Tag: US Fish and Wildlife

Using Motus Technology to Inform Conservation of the Oregon Vesper Sparrow

 

Handheld radio telemetry antenna detects tagged birds away from the main Motus station.

Fall 2020 saw the installation of the very first Motus station in Oregon at the Vesper Meadow Restoration Preserve in partnership with the Vesper Meadow Education Program. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a collaborative research network using automated radio telemetry stations to study the movements of small organisms. Tags are small enough to be carried by birds, bats, and even bees. Motus tags emit a radio frequency that can be detected by a nearby Motus station anywhere in the world, and the number of stations is quickly growing.

Motus LifeTag

We are using Motus technology to enhance our ability to track movements of the at-risk Oregon Vesper Sparrow. In 2021, we searched for nests of this ground-dwelling bird at Vesper Meadow, and placed Motus- compatible LifeTags on 12 Oregon Vesper Sparrow nestlings that were nearly ready to fledge. LifeTags are solar-powered and emit a signal every few minutes during daylight hours for the lifetime of the bird. The automated “resighting” and location estimation from this new technology will help us study habitat use, movements, and survival of young birds during the post‐fledging period when they are particularly vulnerable, and explore dispersal of birds returning to nearby meadows next spring. We also set up an array of 18 Motus nodes around the edge of Vesper Meadow to supplement our main Motus station there. Four of the nodes formed a mini-grid around two of the nests with tagged nestlings, and this will serve to pilot the use of this technology to track precise fledgling locations and habitat use. We collected tens of thousands of detections of our tagged fledglings from the node network over the months of June-October – and likely a lot of radio frequency “noise” from other stray signals – and we look forward to sorting through and analyzing those data this winter.

Adult Oregon Vesper Sparrow at the Lily Glen field site. (c) Frank Lospalluto

The Oregon Vesper Sparrow is a subspecies of conservation concern, and it has been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act due to its low population size and declining trend. We have noted low rates of fledged young returning to our field sites at Lily Glen and Vesper Meadow for their first spring as breeding adults. Motus technology will help us determine the cause – are young birds having trouble surviving the vulnerable post-fledging stage, or their risky first round-trip migration and winter? Or are they simply moving away from the meadows where they were born and choosing other nearby meadows to try raising their own young? A handheld radio telemetry antenna will allow us to more easily locate any tagged birds that disperse away from our main field sites to other nearby meadows next spring.

In addition to enhancing our Vesper Sparrow research, the Motus station at Vesper Meadow has detected two Lewis’s Woodpeckers migrating from MPG Ranch lands in Montana, one Swainson’s Thrush that was banded in interior British Columbia, and a Western Sandpiper and Semipalmated Plover from coastal British Columbia – so the station is assisting other researchers with their migration tracking projects as well! Our Motus station, node network, and tagging effort were made possible by the USFWS, MPG Ranch, Oregon Wildlife Foundation, and private donations.

Click here to learn more about our work with the Oregon Vesper Sparrow.

Upcoming Talk and Walk Class: Nature Photography

A SEASONAL JOURNEY THROUGH THE KLAMATH BASIN AND BASIC 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.

WALK: OUTING TO TULE LAKE AND KLAMATH REFUGES

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.

Just Published State of North America’s Birds Report Is a Call to Action

*** NEWS RELEASE—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

May 18, 2016

Media Contact: John Alexander, Executive Director Klamath Bird Observatory

541-890-7067; jda@klamathbird.org

 

 To mark the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative has published the State of North America’s Birds report. Through a groundbreaking collaboration between the United States, Mexico, and Canada this report evaluates birds of nine key ecosystems across the continent. The report highlights two key aspects of bird conservation that are core to Klamath Bird Observatory’s science, education, and partnership efforts in southern Oregon and northern California. First, science driven conservation works, and second, our continent’s birds still need our help.

The Report’s authors found that where an investment is made in healthy habitat management, birds are doing well; and healthy birds mean healthy ecosystems. They provide several examples, including southern Oregon’s Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network collaboration of Lomakatski Restoration Project, Bureau of Land Management, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Klamath Bird Observatory and others. The Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network has leveraged $4.5 million of combined federal and non-federal resources to restore over 3,000 acres of oak woodlands across our region, with another 3,000 acres to be restored by 2020. This work is being guided by and evaluated with KBO research and monitoring using oaks-associated birds as indicators of success.

