Tag: Klamath Basin

All Day Hawk and Duck Trip in the Klamath Basin

Join KBO board members Amanda Alford and Dick Ashford for an all-day outing on March 18th, where we’ll look at everything the Klamath Basin has to offer. Dick and Amanda will plan a route that will give us our best chances of seeing the varied birdlife for which “the basin” is famous. And, we’ll have lots of fun doing it!

You aren’t going to want to miss this waterfowl and raptor adventure!

This trip will be limited to 14 registrants, and we will carpool in 4 vehicles (max). The cost is $40 per participant, register below.

Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and as such, KBO events are offered with COVID-19 safety as a primary concern. Proof of “up-to-date” vaccination will be required for all in-person participants. All individuals attending an event must also fill out KBO’s COVID Release Form and Waiver of Liability upon registration. Paper copies may also be available at an event upon advanced request. Please do not attend the event if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Hawk Talk and Walk 2023

Rough-legged Hawk @ Jim Livaudais

January can be a great time to enjoy raptor viewing in the picturesque Klamath Basin! Please join longtime KBO board member Dick Ashford, who will share his enthusiasm and knowledge during an informative (and fun!) Hawk ID workshop.

On Jan 5th, a classroom lecture will be held from 6-8:30 PM in the KBO “Spa” at 2425 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland. Then, enjoy a day-long outing to the Klamath Basin on Jan 7th. We’ll depart Ashland at 8 AM and return around 5-ish. To afford everyone the best possible experience, attendance is limited. We will carpool (a must!) in 4 vehicles of 4 people each.

Register using the form below

Please be sure to dress comfortably and bring lunch and liquids. Most of our birding will be from the roadside, and walking will be minimal. Everyone will be required to submit proof of vaccination. I appreciate your help in keeping us all safe in these challenging times!

Because this outing is so popular (Hawks have charisma!), early signup is recommended. Your seat will be confirmed upon receipt of your non-refundable, tax-deductible contribution of $75 per person. We’re looking forward to seeing you in the Field Of Wonder! Due to the workshop’s popularity, we ask that you attend both sessions. No “outing-only” signups. We’ll be looking forward to seeing you in the Field Of Wonder!

Cover photo Ferruginous Hawk by Frank Lospalluto

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 that will be emailed to you once you register for the event. Paper copies will be available at the event. Please do not attend the event if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Masks are not required but wear based on comfortability.

Instructor & Trip Leader

Dick Ashford has served on the KBO Board since 2005, 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). A continuing student of birds and birding, Dick especially enjoys leading hawk-watching trips to Oregon’s Klamath Basin. He has taught a Hawk ID Workshop at the annual Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls for over 10 years.


Upcoming Talk and Walk Class: Nature Photography


TALK: December 9th, 2018 Sunday 5:00-6:30pm

Join Mel Clements as he presents 4 short DVD’s (photography and music) that highlights the birds and landscape of the Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuge through the four seasons of the year. A fifth DVD will feature the powerful beauty of the Great Gray Owl. Guidelines for photographing birds and other wildlife will be presented along with the ethics of bird photography. Mel will discuss how to get the best photos and disturb the birds the least. Shannon Rio will co-host the event and discuss the field trip to the Klamath Basin area.

This talk will take place in a local home and wine, bubbly water, and light snacks will be available.


Two separate dates will be set aside, one in January and one in February to go to the Klamath Basin. This trip includes a three hour tour from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. The guided trip starts at the Tule Lake Refuge Headquarters. The rest of the day will be exploring the Refuges auto route looking for birds and photo opportunities.

COST: $50 will cover the talk and the outing. To sign up, contact Shannon Rio at shannonrio@aol.com or call her at 541-840-4655.

Birding the Klamath Basin’s National Wildlife Refuges

October 11, Thursday 6:30-8:00pm at Ashland Outdoor Store

Presented by Shannon Rio, President of the Board of Klamath Bird Observatory

The stunning photography and dramatic history of the Birding the Klamath Basin’s National Wildlife Refuges presentation will take us to some of the most amazing wildlife refuges—all within the Klamath Basin right here in our southern Oregon and northern California backyard. One of these, the Lower Klamath, was the nation’s first National Wildlife Refuge, established by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1908 specifically for protection of migratory birds. The Klamath Basin refuges are recognized far and wide for sweeping vistas and spectacular birding.

This presentation is an invitation to visit the Refuges with public access and will include information on how to find them and what glory you might expect to see there. We will also discuss the Federal Duck Stamp’s role in protecting lands for wildlife and encourage the purchase of these stamps that support the Refuge. KBO Executive Director John Alexander will speak briefly on conservation, our wildlife refuges, and how we as individuals can make a difference on their behalf.

