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NEWS RELEASE: KBO Data Supports The Common Nighthawk Migratory Connectivity Project

KBO Science Director Jaime Stephens attaches a GPS transmitter to a Common Nighthawk

In order for Klamath Bird Observatory’s work to inform effective conservation actions for migratory birds, we need to understand when and where in their annual cycle they are facing threats. We know that protecting and restoring healthy habitats where birds breed is important, but for many species, it is not enough.

In a new collaborative study in Ecography, Migratory Connectivity Project researchers sought to identify pinch points in Common Nighthawk migratory connectivity across the species’ annual cycle. This approach can inform single species conservation, but may also be telling for broader conservation efforts.

Three Common Nighthawks tagged by KBO’s field team transmitted data that contributed to the research findings. Watch the video below to see an animation of the migration routes of these and other nighthawks included in the study. Birds tagged by KBO originate as a greenish-colored data point in southern Oregon, then travel to South America and back.

Video by 422 South. Source: YouTube (

Lead author Elly Knight emphasized that collaboration was crucial to the research. Oregon’s nighthawk population is one of the only populations in North America that appears to be increasing, and the research team needed a partner that was already working in the area. KBO answered the call. In a recent Partners in Flight news article, Elly stated, “Thanks to KBO, we’re now starting to quantitatively test potential causes of varying population trends… in breeding ground demographics. We look forward to sharing those results when they’re available” (from

KBO Science Director Jaime Stephens was excited to partner on this critically important research. Thanks to KBO’s existing, robust bird monitoring programs, Stephens’ team was well positioned to implement a relatively small field effort in the Upper Klamath Basin of Oregon. In addition, “field crews enjoyed being able to do something extra, even though it meant late nights instead of early mornings!” said Stephens.

Click image to enlarge. Credit: Jamie Kaplan

Read the full research article in Ecography here.