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Tag: Ashland

Grasshopper Sparrows and Ashland’s Imperatrice Property discussed on Jefferson Exchange

Jefferson Public Radio recently broadcast a lively and informative discussion about the proposed solar panel farm installation at the City of Ashland’s Imperatrice Property—and the potential for the project to negatively impact the Grasshopper Sparrow population that nests there. Local author and ornithologist Pepper Trail, Ashland City Councilor Dennis Slattery, and Jefferson Exchange host Geoffrey Riley explored differing perspectives on the topic.

KBO, in partnership with Southern Oregon Land Conservancy and Rogue Valley Audubon Society, completed Grasshopper Sparrow surveys on the property in 2016 and those results help to inform the discussion. More information about Grasshopper Sparrows and the Imperatrice Property is available at the Rogue Valley Audubon Society website, including a link to KBO’s 2016 survey report.

CLICK HERE to listen to the Jefferson Exchange episode “Ashland Solar Panel Proposal Runs into Bird Interference”.

CLICK HERE to visit the Rogue Valley Audubon Society Grasshopper Sparrows and the Imperatrice Property website article.


Presented by Karl Schneck, KBO board member

Talk: October 18th Thursday 6:30-8:00pm at 320 Beach Street (old Lincoln School), Ashland, Oregon

Karl’s life-long passion for birds has guided the landscaping on his property in the foothills just outside Ashland, Oregon. In this talk, he will present the many ways a backyard can be made more attractive and useful for birds in our region. He will also introduce the feathered neighbors that now live on or have visited his backyard and who will be likely seen during the field trip.

In Karl’s words …
“With 117 species in just over three years, I feel especially grateful for the abundance of birds seen on our property two miles north of I-5 on N. Valley View Road. which consists of several habitats, including riparian, oak woodland, and grasslands. I’ve had quite a few days when I’ve traveled to see the birds and came home wondering why I didn’t just stay at home and see more species (of course, there are benefits to seeing new areas). However, when I get too old to tromp through the forests and swamps, there is comfort in knowing that I can sit on my deck and enjoy a multitude of birds.

We are still in the process of planting and improving our yard habitat for the birds. Watching the hummers feed from our penstemons is one example of adding features for the birds, as well as feeders, water, and shelter. Adding features for specific birds can be rewarding when your target bird shows up. Across the road, Bald Eagles come in to feed on the afterbirth of the cows. This year I had Barn Owl, American Kestrel, Acorn Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle (about a mile away), Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Western Kingbird, Oak Titmouse, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, California Towhee, and undoubtedly a number of others I didn’t know about, nesting on the property.

All these birds bring great joy to my life and make a great start to the day when I walk outside in the morning and take them all in. So, my goal for this class is to share my birds with you in a walk and a light lunch, hoping you will enjoy them as much as I do.”

Walk: October 20th Saturday 8:00am-12:00pm – meet at 320 Beach Street, Ashland, Oregon

This is a field trip to Karl’s property on the edge of Ashland—bring your binoculars! Lunch will be provided (included with registration fee) on Karl’s birdy patio where the birding adventure will continue.

Fee for this Talk and Walk class is $50 ($40 for holders of the Conservation Science Stamp Set) with proceeds going directly to support KBO’s science and education programs.

Contact Shannon Rio at or call 541-840-4655 to sign up.

Big News for World Migratory Bird Day!

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) in the Year of the Bird is May 12, 2018—a day to celebrate the amazing annual migrations of the birds who know no borders. The day is also for raising awareness of conservation challenges that these world travelers face and what we can do to help.

This WMBD (formerly known as International Migratory Bird Day) is a special one for Klamath Bird Observatory. We are part of a group being recognized for its collaborative achievements in migratory bird conservation. KBO will also be part of two local WMBD celebrations—Rogue Valley Bird Day in Ashland and the WMBD Birdwatching Field Trip at Shasta Valley Wildlife Area near Montague, California.

It has just been announced that the Western Hummingbird Partnership has been given the U.S. Forest Service’s 2018 Wings Across the Americas award. This is a prestigious award that recognizes outstanding achievements in the conservation of migratory birds—to be presented at a special World Migratory Bird Day ceremony in Washington, D.C. this Tuesday May 1st. KBO’s Executive Director Dr. John Alexander will join other members of the Western Hummingbird Partnership Advisory Group in receiving the award.