This presentation is free. The Outdoor Store is located at 37 North 3rd Street in Ashland, Oregon.

Shannon Rio is a wildlife educator who believes that when we connect with nature, we will naturally want to protect what we love: the birds and wild places.

Klamath Bird Observatory advances bird and habitat conservation through science, education, and partnerships.


TALK: February 2nd, Friday 6:30pm—8:30pm

WALK: February 3rd, Saturday or February 10, Saturday

Early February is a perfect time of year to enjoy raptor viewing in the picturesque Klamath Basin! Please join longtime KBO board member Dick Ashford, who will share his enthusiasm and knowledge during an informative Hawk ID classroom session on the evening of Feb 2nd. Then, enjoy a fun, day-long hawk watching outing to the Klamath Basin. In order to optimize your experience, half the class will be in the field on Feb 3rd, the other half on Feb 10th. The classroom session will be limited to 30 people and each of the two field trips to 15. This will allow us to carpool (a must!) in four vehicles.

Because this workshop is so popular, participants should enroll in the class as well as one of the field sessions. No “outing-only” signups, please. Please indicate what day you would like for your field trip, and we’ll look forward to seeing you in the Field Of Wonder!

To sign up or obtain more information, contact Shannon Rio at shannonrio@aol.com or 541-840-4655. The $30 cost includes the talk, outing and a classy handout on raptor identification.


It is hard to say what I enjoyed more. Was it the photographs Mel Clements showed us depicting the seasons of the Klamath Basin accompanied to music at the evening talk? Was it being in the Butte Valley with master birding guide Frank Lospalluto pointing out the 10 or so Golden Eagles? Or was it later in the afternoon when outing participant Kirby took us to where the 5,000 Snow Geese and 1,000 Sandhill Cranes were grazing at the back of a large pond on the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge?

Our tribe of 15 bird lovers roamed the Klamath Basin and experienced the wonder of it all: sky, landscape, raptors, and waterfowl. It was in the sharing of the beauty that we felt a sweet connection not just to the land that we love so much but also to each other.

After going on this trip one participant wrote me this email: “Well I just have to say that for my first real birding outing WOW!! Amazing! I look forward to many more birding experiences and am so grateful to have been able to join y’all yesterday and for your patience with my rudimentary questions. Best day ever!!! Hahaha – I have to laugh … cuz actually best day ever was when my daughter was born 41 years ago … and Kirk was there then, too!!?” She shared this birding adventure with the doctor who delivered her daughter. How is that for coming full circle!


KBO’s Talk and Walk series occurs throughout the year giving folks a chance to have a beautifully crafted informative talk accompanied by an outing. The next Talk and Walk will be in February and will be on Hawks of the Klamath Basin led by raptor expert Dick Ashford. Information on that will be announced soon. Contact Shannon Rio for information about the Talk and Walk series.




In Part Two of a three-part series on the wildlife refuges of the Klamath Basin and water in the arid West, reporter Jes Burns puts KBO research and monitoring results in the broader context of bird population declines in the Upper Klamath Basin. Click here to read and listen to the Oregon Public Broadcast series.

The following provides more detailed information about KBO’s Black Tern monitoring results:


Results from long-term monitoring efforts show that Black Tern population declines in the Klamath Basin are higher than declines previously documented for continental and regional populations. Results from a 10 year study conducted by Klamath Bird Observatory show a steady, sharp decline in numbers of Black Terns in the wetlands and open waters of Agency Lake and Upper Klamath Lake.

Klamath Bird Observatory Science Director and the study’s lead author Jaime Stephens points out, “Black Tern populations in North America experienced steep declines prior to 1980, likely a result of dramatic wetland habitat loss. The current population is estimated to be about one-third of its historical size — reversing declines has become a conservation priority. Our findings suggest an alarming decline of 8% loss annually at Agency and Upper Klamath Lakes.”

According to a Black Tern conservation plan created in 2006, the desired population objective within the Great Basin — which includes the Klamath Basin — is 10,000 individuals. The current estimate of Black Terns for this area is already some 20% below the objective, making these local declines a red flag. The 2006 Intermountain West Waterbird Conservation Plan was created by many researchers from multiple organizations and agencies to identify and fill knowledge gaps and aid in all-bird conservation efforts. Conservation plans are developed by looking at historic and current population numbers to create reasonable objectives for maintaining populations with the goal of avoiding costly special-protection actions such as threatened or endangered species listing.

