About Research and Education

Birds as teachers

Birds can teach us about our forest management practices. Birds' relationships with the habitats they depend on for food and shelter are well understood. Birds also respond quickly to changes in their habitat. By observing what species are using an area of the forest we can better understand the area itself. For these reasons, scientists use birds to monitor the health of forests. Locally, Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO) plays a key role in monitoring the local forests through their research within the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion.

Photo: Bird Banding Tools.

The Klamath Basin is rich in birds

The Klamath Basin supports a wealth of birds. It is a great place to watch birds and also a superb place to study birds and their habitats. KBO has several research stations in the Klamath Basin that monitor local bird populations and forest health. Bird research projects explore...

Photo: Group of People.

Snags = Healthy Forest Habitat

Priority habitats for landbirds in the Klamath Region include mixed conifer forests and riparian woodlands, which characterize some of the Klamath Basin Birding Trail sites. When the desired conditions of these forests are reached, they provide habitat (a home) for many wildlife species. Among other attributes, these forests offer snags (dead trees). Many species need snags to survive. In mixed conifer forests the species that benefit from snags include Vaux's Swift, Pileated Woodpecker, Williamson's Sapsucker, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and the Winter Wren. In riparian areas, the Tree Swallow, Downy Woodpecker, House Wren, and Northern Flicker depend on snags. When scientists find these species in a forest, it is an indication that the forest has ample snags and provides a healthy habitat.

Tools of the Trade:
Monitoring Bird Populations with Mist-nets and Bird Bands

What is Bird Monitoring?
Bird monitoring programs track bird populations and demographics over time. KBO conducts extensive bird monitoring through a variety of techniques including point counts (recording all birds seen and heard along a route), nest searching, and bird banding.

Photo: Banding a bird.

Why Band Birds?
Bird banding allows scientists to answer questions about bird populations. These questions can then inform land management practices to aid in effective bird and habitat conservation. For example, banding data tell us if birds successfully breed in an area--an indication of forest health. Banding data also tell us if birds are surviving migration, information that informs international conservation efforts.

Bird banding data can answer questions related to:

Photo: Interns looking for birds.

Bird Banding 101

First, the bird is gently caught in a soft, fine net called a mist-net. It is carefully removed by a researcher.

Next, a band (a small aluminum ring) is placed around the bird's leg like a bracelet. Engraved in the band is a unique number which will allow scientists to keep track of the bird if recaptured. Then, data about the bird are collected. These data provide answers to questions that can be used to protect birds and their habitats.

Finally, the bird is released near where it was caught and continues its daily activities.

Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion map.
The Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion

Bird Monitoring Networks:
Linking Knowledge in the Klamath Region

Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO)
KBO takes an active leadership role in regional, national, and international programs, including the Partners in Flight, Landbird Migration Monitoring Network of Americas and Klamath Demographic Monitoring Network. By linking local efforts with larger initiatives we help land managers maintain healthy forests within our region and beyond.

Klamath Demographic Monitoring Network (KDMN)
KDMN is composed of a group of agencies and private organizations in southern Oregon and northern California that promote the use of standardized methods for monitoring landbirds throughout the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion and beyond.

With over 7,000 census stations and 50 banding stations, this is North America's most concentrated network of bird monitoring sites. The data from long-term monitoring efforts provide a picture of the effect of habitat changes on birds and tracks population trends of both local breeders and migrants in the region.

Photo: Bird eggs in a nest.

In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service's Redwood Sciences Laboratory, KBO coordinates the KDMN. Klamath Basin Birding Trail sites include KDMN. Monitoring status of these sites are representative of habitats that are important for migrating, wintering, and breeding bird populations. Bird monitoring stations are located at Sevenmile Guard Station (# 9), Rocky Point (# 17), and Odessa Creek (# 24).

Landbird Monitoring of North America (LaMMNA)
LaMMNA formed in 2005 to bring together individuals, agencies, and organizations in the United States and Latin America to collect, archive, and make available monitoring results from stations across the Americas. The network will help close the gap in the knowledge of migratory and resident birds and promote cooperation and collaboration throughout the Americas.

Award-winning Partnership
KBO works closely with US Forest Service Redwood Sciences Laboratory (RSL) to coordinate these regional, national, and monitoring research efforts. The efforts from this partnership have received several national awards, including the Taking Wing Award, Partners in Flight National Leadership Award, and Best Science Manager Partnerships.

Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion
A global review of bioregions identified the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion as one of extraordinary ecological and biological richness for its diversity of climates, habitats, and species. KDMN focuses its bird monitoring efforts in this area.

Thank You!
Klamath Wingwatchers and the Klamath Basin Birding Trail would like to recognize and commend Klamath Bird Observatory (KBO), a non-profit organization, for conducting scientific studies to monitor and inventory bird populations. These studies contribute to the Partners-In-Flight efforts to keep common birds common. KBO focuses its research on the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of Southern Oregon and Northern California.

KBO's contributions and science-based research have contributed greatly to the educational materials developed for this project. Along with the development of the educational materials they have provided invaluable educational courses and after school programs to students and teachers in the Klamath Basin.

Klamath Wingwatchers, Inc. and the Klamath Basin Birding Trail Working Group would like to thank KBO and their partners:

For more information see our newsletters:

Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion map.

Oregon Stte University Extension Service.

US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Landbird Migration Monitoring Network.

US Forest Service.

US National Park Service.

US Bureau of Land Management.


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