KBO will join many local partners for the City of Ashland Department of Parks and Recreation’s Rogue Valley Bird Day Saturday May 12th at North Mountain Park from 8 am to 1200 pm. KBO biologists will demonstrate mist netting and banding songbirds as a part of the festivities. We will also join A World Migratory Bird Day Birdwatching Field Trip at Shasta Valley Wildlife Area starting at 7:30 am. This event is sponsored by Klamath National Forest.

CLICK HERE to view the Rogue Valley Bird Day 2018 flyer.

CLICK HERE to view the Shasta Valley Birdwatching Field Trip 2018 flyer.

Join us for World Migratory Bird Day!


The Western Hummingbird Partnership addresses a critical need in hummingbird conservation—engaging researchers, educators, and governmental and non-governmental groups in collaborative science and education. Key partners include Klamath Bird Observatory, Environment for the Americas, Point Blue Conservation Science, University of Guadalajara, and U.S. Forest Service. Since 2006, the Partnership has contributed to projects in biosphere reserves, botanic gardens, and national forests and has provided funding in support of projects where western hummingbirds nest, stop during their migrations, and winter.

Scientists Speak Up!

On Saturday April 22 at 11:45 am, a diverse group of scientists will present “Scientists Speak Up!” at the Rogue Valley Earth Day celebration at ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum.

A growing group of southern Oregon citizens are joining the global scientific community in defense of the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments. Professional, academic, and student scientists will join together to present personal vignettes that focus on the very real role science plays in each of our lives. Speakers will include local citizens from Southern Oregon University, Ashland School District’s John Muir School, and Ashland’s science-based Klamath Bird Observatory.

The speakers will be giving voice to the defense of science, scientists, and evidence-based policymaking. These scientists will be standing up for science in the face of budget cuts, censorship of researchers, disappearing datasets, and threats to dismantle government agencies and government supported science that are putting our health, food, air, water, climate, and jobs at risk.

This “Scientists Speak Up!” presentation will take place at 11:45 on the main stage as part of Rogue Valley Earth Day’s high-energy entertainment line-up that will include of dance, culture, youth science, poetry, and music. Rogue Valley Earth Day will also be highlighted with many additional science-based activities. ScienceWorks will present a ScienceLive show, “Science is Cool,” and The Caterpillar, Pacifica’s Mobile Science and Nature Center will feature activities about the solar system and weather. The festival features many exhibits from organizations and agencies, activities for kids, local food vendors, and live entertainment.

The Rogue Valley Earth Day celebration takes place outdoors at ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum from 11:00am to 4:00pm. Join us as we build awareness about the impact of science on all our lives. “Scientists Speak Up!” at 11:45 on the Rogue Valley Earth Day main stage – building a community that champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.

Click here to learn more about KBO Standing Up For Science.

Top off your Earth Day weekend with the Siskiyou Singers’ spring concert series, For the Beauty of the Earth, April 22 & 23 — click here for more information.


Upcoming Talk and Walk Classes

Sorry!  All the Spring 2016 Talk and Walk Classes are Sold Out!  Please Stay Tuned for Upcoming Summer and Fall Classes.

Klamath Bird Observatory’s popular Talk and Walk classes continue through the winter and into Spring. The Talks are held on Thursday evenings (except for the Jacksonville Woodlands class) at the KBO headquarters in Ashland and the Walk is held on the following Saturdays. To register contact Shannon Rio by eMail (shannonrio[AT] — the registration fee is $25 for each class. Don’t miss these fun and informative adventures in birding!



Great Gray Owl (c) 2016 Jim Lividais

Thursday MAY 5, 2016 6:30PM-8PM
Presented by Shannon Rio (KBO Board President)
KBO headquarters, Lincoln School, 320 Beach Street, Ashland, Oregon
Saturday MAY 7, 2016 2PM-6PM
Led by Lee French (Rogue Valley birding expert)
Outing is an afternoon in search of the Great Gray Owl upon the Cascades Plateau east of Ashland.



