Tag: Featured

2022 U.S. State of the Birds Report Reveals Widespread Losses of Birds Due to Habitat Stress

The Pacific Northwest is seeing the impacts of unsustainable forest management, putting birds and people at risk but when we invest, in bird conservation works, we have an unprecedented opportunity to implement restoration efforts that will benefit birds and people.

Bird Declines in Forests that Have Departed from Historic Cycles. According to population trends by eBird data, bird numbers tend to be declining in forests that have departed from historic conditions and are most in need of disturbance restoration Sources: Cornell Lab | eBird data 2007–2019 (left map); DeMeo et al, “Expanding Our Understanding of Forest Structural Restoration Needs in the Pacific Northwest”, Northwest Science Winter 2018 (right map).

A newly released State of the Birds report for the United States reveals a tale of two trends, one hopeful, one dire. Historically we have demonstrated that investment in bird conservation can pay off – for example, we have recovered at-risk species like waterfowl and the Peregrine Falcons by focused resources and efforts. However, North American populations continue to show widespread declines. In the west, forest-dependent and wetland birds are both showing a more recent decline that is of grave concern.

For most of the past 100 years, western forests have managed to encourage conifer tree dominance and discourage fires. But for many centuries before the 1900s, fires were common on this landscape, both natural wildfires and intentional burns by Indigenous peoples. Today those historic disturbance patterns that created a mosaic of conifer and broadleaf forest cover and successional stages have been disrupted, and large swaths of western forest landscapes have departed from their natural range of tree species and structural diversity. These areas of forest departure from natural patterns are also hotspots for western forest bird declines. Furthermore, these compromised forests have very little resilience to the forces of wildfire and climate change, which puts greater forest landscape health and forest resources (such as water reservoirs) at risk of disaster. Investments in forest restoration can turn around this dim outlook for western forests, western forest birds, and the people that call the west home.

“Western forest restoration programs that are integrating bird conservation objectives with efforts to increase climate-, fire-, and water-security for front-line communities provide just one of many such opportunities outlined in this year’s State of The Birds Report. This report highlights our work with Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Programs showing how a small investment in bird conservation specialists leverages huge forest restoration investments to ensure they pay off for birds and people. — Dr. John Alexander, Executive Director, Klamath Bird Observatory

Long-term trends of waterfowl show strong increases where investments in wetland conservation have improved conditions for birds and people. However, we are not seeing the same trends here in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time in their history, Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges will be dry in fall 2022. In California’s Central Valley, limited water supplies forced a 60% reduction in rice in rice acreage in 2022, which traditionally provides crucial habitat for over 5 million wintering ducks. In these regions, the effects of drought are exacerbated by rigid local water laws and the over-allocation of limited water supplies that restrict sufficient water availability for waterfowl and waterbird habitats. Policies that create efficient water-sharing solutions are desperately needed if waterfowl and waterbird populations are to recover from drastic declines in the American West.

 

Published by 33 leading science and conservation organizations and agencies, the 2022 U.S. State of the Birds report is the first look at the nation’s birds since a landmark 2019 study showed the loss of 3 billion birds in the United States and Canada in 50 years. A culture of unsustainable forest management and fire suppression is catching up with us — now exacerbated by climate change it is putting birds and people at risk. Immense investments in large-scale forest management have the potential to pay off for birds if we pay attention to existing bird conservation science and habitat conservation plans.

Findings included in the report:

● More than half of U.S. bird species are declining.
● U.S. grassland birds are among the fastest declining with a 34% loss since 1970.
● 70 newly identified Tipping Point species have each lost 50% or more of their populations in the past 50 years, and are on track to lose another half in the next 50 years if nothing changes. They include beloved gems such as Rufous Hummingbirds, songsters such as Golden-winged Warblers, and oceanic travelers such as Black-footed Albatrosses.

The report used five sources of data, including the North American Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Count, to track the health of breeding birds in habitats across the United States.

