riverside) habitat along the Bear Creek Greenway in Jackson County, Oregon. The Bear Creek Greenway is a 20-mile paved path that runs through a large swath of riparian habitat in an otherwise mostly urban part of the Rogue Valley. It is an important resource for both human recreation and wildlife habitat. Riparian vegetation provides critical habitat for many bird species that rely on deciduous plants and nearby water to breed, survive the winter, or rest and refuel during migration.

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NEWS RELEASE: Paper by Halstead et al. is the recipient of 2021 IALE-NA Outstanding Paper in Landscape Ecology Award

Landscape ecologists recognize paper that opens up a new window to insights about the impacts of fragmentations

Media contact: Yolanda Wiersma,, 709-864-7499

A view of the typical landscape heterogeneity of the Rogue Basin, Oregon. Within this image are patches of diverse bird habitats, composed of oak woodlands and savannahs, oak chaparral shrub-lands, conifer and mixed-oak conifer forests and riparian areas. Credit: Kate Halstead.

The North American Chapter of the International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE-NA) has selected a paper by Katherine (Kate) Halstead and colleagues, published in the journal Landscape Ecology, as the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Paper in Landscape Ecology Award. The Award will be given at the IALE-NA annual meeting, which is to be held virtually in April 2021. Members of IALE-NA are encouraged to nominate candidate papers on the topic of landscape ecology (published in any journal) and an Awards committee selects the winner. Halstead et al.’s paper (“Using a species-centered approach to predict bird community responses to habitat fragmentation”) tests hypotheses about the relative influence of habitat amount, configuration and focal patch size on Oregon bird communities. The nominator for the award recognized the paper as outstanding for several reasons, one of which is the fact that it grapples with one of “the most salient and fundamental questions in landscape ecology and conservation science: the relative importance of habitat loss vs. fragmentation on species richness”. The work was carried out in the Rouge Basin watershed of the Klamath Mountains Ecoregion, and the nominator noted that the author’s “methodology is rigorous, innovative and powerful”.

Lead author Kate Halstead

Halstead is a MS alumna of the Betts Forest Landscape Ecology Lab at Oregon State University, led by Dr. Matt Betts. Three co-authors are in the same research group, including the PI, Dr. Betts. Halstead is currently a Research Biologist with the Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) in Ashland, Oregon, along with two other co-authors.

After joining the Betts Lab in 2011, Kate became intrigued by the idea of using large datasets of bird observations in concert with cutting-edge modeling techniques and unclassified land cover to examine lingering questions in the field of landscape ecology. Regarding the resulting paper, she noted: “While complex, our species-centered methodology may provide a more accurate picture of the relationship of habitat composition and configuration with species richness. The power of our methods lies in their embrace of the complexity inherent in natural systems, providing insight into theoretical and applied questions alike in a way that is not possible using more traditional approaches.”

Matt Betts noted: “It is a tremendous honor for Kate’s paper to have been nominated, and selected for this award. Our hope is that the methods used in the paper can help the field of landscape ecology move toward a better understanding of fragmentation effects and community assembly, and ultimately more informed conservation decision making.”

John Alexander, KBO Executive Director, added: “This paper exemplifies the power of partnerships. The Betts Lab—KBO collaboration empowered Kate to use decades of bird monitoring data to fuel her state-of-the-art modeling approach and generate research outcomes that have profound potential to help address North America’s pervasive bird population declines. Now, Kate is working with natural resource managers to address the issues of habitat fragmentation and identify conservation opportunities in both eastern and western forests.”

To learn more about the award-winning paper, read KBO’s Science Brief here.

For more information about the Betts Forest Landscape Ecology Lab, please visit

For more information about IALE-NA awards, please visit

Full Citation:
Halstead KE, Alexander JD, Hadley AS, Stephens JL, Yang ZQ, Betts MG (2019) Using a species-centered approach to predict bird community responses to habitat fragmentation. Landscape Ecology 34(8):1919-1935


The North American Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology fosters landscape ecology research and practice. Details about the North American Chapter, and the International Association for Landscape Ecology, may be found at and

Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) is a non-profit organization that advances bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. Working in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the ranges of migratory birds KBO emphasizes high-caliber science and the role of birds as indicators to inform and improve natural resource management. KBO also nurtures an environmental ethic through community outreach and education.