The TALK AND WALK classes offer a great chance to learn about birds, go on an outing with a bird guide expert, and visit Klamath Bird Observatory’s current headquarters. This workplace is offered to KBO through a partnership with the Ashland School district and provides our scientists and educators a space to work, collating our findings, applying for grants, and dreaming about how to study and protect birds and their habitats. Part of our dream is to someday have a new home — a place to continue our work and hopefully a site for banding, for educating, and for furthering conservation.

New study shows how wildfire changes forests and the birds that live there a decade after a mixed-severity fire in southwest Oregon

Quartz Fire in 2013, 12 years after the fire, with a healthy shrub understory and standing dead trees.  Photo copyright Jaime Stephens.


AUGUST 17, 2015

Contact: Jaime Stephens,, 541-944-2890

Ashland, Oregon: As much of the West is experiencing drought-related wildfire, new research on the effect of wildfire on forests and bird communities has just been released. Researchers from Klamath Bird Observatory just published results from a 10-year study looking at the effects of the 2001 Quartz Fire that burned in southwest Oregon. They found that not only did the forest structure change dramatically over time, but the bird community changed as well, with many species benefitting from the fire, a finding that was only obvious at the end of the 10- year period. In addition, the researchers documented the role of the fire’s severity showing that for half of the species affected by the fire their response was dependent on fire severity more so than simply whether the area was burned.

This study is important because it looks at the interacting effects of fire severity and time since fire, and provides forest managers with scientific evidence of how wildfire can create a forest that meets the needs of both wildlife and forest management, especially as forest restoration efforts are increasing. Their results are published in the journal The Condor: Ornithological Applications (

The Quartz Fire of 2001 burned over 6000 acres of mixed conifer broad-leafed forest (a mix of conifers and trees such as Pacific madrone and black oak). Wildfires are an important part of southwest Oregon forests, and usually burn in a pattern called mixed-severity – which means the fire burns unequally, in a patchwork of lightly to heavily burned areas interspersed with unburned patches. The resulting mosaic is important for wildlife and healthy forests.

“One important takeaway from our study was the interaction of fire severity and time since fire. Often, fire-related studies measure the short-term impact and compare only burned versus unburned areas, however, in this case, we saw bird species that initially decreased, increasing by the end of the study and doing so with greater magnitude in areas that were more severely burned,” says Jaime Stephens, Klamath Bird Observatory’s Science Director and the study’s lead author.

Olive-sided Flycatchers are often associated with burned forests, where open habitat, in combination with standing dead trees, creates abundant foraging opportunities.  Photo copyright James Livaudais.

Some of the birds that increased over the longer term were species like the Olive-sided Flycatcher, a species of conservation concern in the West. Immediately after the fire, this species was decreasing, but over time, it increased because areas that burned with high-severity resulted in standing dead trees where the flycatchers nest, and a shrub understory re-growth that provided the flycatchers with ample insect food. The House Wren, Lazuli Bunting, and Lesser Goldfinch had a similar story – they increased in areas that were burned and more so with increasing fire severity. The length of the study shed light on how a forest recovers from a mixed severity burn, detecting patterns that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

“After more than 100 years of fire suppression, and now exacerbated by the effects of climate change, our forests may be at-risk of burning at uncharacteristically high severities. Today, forest managers are trying to remedy this problem with thinning and controlled fire, however, these common techniques sometimes fail to replicate the impact of a natural wildfire,” says Jaime Stephens, Science Director, Klamath Bird Observatory.

“The findings of this study can inform management actions, particularly when objectives relate to maintaining or improving ecosystem function” says Jena Volpe, Fire Ecologist, Bureau of Land Management. “Additionally, having long-term post-fire data, relevant to southwest Oregon, greatly improves our understanding of vegetation succession and fuel condition changes across our diverse landscape.”

So what does the study mean for forest management? The challenge of managing western forests in the face of climate change, drought, and a history of fire suppression is not easy. Results from this study show the importance of management techniques that mimic conditions created by a mixed-severity fire: a patchwork forest type, an abundance of snags, and allowing natural regeneration of shrubs. Using these techniques will make it more likely future fires will burn in a mosaic pattern as well, which will benefit birds and create healthy forests for years to come.