 

 


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. www.KlamathBird.org

Established in 1999, the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Committee is a coalition of state and federal government agencies, private organizations, and bird initiatives in the United States working to ensure the long-term health of North America’s native bird populations. The U.S. NABCI Committee creates a unique forum for federal and state agencies and non-governmental organizations to address shared bird conservation challenges and priorities. Its strength lies in its ability to directly engage conservation leaders and to collaboratively develop and express a collective voice that promotes integrated all-bird conservation. Individuals who serve on the U.S. NABCI Committee build working relationships across the bird conservation community, contributing their expertise and insights to mutually beneficial goals. Collaborative efforts are aimed at the U.S. and tri-national bird conservation communities and inform and highlight new frontiers in bird conservation. https://nabci-us.org/committee/

Media contact—Elva Manquera, Klamath Bird Observatory, ejm@klamathbird.org, (541) 908-0040

Media kit includes 2022 State of the Birds Report (PDF) and multimedia. Use of provided graphics, bird photos, sounds, and videos is protected by copyright and permitted only within stories about the content of the 2022 State of the Birds report. Redistribution or any other use is prohibited without express written permission of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology or the copyright owner.

Conservation Science Stamp

Support All Bird Conservation

Each year, Klamath Bird Observatory offers a Conservation Stamp Set for purchase with proceeds supporting both national and regional conservation efforts. The 2022-23 two-stamp set includes:

  1. The Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (the Duck Stamp)
  2. KBO’s Conservation Science Stamp

Migratory birds help drive our international full-lifecycle efforts to protect migratory birds throughout their full range. Klamath Bird Observatory’s 2022-2023 Conservation Science Stamp tells the story of the Balck-throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens), a migratory bird that breeds in Pacific Northwest oak-conifer habitats and winters in oak-pine and cloud forest habitats in western Mexico and Central America.

Proceeds from this year’s Science Stamp support our international bird banding program. Bird banding data tell us if birds are successfully breeding in an area—an indication of a healthy habitat. It also tells us if birds are surviving migration, information that informs international conservation efforts. Our partnerships with the University of Guadalajara and San Pancho Bird Observatory in Mexico help us study the full lifecycle of migratory birds, including this warbler. KBO’s bird banding internship program also helps us train the next generation of bird conservation leaders. This program has hosted over 280 young professionals from 17 countries.

The Federal Duck Stamp is among the most successful conservation tools ever created. Duck Stamp sales contribute directly to habitat conservation in our National Wildlife Refuges. While waterfowl hunters 16 years of age or older are required to purchase them, anyone can contribute to conservation by buying Duck Stamps. In addition to serving as a hunting license and conservation tool, a current Federal Duck Stamp is also a free pass into any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee. Because nearly all of the proceeds are used to conserve habitat for birds and other wildlife, birders, nature photographers, and other outdoor enthusiasts buy Duck Stamps to help ensure that they can always see wildlife at their favorite outdoor spots.

By purchasing this year’s Conservation Science Stamp you are supporting international bird conservation partnerships, monitoring, and education. You can purchase this stamp set here. 

The Stamp Artists

Renata Miwa is the artist of this year’s Conservation Science Stamp. She is a Brazilian Illustrator and Senior Designer based in São Paulo / Brazil and has been working in the field of editorial design and advertising for almost 10 years now with clients such as McDonalds, Unilever, TED, etc. She is a volunteer designer at Mantiquera Bird Observatory (OAMa) and helps coordinate the design of printed materials. donates her illustration to be sold in their store, and votes in the referendum. Renata’s work is inspired by urban elements, colors, and graphic novels. In her spare time she loves to cook, bird watch, take care of my garden and chat with my friends.

You can see more of Renata’s work on her website: https://renatamiwa.com/

 

 

James Hautman, in 1989, at the age of 25, Jim became the youngest artist in history to win the prestigious Federal Duck Stamp Contest. In 1994 he not only took first prize but he set a new record by receiving a perfect judges score as well as the distinguished People’s Choice Award. Jim has gone on to capture top honors in the Federal contest in 1998, 2010, 2016, and in 2021. You can visit the Hautman brother’s website to see more of their art http://www.hautman.com/HBcons.html 

 

News Release: Conservation of Landbirds and Associated Habitats and Ecosystems in the East Cascade Mountains of OR and WA

The updated Partners in Flight Conservation of Landbirds and Associated Habitats and Ecosystems in the East Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington (Altman and Stephens 2022) brings forward recommendations and support for the conservation of landbirds and their associated habitats and ecosystems in the East Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington. The desired habitat attributes of 24 focal species are used as a conservation tool providing an opportunity to achieve broad ecosystem and restoration goals.

The primary goal of this document is to promote the long-term persistence of healthy populations of native landbirds and associated habitats and ecosystems. To facilitate that goal, described in the plan is a process that emphasizes providing quantitative, prescriptive recommendations for the desired range of habitat types and habitat conditions needed for landbird conservation. That process can be implemented in conjunction with other land management priorities to best meet multiple objectives.