Terns are migratory waterbirds related to gulls. Many tern species travel to inland waterbodies to nest and return to coastal areas for most of the year. The Black Tern is one of the smallest terns in the world with a graceful, floating flying appearance. It is a long-distance migrant, nesting in wetlands across the northern United States and southern Canada and wintering along South America’s northern coasts. Black Tern long-term population declines have been attributed degradation and loss of wetland habitat across North America. Now studies must focus on existing habitat suitability, including water levels and water quality.

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex manager Greg Austin said, “We find these results reflective of the declines observed in wetland habitat throughout the Klamath Basin. Historically the refuges provided the necessary habitats to support Black Tern populations, however with the loss of wetland habitat throughout the Klamath Basin Black Tern populations have declined. The Klamath Basin is an over-allocated system; drought and increased demands on water resources have put the Klamath Basin out of balance; there is not enough water to completely satisfy every need every year. A balanced approach for water allocation in the Basin is needed for effective management by all stakeholders”.

KBO’s Stephens explained the importance of this study’s results: “It is not well understood how water levels in the Klamath Basin relate to how much Black Tern breeding season habitat is available and how good that habitat is for raising young. Given the challenges that Black Terns face from a combination of water allocation, drought, and climate change impacts, an improved understanding local habitat needs is pressing.”

She added: “The best next step to addressing local Black Tern population loss is to determine the cause of the decline we found.”

The results of the 2001-2010 Klamath Basin Black Tern study were published in the Winter 2015 issue of the Northwest Naturalist journal. To read or download the publication click here.


Klamath Bird Observatory, based in Ashland, Oregon, is a scientific non-profit organization that achieves bird conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of our region. We developed our award-winning conservation model in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and we now apply this model more broadly to care for our shared birds throughout their annual cycles. Emphasizing high caliber science and the role of birds as indicators of the health of the land, we specialize in cost-effective bird monitoring and research projects that improve natural resource management. Also, recognizing that conservation occurs across many fronts, we nurture a conservation ethic in our communities through our outreach and educational programs.

Media Contact: Jaime Stephens, Science Director
Klamath Bird Observatory
541-201-0866 x 2#
jlh [AT] klamathbird.org

TALK AND WALK: BIRDING THE KLAMATH BASIN with Mel Clements and Frank Lospalluto

The talk will feature 4 short DVD’s (photography and music) that each highlight the birds and landscape of the Klamath Wildlife Basin Refuges through the four seasons of the year. A fifth DVD will be added to show the powerful beauty of the Great Gray Owl. Guidelines for photographing birds and other wildlife will be presented along with the ethics of bird photography. Mel Clements will discuss how to get the best photos and disturb the birds the least.

Talk on February 16th Thursday 6:30-8pm
Walk on February 18th Saturday 7:30am – dark

Contact Shannon Rio at shannonrio@aol.com to sign up. Class size is limited. $30 for class and outing. $15 to come to the talk only.

Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge (c) Jim Livaudais 2017


No cabin fever or winter blues around here – not with our upcoming Talk and Walk programs! There are birds to find in our great outdoors and no more informing and fun way to find them than with the inimitable Dick Ashford. Two Talk and Walk programs have just been added to our calendar: Raptor ID in the Klamath Basin and Waterfowl ID in the Klamath Basin – details below.




TALK: Dick Ashford, local raptor expert and longtime KBO board member, will share his enthusiasm and knowledge about raptor ID during this informative class session.

January 5th Thursday 6:30-8:00PM

WALK: Start the brand new year off right with an all-day raptor viewing outing to the picturesque Klamath Basin!

January 7th Saturday 8:00AM-6:00PM




TALK: March is that time of year when things are just “ducky”. Want to learn how to ID them? Join longtime KBO board member Dick Ashford for a fun talk on ducks, geese, and other waterfowl!

March 2nd Thursday 6:30-8:00PM

Ducks in a row ... Mallards foraging (c) Jim Livaudais 2016

WALK: We will get a chance to test our classroom knowledge in the field. Dick will plan a route that will give us our best chance of seeing the varied birdlife for which the Klamath Basin is famous – and we’ll have lots of fun doing it! Depending on water levels and weather conditions, there may be excellent opportunities for viewing thousands of migratory waterfowl.

March 4th Saturday 8:00AM 6:00PM


Cost: $25 for each talk and outing (or $50 makes you a member of KBO). Space is limited. Will schedule an extra outing day if needed. Contact – ShannonRio@aol.com with questions or to hold your spot.

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PO Box 758
Ashland, Oregon 97520


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