The Report also presents a Watch List that identifies one third of North America’s bird species as high risk, including the Olive-sided Flycatcher. Klamath Bird Observatory research shows that in our region the Olive-sided Flycatcher is associated with fire and related forest conditions. This is just one example of the many indicator species that Klamath Bird Observatory studies, with results informing forest management. The State of North America’s Birds report emphasizes the importance of such studies, because quality, not just quantity, of our temperate forests, is critical for forest birds. In the West, fire plays a key role in maintaining high-quality forest ecosystems, and Klamath Bird Observatory is working to show how this understanding, and the use of birds as indicators, can inform management our western forests. This application of science and bird conservation priorities to address pressing forest management challenges, with an intention to protect and restore our forests, and thereby stop the steepening declines of our western forest birds.

This new State of North America’s Birds report is a call to action. Of North America’s 1,154 bird species, 432 are now considered of “high concern” due to low or declining populations and growing threats from habitat loss, invasive predators, and climate change. Migratory birds connect people to nature and provide multiple benefits – ecological, economic, agricultural, aesthetic, and recreational – for people and the natural environment. Therefor our governments, industry, and the public must once again come together to support migratory bird conservation. The 2016 Report and past State of the Birds reports archive are available at www.StateOfTheBirds.org.

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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.

The U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Committee is a forum of government agencies, private organizations, and bird initiatives helping partners across the continent meet their common bird conservation objectives. The Committee is working to secure a bright future for North America’s more than 1,150 species of birds, in conjunction with NABCI partners in Mexico and Canada to increase cooperation and effectiveness of bird conservation efforts among the three countries. The NABCI Committee’s strategy is to foster coordination and collaboration on key issues of concern, including bird monitoring, conservation design, private lands, international collaboration, and state and federal agency support for integrated bird conservation.  

For more information about the North American Bird Conservation Initiative:  www.nabci-us.org/

Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network to Host Oak Woodland Restoration Field Day

<img class="size-full wp-image-2850" src="http://klamathbird.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Acorn-Woodpecker-c-2015-Livaudais-72dpi-3xX.jpg" alt="Acorn Woodpecker (c) 2015 Jim Livaudais" width="216" height="288" title=" Acorn Woodpecker
(c) 2015 Jim Livaudais” />

*** PRESS RELEASE — For Immediate Release ***

On June 27, 2015 the Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network (KSON) will host an Oak Woodland Restoration Field Day, designed to provide an opportunity for landowners and land managers to learn about oak restoration on their lands. This half-day event will be held at several properties in the Colestin Valley between Ashland and Yreka, where a large-scale private lands oak conservation partnership program has been underway for the past decade. A series of presentations by restoration professionals, agency managers, wildlife biologists, and private landowners will highlight current oak restoration and management approaches, the habitat value of oaks for birds and other native wildlife, and how landowners can access technical resources and funding for restoration.

The KSON partnership conserves oak habitats on private and public lands in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California. KSON partners include non-governmental organizations, local state and federal agencies, Native American tribes, and private citizens. The Oak Woodland Restoration Field Day represents an important part of KSON’S goal to promote oak conservation and restoration by providing opportunities for practitioners and community members to engage on issues affecting threatened oak habitats. KSON members from Lomakatsi Restoration Project, Klamath Bird Observatory, Bureau of Land Management, Natural Resource Conservation Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Forest Service will be present to offer their unique perspectives on oak restoration. This event will be an excellent opportunity for landowners and managers to meet others who share an interest in habitat conservation and restoration of oak savannas and woodlands, and to discuss the best ways to preserve these precious natural resources into the future.

The Field Day is free, but space is limited and registration is required. This event is planned for 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, and participants will need to provide their own lunch. For more information, including registration and carpool information from Ashland or Yreka, or for more information about KSON, please contact KSON Coordinator Kate Halstead at 541-201-0866 ext 7#, or at keh@klamathbird.org.

INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kate Halstead, Biologist & KSON Coordinator
Klamath Bird Observatory
keh@klamathbird.org
541-201-0866, ext 7#

Click here to view pdf of this press release.