KBO Motus Projects Featured in BirdWatching Magazine

A recent article in BirdWatching Magazine by Oregonian Marina Richie features high-tech bird tracking projects, including KBO partnership projects that track Vesper Sparrows and Lewis’s Woodpeckers with Motus technology. Motus is a collaborative tracking network that uses automated radio telemetry and a centralized database to connect researchers across the western hemisphere who are tracking birds and other wildlife. Currently, most Motus towers are clustered in the northeastern United States, but the network is expanding. In Richie’s article, KBO Science Director Jaime Stephens said, “we are ramping [Motus] up in the West, and there is a lot of momentum.”

Please subscribe to Klamath Call Note to be the first to see upcoming news about KBO and partners’ Motus projects at Vesper Meadow and Rogue River Preserve.

Read the online version of Richie’s article here.

Learn more about Motus here.

Science Communication Student Internship

Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) is seeking a Jackson County high school student from the graduating class of 2021 or 2022 for a unique paid internship opportunity. Through the Watchable Wildlife Foundation Science Communication Student Internship, the intern will gain firsthand experience in conservation careers, observe and document KBO field activities, and contribute to community science and education that support bird and habitat conservation.

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SCIENCE BRIEF: Study of sagebrush bird communities yields valuable tools for setting habitat restoration objectives and measuring restoration effectiveness

Camas National Wildlife Refuge (c) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Camas National Wildlife Refuge protects over 4300 hectares of land in the high desert of eastern Idaho. Throughout the year, migratory and resident birds and other wildlife use the Refuge’s grasslands, wetlands, wet meadows, and sagebrush-steppe habitats. People visit the Refuge to watch wildlife, hunt, hike, and ski. In parts of the Refuge, native sagebrush plant communities are being overtaken by non-native Crested Wheatgrass, an invasive species that is degrading the imperiled sagebrush-steppe ecosystems that span the North American Great Basin. More than 350 wildlife species of conservation concern, including species identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as Birds of Conservation Concern (BCC), are associated with this ecosystem. Therefore, restoring and protecting sagebrush habitats has become a national priority and is a priority for the Camas National Wildlife Refuge and other refuges in the Great Basin. Determining how to invest limited resources to best achieve this and other refuge goals, which include conserving species of concern, can be a challenge for Refuge staffs as well as and other interested conservation partners.

To help overcome this challenge, USFWS and Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) collaborated to use bird monitoring data collected on the Refuge, which are stored in the centralized Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) database, and an associated decision support tool (DST) for a collaborative research project designed to inform sagebrush habitat management planning. This study was recently published in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. In the paper, the research team set quantifiable, numerical restoration targets for sagebrush habitats and predicted future bird community response to restoration treatments. The study illustrates how datasets stored and accessible in AKN as well as DSTs allow scientists to help land management agencies maximize conservation investments through monitoring, data sharing, and management-relevant research that informs their conservation planning and implementation.

In this study, researchers first used bird abundance data collected at the Refuge from 2012 to 2016 to characterize bird communities in three sagebrush-steppe habitat types that are being degraded by Crested Wheatgrass invasion. The research results identified specific birds as indicator species for the habitats studied at the Refuge. For example, two species of concern, Sage Thrasher and Sagebrush Sparrow, are indicators of sagebrush with native grass understory. In contrast, Mourning Dove preferred sagebrush with non-native understory and Grasshopper Sparrow abundance was associated with Crested Wheatgrass-dominated habitats.

Results from this study identified bird species that serve as indicators of both native and non-native sagebrush-steppe habitat characteristics. For example, Sage Thrasher and Sagebrush Sparrow, both identified as bird species of conservation concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, show a strong preference for sagebrush habitats with native grass dominating the understory (Habitat Type ‘S’) as compared to sagebrush with a non-native grass understory (‘SC’) or Crested Wheatgrass dominated habitats (‘CR’). Therefore, these species can serve as ecological indicators of this important and threatened native sagebrush-steppe habitat characteristic that the Camas National Wildlife Refuge is working to protect and restore. (Photos (c) James Livaudais)