The foundation of Partners in Flights’ long-term strategy for bird conservation is a series of geographically based landbird conservation plans, of which this document is one. The primary goal of PIF landbird conservation planning is to promote the long-term persistence of healthy populations of native landbirds. This document is intended to facilitate that goal by stimulating conservation actions for landbirds, particularly for not listed and nongame landbirds, which historically have been under-represented in conservation efforts, and many of which are exhibiting significant declines that may be possible to reverse if appropriate actions are taken now. Thus, the implementation of the recommendations in this document also supports efforts to reduce the need for future listings of bird species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

This document is an update of Conservation Strategy for Landbirds in the East-Slope Cascade Mountains of Eastern Oregon and Washington (Altman 2000). In version 2.0 there is continued leadership in being progressive and innovative by providing examples of habitat objectives at site and landscape scales, as well as population objectives that encourage habitat management for small populations where appropriate. It is hoped that the presentation of these types of quantitative biological objectives will not only stimulate conservation action on the ground but also encourage data collection and analyses to test the models and professional judgment used to develop the objectives.

Click here to read the full Partners in Flight Conservation of Landbirds and Associated Habitats and Ecosystems in the East Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington

News Release: Population and Habitat Objectives for Landbirds in Prairies, Oak, and Riparian Habitats of Western Oregon and Washington

The newly released conservation plan, Population and Habitat Objectives for Landbirds in Prairies, Oak, and Riparian Habitats of Western Oregon and Washington (Rockwell et al 2022), provides quantitative and multi-scaled population and habitat objectives for 26 focal and seven imperiled bird species. As the title suggests, the plan focuses on prairie, oak, and riparian habitats in the Puget Lowlands, Willamette Valley, and Klamath Mountains ecoregions of western Oregon and Washington. This document was prepared for the Oregon-Washington Chapter of Partners in Flight (PIF), Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service.

This document is an updated version of the Conservation Strategy for Landbirds in the Lowlands and Valleys of Western Oregon and Washington (Altman 2000). Among PIF bird conservation plans, this plan like its predecessor has quantitative and prescriptive objectives that were established for habitat attributes important to landbird species.


“This important document provides both land managers and bird conservationists answers to the essential questions of how much, where, and by when,” says Bob Altman of the American Bird Conservancy “it sets a new threshold for conservation standards in regional planning.”


Recommendations included are intended to guide planning efforts and management actions of land managers, direct expenditures of government and non-government organizations, and stimulate monitoring and research to support landbird conservation. The recommendations are also expected to be the biological foundation for developing and implementing integrated conservation strategies for multiple species at multiple geographic scales to ensure functional ecosystems with healthy bird populations.


“Partnerships are the backbone of Joint Ventures. A primary role of Migratory Bird Joint Ventures is to step-down continental habitat priorities for waterfowl, waterbirds, landbirds, and shorebirds to each Joint Venture region. This plan and the unique partnership between Pacific Birds, Klamath Bird Observatory, and PIF fills this gap; it frames conservation delivery strategies, sets the stage for working towards collective goals, and helps us meet our federal mandate,“ says Sara Evans-Peters U.S. Assistant Coordinator, Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture.


The section on imperiled species is unique to this Oregon-Washington PIF plan. Imperiled species were selected based on a population estimate of <2,000 individuals in any of the three ecoregions; a high degree of association with prairie, oak, and riparian habitats; and a historic anecdotal baseline as a relatively common species. The focal species approach assumes that the suite of focal species will cover the habitat requirements of imperiled bird species, but this may not hold true for imperiled species that are ecological specialists. In this region, we are fortunate to have uniquely detailed data regarding the population status and conservation needs of many of our imperiled species. To ensure their conservation, imperiled species were recognized and given their own biological objectives and habitat attributes, as well as integrated where appropriate as species to benefit from conservation actions directed towards focal species. Highlighted below is the Oregon Vesper Sparrow.

 

This document is intended to complement the goals, objectives, and strategies in several other planning and conservation processes and initiatives by filling a niche that is usually absent in those efforts: quantitative, prescriptive recommendations for habitat conditions most suitable for individual and suites of landbird species at several geographic scales (e.g., regional, subregional, site). The use and implementation of these recommendations can be done independently for landbird-specific conservation, or complementarily within the context of broader conservation goals to support and strengthen other plans.

You can view the whole conservation plan here.

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