Click here to view event flyer.

Click here to download print quality image of Acorn Woodpecker (c) 2015 Jim Livaudais.

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Science Guides Private Lands Conservation

oak_foreground

This article is the seventh installment in the series Achieving Partners in Flight Strategic Goals and Objectives.

 

Klamath Bird Observatory is working with local restoration partners to integrate Partners in Flight priorities and objectives into private lands restoration programs.  The Central Umpqua Mid Klamath Oak Habitat Conservation Project, funded by the NRCS Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, is a landscape-scale effort to restore oak woodlands on private lands in southern Oregon and northern California.  As a part of this project 15 public and private partners leveraged over $3.8 million to restore 2,000 acres of Oregon white oak habitat.

 

Lomakatsi Restoration Project and Klamath Bird Observatory are using objectives from regional Partners in Flight (PIF) conservation plans to guide the restoration.  Habitat objectives for Oak Titmouse, Acorn Woodpecker, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and other oak woodland species are providing details for management prescriptions designed to create oak woodland habitat mosaics, restore native perennial grasses, and reintroduce natural fire regimes whenever possible.  Bird monitoring is being integrated into habitat monitoring efforts to assess the effectiveness of restoration based on PIF population objectives. This unique collaboration received the 2012 Department of Interior Partners in Conservation Award.

 

Download the Partners in Flight Conservation Brief for this project by clicking here. Also see the 2013 State of the Birds Report on Private Lands that highlighted this collaborative oak restoration project in the section on western forest conservation.

2013 State of the Birds Report: Bird Populations Depend on Private Lands

A new national report released today by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, and contributed to by local science-based non-profit Klamath Bird Observatory, highlights the considerable extent to which native bird populations in the United States depend on private lands. Significantly, the 2013 State of the Birds Report on Private Lands also demonstrates that conservation action on private lands is not just for the birds; landowners and the general public benefit from conservation actions that result in cleaner air and water and more resilient and productive landscapes.

 

Throughout our nation, some two million ranchers and farmers and about 10 million woodland owners look after 1.43 billion acres, or roughly 60% of the land area of the United States. These private lands support more than 300 forest-breeding bird species, and several grassland birds have more than 90% of their distribution on private lands. Waterfowl also depend heavily on private lands. Innovative conservation partnerships are changing the face of private lands conservation as private landowners see real benefits and neighbors follow suit through so-called “contagious conservation.” 

In our own backyard, Klamath Bird Observatory is partnering with Lomakatsi Restoration Project, US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and private landowners, and using birds to guide restoration on 2,000 acres of private oak woodlands in southern Oregon and northern California. This unique collaboration—the Central Umpqua-Mid Klamath Oak Conservation Project—received the 2012 Department of Interior Partners in Conservation Award and is restoring one of the West Coast’s most imperiled and biologically rich habitats, benefiting Oak Titmouse, Acorn Woodpecker, and Black-throated Gray Warbler. (To learn more about oaks ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest, download Klamath Bird Observatory and American Bird Conservancy’s Land Manager’s Guide to Bird Habitat and Populations in Oak Ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the supplemental guide that features species accounts.)

 

Klamath Bird Observatory advances bird and habitat conservation in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion and beyond, and has contributed to the high-profile annual State of the Birds reports since the initial report in 2009. Klamath Bird Observatory believes that bird conservation is relevant to every American because the same landscapes that support diverse and abundant bird communities also provide vital services to humans.

 

John Alexander and Jaime Stephens from Klamath Bird Observatory, and Marko Bey from Lomakatsi Restoration Project, will discuss the 2013 State of the Birds Report on Private Lands on Jefferson Public Radio’s news and information program Jefferson Exchange on Wednesday, July 10th from 9:00am until 10:00am. Tune-in to learn more about what birds tell us about the state of the environment; how these local organizations are working with private landowners to provide benefits for landowners, wildlife, and society; and how America’s famous land ethic—articulated by Aldo Leopold—is being realized.

Access this Press Release in PDF Format by clicking here.  To listen to the Jefferson Exchange interview with John Alexander, Jaime Stephens, and Marko Bey by clicking here.

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Klamath Bird Observatory
541-201-0866
PO Box 758
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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