Next, the researchers used an interactive DST called Habitats and Populations Scenarios (HABPOPS) to explore potential population responses based on various restoration and management scenarios. According to Jaime Stephens, KBO Science Director and co-author on the paper, integrating monitoring results with the HABPOPS tool allowed the research team to set specific, measurable restoration targets using bird densities. Ms. Stephens said, “this information will help the Camas National Wildlife Refuge to guide their restoration design and evaluate their management outcomes.” The paper demonstrates how managers and conservationists can use bird-habitat associations and DSTs like the HABPOPS tool to design and evaluate ecosystem conservation actions at sites and across landscapes. Dr. John Alexander, KBO Executive Director and co-author on the paper, further suggests that this multi-species approach adds a novel and robust alternative to single-species management approaches traditionally used for conservation design and monitoring.

In the recently published paper, the research team demonstrates how Refuge data that identifies suites of indicators and the HABPOPS tool are used to meet conservation design objectives that have been prioritized for large-scale, multi-partner efforts to restore and protect sagebrush-steppe habitats in the United States. Land managers can use this approach to consider cost-benefit tradeoffs associated with their conservation efforts. Results suggested that restoration of Crested Wheatgrass near-monocultures back to sagebrush will improve habitat value for much of the bird community whether or not the understory can be converted to primarily native grasses, or a mix of natives and non-natives. But, select species will likely benefit most from full restoration of a native herbaceous understory. That being said, grassland-obligate birds like Horned Lark and Grasshopper Sparrow were most abundant at crested wheatgrass-dominated sites and may not benefit from full-scale restoration back to shrubland; So, managers should understand potential trade-offs.

“This study of Service data by Klamath Bird Observatory helps everyone better understand pressing conservation issues at National Wildlife Refuges and other sagebrush-steppe ecosystems,” said Brian Wehausen, refuge manager at Camas NWR. “This study can help guide restoration actions and maximize the benefits from conservation efforts, including the eradication of invasive grasses while also achieving increased benefits for birds of conservation concern. The information aids the development of priorities through science-informed conservation design, restoration implementation, and ecological monitoring.”

To request a PDF of the journal article, contact:
Sarah Rockwell, Research Biologist, Klamath Bird Observatory, 541‐201-0866 ext.6#,

Recommended Citation (Online Early):
Rockwell SM, Wehausen B, Johnson PR, Kristof A, Stephens JL, Alexander JD, Barnett JK. 2020. Sagebrush bird communities differ with varying levels of Crested Wheatgrass invasion. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management X(X):xx-xx; e1944-687X.

The work in the referenced article was supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but the findings and conclusions are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

NEWS RELEASE: Klamath Bird Observatory Receives Bureau of Land Management Conservation Partner Award

CONTACT: Jaime Stephens, Science Director, Klamath Bird Observatory, 541‐944-2890,

Partnerships and collaboration are essential to KBO’s work. Here, partners meet in oak habitat in Southwest Oregon. (c) Jaime Stephens

Medford, ORE. – The Bureau of Land Management is excited to announce that the Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) has been selected to receive the BLM’s national Conservation Partner Award. KBO has partnered with the BLM Medford District for more than 20 years and has been instrumental in applying avian science to inform public lands management and conservation.

Each year the BLM Division of Wildlife Conservation, Aquatics, and Environmental Protection recognizes outstanding natural resource professionals, projects, and partnerships for achievements in fish and wildlife conservation on our public lands. The Conservation Partner Award is presented annually to an external organization or individual representing a conservation organization for their outstanding partnership in the development and implementation of conservation programs and activities that have directly benefited fish, wildlife, and/or native plants on public lands or their use, enjoyment, and appreciation.

“Public lands management requires collaboration and science-based strategies to address pressing natural resource issues,” said Elizabeth Burghard, District Manager for the BLM Medford District. “I’m honored to celebrate the work of the Klamath Bird Observatory in advancing bird conservation on public lands.”