This study was funded by the Joint Fire Sciences Program, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Bureau of Land Management Medford District, and Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 Title II.

Klamath Bird Observatory ( is fueled by partner-driven science programs. We use birds as indicators of the healthy and resilient ecosystems on which we all depend. Our science involves three integrated aspects: 1) long-term monitoring, 2) theoretical research, and 3) applied ecology. We bring our results to bear through science delivery involving partnership driven engagement in conservation planning, informing the critical decisions being made today that will have lasting influences on the health of our natural resources well into the future. Klamath Bird Observatory’s award-winning model was developed in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. We now apply this model more broadly throughout the Pacific Northwest. Plus, our intensive professional education and international capacity building programs expand our influence into Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

Click here for a PDF of this press release.

Click here for a press packet with a PDF of this press release and high resolution images.


Featured Artists – 2015 Mountain Bird Festival

Klamath Bird Observatory and the 2015 Mountain Bird Festival welcome three featured artists – Dan Elster, Katrina Elise Meister, and Stefan Savides. These artists, all from the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion, will be setting up galleries during this year’s Friday (May 29) and Saturday (May 30) Mountain Bird Festival socials from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum in Ashland, Oregon. These generous artists are donating a portion of gallery sales to support Klamath Bird Observatory’s efforts to advance bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships.

2015 Mountain Bird Festival Art Galleries, open to the public, Friday (May 29) and Saturday (May 30), 5:00pm to 7:00pm, at SceinceWorks Hands on Museum.


Elster_bio (72dpi 3xX) 20150526Elster_hummer (72dpi 2xX) 20150209Dan was born in Chicago, 1971. In his old life he was the manager of his brother’s food distribution business on the west side of Chicago. A few years ago Dan and his wife (Patty) took a leap of faith … they quit their jobs, sold their home and hit the road. Patty took a job as a travel nurse, while Dan pursued a dream career in wildlife photography. After a few years of nomadic living, they now call Ashland, Oregon home. While Dan has always loved wildlife, he never had much interest in photography growing up. He is mostly self-taught. His subjects are completely wild (no captive or “staged” shots) and it’s important to him that people know that. Capturing behavior and the inclusion of habitat also helps to define his style. It’s the drama in nature that inspires Dan. In the wild every day is a struggle to survive. This is the story he aims to tell. Dan also hopes his work serves as a reminder that we don’t own the earth, we share it. Click here to learn more about Dan.


Meister Bio (72dpi 3xX)Meister Chickadee (72dpi 2xX)Katrina has been drawing as long as she can remember. She paints with watercolors, oil paints, acrylics, pen and ink, and block prints. Most of her work ends up on Katrina’s Cards and Gifts, her popular line of note cards and gift items. A sixth generation Oregonian, Katrina received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelors of Psychology from the University of Oregon, as well at receiving a degree from the U of O Honors College. Her paintings have exhibited in galleries and corporate offices and many regional art festivals. Katrina’s Cards and Gifts are available in select stores throughout the Northwest. Her work is in several private and corporate collections. She lives with her husband Michael, and their two children in Southern Oregon. Click here to learn more about Katrina.


Savides Bio (72dpi 2xX)Savides_pelican (72dpi 2xX)Stefan has made birds his passion, and he has followed that passion from day one. His avian taxidermy has earned him an international reputation; however this multi-talented artist has painted, carved, raised and sculpted birds throughout his life. Sculpting in bronze is a natural progression from taxidermy as it provides Savides a lasting medium in which to express his knowledge of avian anatomy and design. A lifetime of study, coupled with the quest for simplistic design, has lead Savides to sculpt in a manner that captures the essence of his subjects without distracting detail. He is truly a multi-talented artist who has proven himself in a variety of mediums. Savides is an elected member of the National Sculpture society and a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists. Click here to learn more about Stefan.

