Long-term Monitoring of Bird Populations

Breeding and Migration Season Banding

KBO and our satellite organization Humboldt Bay Bird Observatory operate 16 long-term demographic monitoring stations throughout the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. Each year, we capture and release around 10,000 individual birds representing over 80 species. These efforts track population abundance, reproductive success, and survival of birds in the region.

KBO’s long-term monitoring program also trains tomorrow’s conservation leaders. Since the start of the student volunteer internship program in 1996, KBO has hosted over 170 interns from 18 different countries. Of these, more than 30 have earned or are now pursuing advanced degrees related to conservation. Of the 36 international interns we have hosted, 18 are active banding trainers and some are establishing their own bird monitoring and research programs in their home countries. KBO takes pride in strengthening conservation capacity with those who share stewardship responsibility for our shared migratory birds.

National Park Service Monitoring

In 2008, we began implementing a long-term monitoring protocol with the National Park Service (NPS) Klamath Network .  The NPS Klamath Network includes Crater Lake National Park , Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, Oregon Caves National Monument, Redwood National and State Parks, and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

The NPS Klamath Network landbird monitoring project will yield breeding bird population trends over time and identify links between bird communities and habitat change.  This project will provide quantitative information about bird assemblages to aid in development of measurable indices of ecological integrity for terrestrial ecosystems of the parks. 

To meet these objectives, two primary survey types are being implemented.  Point count surveys will be completed in all six network parks, on a three year rotation.  This method yields bird density data, a useful metric for monitoring birds across the park landscape.  In addition, through a cost-share agreement with Oregon Caves National Monument, mist-netting surveys will be implemented.  This intensive methodology is well suited for the smaller park and was initiated at Oregon Caves National Monument in 2002.  Bird monitoring implemented through this protocol will contribute to and be informed by regional and continental bird monitoring programs, as well as Partners in Flight conservation efforts.

Gold Ray Dam Bird Monitoring

The removal of the Gold Ray Dam along the Rogue River in August 2010 resulted in changes to the river and the adjacent upland habitats.  KBO is monitoring riparian-associated focal species like Yellow Warbler and Song Sparrow along the river corridor as part of a collaborative effort to assess the effects of dam removal and to evaluate the effectiveness of riparian re-vegetation efforts. Results will aid future restoration efforts that follow dam removals. KBO completed a second year of post-dam removal bird surveys in 2012.

Humboldt Bay Bird Observatory

HBBO was established in 1982 by C.J. and Carol Ralph.  HBBO headquarters and several long-term study sites are located adjacent to the Lanphere Dunes Unit of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge near Arcata, California.  The area is bordered by the Mad River Slough and coastal dune forest.  The variety of habitats, including riparian and pine forest, fields, and estuaries, supports a high diversity of bird species.  Bird populations have been monitored at HBBO continuously since 1982, making it one of the longest-running bird monitoring stations in the nation.  Its coastal location has attracted many vagrants, including eastern warblers, Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Lesser Frigatebird.

In 1996, HBBO provided support for a collaboration between the Redwood Sciences Laboratory (RSL) and Point Reyes Bird Observatory to establish three monitoring stations on Upper Klamath Lake, forming the foundation of the Klamath Bird Observatory.  When KBO was incorporated in 2000, HBBO became a KBO affiliate.  HBBO, KBO, and RSL still share close working partnerships, collaborating on many projects throughout the year.  

HBBO’s education programs provide opportunities for students and members of the public to learn about birds, bird monitoring, and research techniques.  North American Banding Council certified banders and banding trainers operate the HBBO bird banding station, providing high quality data and training to young biologists.  Students from Humboldt State University contribute greatly to HBBO's program, and in turn benefit from high-quality training opportunties.  Several students have completed independent projects or Master’s theses with HBBO.

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

Thanks to all the accomplished artists and photographers who have shared their work with the Klamath Bird Observatory, with special thanks to Jim Livaudais and Gary Bloomfield. Thanks also to Ashland-based DotComJungle for their professional service and support of the KBO websites. Please send questions or comments regarding the KBO website by clicking here.