KBO has been banding birds and training banding interns for more than 20 years across the BLM Medford District. (c) Julia Rodrigues

The Klamath Bird Observatory has been banding birds for more than 20 years across the Medford District, analyzing monitoring data to describe the role of birds as indicators to inform and improve natural resource management actions. In 2020, KBO worked with ecologists at Cascade Siskiyou National Monument to develop bird banding stations that will provide valuable information on bird population trends. With support from the BLM National Conservation Lands Management Studies Support Program, KBO monitors at-risk Oregon Vesper Sparrows across their range to assess the factors limiting their population size and inform conservation action. In addition, KBO has played a key role in coordinating efforts to develop science-based strategies to improve oak habitat in Southwest Oregon, including the development of a Strategic Conservation Action Plan that serves as a roadmap that identifies unique threats and conservation strategies.

“The model of working with partners to develop and implement KBO’s science priorities, and then have results applied to decision making and on the ground management, is critical to achieving our mission of advancing bird and habitat conservation,” said Jamie Stephens, Science Director at KBO. “To that regard, we appreciate our long-standing partnership with the BLM.”

The Conservation Partner Award was presented to KBO at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, held virtually on March 10.


The Bureau of Land Management manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 11 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2020—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.

The Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) is a non-profit organization that advances bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships. Working in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the ranges of migratory birds KBO emphasizes high-caliber science and the role of birds as indicators to inform and improve natural resource management. KBO also nurtures an environmental ethic through community outreach and education.

This article was written by Kyle Sullivan, Public Affairs Specialist, Bureau of Land Management Medford District Office and Klamath Bird Observatory.

NEWS RELEASE: New Streamside Restoration Guide for Private Landowners Available for Download

CONTACT: Sarah Rockwell, Research Biologist, Klamath Bird Observatory
541-201-0866 ext. 6#,

Healthy Riparian Habitat. Credit: Rachel Werling

Riparian habitats are the interface between land and water. They include the vegetation – flowers, grass, shrubs, and trees – that occurs at the edge of bodies of water such as rivers and streams. In western Oregon alone, over 350 species of vertebrates regularly use riparian areas, making them one of the most wildlife-rich habitats in our region. These areas provide critical fish and wildlife habitat as well as ecosystem services, including natural flood buffers, water quality improvements, groundwater recharge, temperature moderation, and nutrient cycling. Unfortunately, many of our historical riparian habitats have been lost or degraded due to human impacts, such as flood control and development. An exciting opportunity exists for landowners and conservation partners to work together to restore native riparian ecosystems and their diverse wildlife communities.

Restoring Riparian Habitats in Southern Oregon and Northern California: A Guide for Private Landowners

Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) and Lomakatsi Restoration Project (Lomakatsi), with support from six other local partner organizations, have released a new guide for streamside landowners interested in implementing restoration projects to improve wildlife habitat and stream health. Restoring Riparian Habitats in Southern Oregon and Northern California: A Guide for Private Landowners includes information on birds and wildlife that use riparian habitats, detailed restoration guidelines, and who to contact for technical or financial help when initiating a project. In addition, the guide shows how to identify common riparian birds and use them to monitor restoration progress, and contains a visual guide to common native and non-native streamside plant species.

KBO Research Biologist and co-author Dr. Sarah Rockwell has studied bird response to riparian restoration at several sites in southern Oregon and northern California. She describes the new guide as being unique because it focuses on birds as a way to connect with streamside landowners and generate interest in habitat restoration. “Birds are beautiful and engaging creatures that are fun to watch. They are also useful as indicators of specific aspects of healthy riparian vegetation that are important for other wildlife – including fish – and overall stream health,” says Rockwell. She hopes the guide will get people excited about the birds and wildlife that use their riparian properties, help them understand the habitat needs of those species, and inspire them to take action.

Lomakatsi’s Riparian Restoration Manager and guide co-author Niki Del Pizzo has been leading streamside habitat restoration projects in and around the Rogue Basin for 15 years. She looks forward to sharing lessons learned with the community, and inspiring people to play a more active role in stewarding these important natural areas. “The way we care for the land along rivers and creeks has a big impact on the health of fish, birds and other wildlife,” says Del Pizzo. “This guide has many tips and best practices to help you make your streamside land, or land you help steward, thriving and resilient.”

Are you interested in learning more about streamside habitat or starting a riparian restoration project on your land? View or download the guide here.

This project was completed with support from the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District and Rogue Basin Partnership.


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PO Box 758
Ashland, Oregon 97520


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