2015 Mountain Bird Festival May 29-31

2015 Mountain Bird Festival: Citizens and Science Elevating Bird Conservation


The 2014 Mountain Bird Festival was a huge success.  All attendees served as bird conservationists by helping raise over $10,000 in support of local and national conservation efforts and the science that drives that conservation. Participants flocked from all over the U.S. to bird the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California. 171 bird species were seen by festival participants, including mountain and pacific northwest specialties such as White-headed Woodpecker, Spotted Owl, Calliope Hummingbird, Mountain Bluebird, and of course, the Great Gray Owl. Additionally, over 90 species of wildflowers were seen in bloom, as well as 21 species of dragonflies and damselflies seen zipping through the region’s diverse habitats. All data from field trips were entered into eBird Northwest, which contributes to our understanding of bird distribution and habitat use. All festival attendees purchased a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (a.k.a. the Duck Stamp) with their registration, contributing to wetland restoration and conservation throughout the United States; attendees also purchased a Conservation Science Stamp, supporting Klamath Bird Observatory‘s worldwide efforts to advance bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships.

This 2015 Conservation Science Stamp will feature the stunning White-headed Woodpecker!

The 2015 Mountain Bird Festival will offer guided bird walks, fine art galleries, local wine, microbrew, and food vendors, and a feel-good community atmosphere.  This year’s keynote speaker will be Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s International eBird project leader, Brian Sullivan. Brian will show us how eBird and its state of the art technologies are revolutionizing birding, making this popular recreation a powerful conservation science activity.

Festival registration includes half-day or full-day field trips offered on both Saturday and Sunday.

Festival goers will have the opportunity to enjoy all that is offered by the town of Ashland, Oregon. See a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, stroll through town to visit a variety of shops and galleries, get a massage, or enjoy a meal at one of Ashland’s many restaurants that feature local foods. We look forward to seeing you at the 2015 Mountain Bird Festival.

The Klamath Bird Observatory is grateful for your support and dedication.  Don’t forget to tell your friends about this great opportunity to see wonderful birds and contribute to their conservation while at it!

2015 Mountain Bird Festival Registration Opens February 11



The award winning Mountain Bird Festival is back, celebrating the natural wonders of southern Oregon and northern California. The 2015 Mountain Bird Festival will be held in Ashland, Oregon from May 29th-31st. Registration for the Festival will be available on the Klamath Bird Observatory website at The Mountain Bird Festival offers guided bird walks, a keynote presentation, fine art galleries, local wine, microbrew, and food vendors, and a feel-good community atmosphere. Registration includes half-day or full-day field trips offered on both Saturday and Sunday.

The 2015 Mountain Bird Festival combines a celebration of the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion’s spectacular mountain birds and the stewardship ethic needed to ensure thriving landscapes for humans and wildlife. Every citizen who participates in the Festival helps to advance bird and habitat conservation in multiple ways. They contribute to habitat protection through the purchase of a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (a.k.a. the Duck Stamp), thereby supporting one of the most successful conservation programs in the United States. Festival attendees also purchase a Conservation Science Stamp with proceeds supporting Klamath Bird Observatory’s regional science and education programs aimed at achieving sustainable natural resource management. Additionally, every Festival goer serves as a citizen scientist contributing field trip bird sightings to eBird Northwest, a rapidly growing database that advances our knowledge about birds and their habitats.

This year’s Mountain Bird Festival features a keynote presentation by Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s International eBird project leader, Brian Sullivan. Brian will show us how eBird and its state of the art technologies are revolutionizing birding, making this popular recreation a powerful conservation science activity.

The Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, an absolute must-see for birders and naturalists. The 2015 Mountain Bird Festival offers guided bird walks to some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes of the region. Field trips will target highly sought after mountain birds of the Cascade, Siskiyou, and Klamath Mountains, as well as Klamath Basin specialties. Target birds include Mountain Quail, nesting Sandhill Cranes, dancing Western and Clark’s Grebes, Black Terns, Great Gray Owls, Calliope Hummingbirds, and the bird that will be featured on this year’s Conservation Science Stamp, the White-headed Woodpecker.

The Mountain Bird Festival has received national awards for becoming one of our nation’s leading conservation events. Please join us for the 2015 Mountain Bird Festival and become part of our efforts to elevate bird conservation.

Click here to view a a copy of the press release announcing the 2015 Mountain Bird Festival.