Author: Elva Manquera

Western Forest Initiative

The Western Forest Initiative currently being explored seeks to halt and reverse the declines of Western forest birds by informing active forest management that aligns multiple benefits for our most imperiled birds and the people of the West.

  • Over 50% of forest-dependent birds in the West are in decline
  • Landscape-level conservation actions are needed now more than ever
  • Joint Ventures are well positioned to support Western communities in improving forest health

Bird Habitat Supports Clean Water

Forests with healthy watersheds that are more resilient to wildfire will benefit communities and play an important role in Western Forest bird recovery. The Joint Ventures envision spurring a multi-million dollar Western Forest Initiative designed to reduce the decline of many bird species.

This migratory bird initiative is unique in that it will be championed, marketed, and delivered through a lens of supporting Western communities in improving forest health to reduce the risk of unprecedented wildfire, improve watershed function and downstream water supplies, and address the needs of other key wildlife species and habitats.

It will be a framework for forest sector companies, small woodland owners, ranchers with forest allotments, innovators in the private capital water investment and forest resilience bond arena, NGOs, tribes, federal and state agencies, and Partners inFlight to drive change through coproduced, community-based approaches that benefit birds and people – creating a new era of forest restoration and Natural Infrastructure Jobs.

Western Forest Initiative Brief

Data Synthesis Process:

  1. Identify priority birds by Bird Conservation Region (BCR 5, 9, 10, 16)
  2. Examine recommended action as a measure of urgency
  3. Create a spatial layer of select species richness (# priority bird species)
  4. Describe forest types using vegetation classes
  5. Examine restoration needed by forest departure
  6. Examine climate risk
  7. Examine the benefits to water

Northern Pacific Rainforest Bird Conservation Region Priority Birds (BCR 5)

Great Basin Bird Conservation Region Priority Birds (BCR 9)

Northern Rockies Bird Conservation Region Priority Birds (BCR 10)

Southern Rockies Colorado Plateau Bird Conservation Region Priority Birds (BCR 16)

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Rufous Hummingbird: State of the Science and Restoration

Rufous Hummingbird: State of the Science and Restoration provides the best available information about the biology and conservation of Rufous Hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus). Rufous Hummingbirds are a charismatic and remarkable migratory bird, and through their role as pollinators, they provide important ecological services across their range in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. There is a great opportunity for concerned communities, bird lovers, and conservation scientists to rally together to develop a full life cycle conservation strategy to protect this long-distance migrant throughout its entire range. This strategy should include the ranking of threats, the prioritization and implementation of conservation strategies and actions, and coordinated efforts to fill information gaps, monitor population trends, and demographics, and measure the effectiveness of our conservation efforts.

 

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Short-eared Owl Occupancy Prediction map

Miller et al 2019 WAfLS annual report croppedThe Short-eared Owl Occupancy Prediction map is an ArcGIS online web app. The purpose is to allow the user to explore models of short-eared owl occurrence both in the present and in future climate scenarios. The data have been summarized at 10km MGRS grids that were included in the sampling frame for the surveys. To learn more about the project and short-eared owls click here.

Click here to access the tool.

 

 

Climate Tool

Pacific Northwest Watershed Summary of Avian Climate Change Vulnerability

The Pacific Northwest Watershed Summary of Avian Climate Change Vulnerability tool is designed to allow resource managers to view graphical summaries of predicted avian vulnerability to climate change at a watershed (HUC12) scale. The tool displays zonation scores as a ranking of the importance of a given location based on a conservation prioritization exercise. Zonation scores are provided for four groups of birds grouped by associated vegetation type (conifer, grassland, oak, and riparian). The tool also provides information about predicted density for 26 bird species based on both current and future predicted climate scenarios.

Click here to explore the climate tool: https://aknw.shinyapps.io/nplccclimatetool/

For a detailed explanation of data and analysis see:

Veloz, S., L. Salas, B. Altman, J. D. Alexander, D. Jongsomjit, N. Elliott, and G. Ballard. 2015. Improving effectiveness of systematic conservation planning with density data. Conservation Biology 29:1217–1227. Click here

Veloz, S., L. Salas, B. Altman, J. D. Alexander, D. Jongsomjit, N. Elliot, and G. Ballard. 2013. Current and future distribution and abundance of North Pacific birds in the context of climate change: Final report to the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative (Agreement number 13170BG101). PRBO Conservation Science, Petaluma, CA. Click here

USFSPoint Blue - conservation science for a healthy planetKlamath Bird Obervatory
Birds Eye Habitat Tool

Bird’s Eye Habitat Tool

The Bird’s Eye Habitat Tool is intended to allow resource managers to view graphical summaries of prediction bird habitat at multiple scales. Multi-species habitat indices and species habitat values are based on species-centered distribution models (SDMs) for 32 focal species in the Klamath Mountains Ecoregion of southern Oregon and northern California. Habitat objective descriptions for the 32 focal species provide context for the graphical outputs.

Click here to access the tool: https://aknw.shinyapps.io/birdseyehabitat/

Click Here for an in-depth instruction manual and analysis methods

Funding to support the Bird’s Eye Habitat Tool was provided by the US Forest Service Klamath National Forest. The tool was developed in collaboration by Klamath Bird Observatory using modeling approaches developed in partnership with Oregon State University.

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Population Objectives Regional Trends (PORT) Tool

Partner in Flight’s Population Objectives Regional Trends (PORT) Tool is derived from a similar tool developed for Bobolink by James Herkert and Rosalind Renfrew. It has two primary purposes:
1. To allow users to explore population trajectories of PIF landbird Watch List species over the next 30 years at range-wide and regional scales under three scenarios: (a) if no additional conservation action takes place (i.e., trends of the last decade continue unabated); (b) if PIF 2016 Landbird Conservation Plan trend goals (pp. 24–27, Appendix B) are achieved; and (c) if regional trend goals established by resource managers are achieved.
2. To facilitate discussion and coordination of population trend targets among neighboring regional-scale conservation partners in order to meet range-wide conservation goals.

Access the PORT tool here: https://aknw.shinyapps.io/PIF_PopEstimatesTool/

PORT information and instructions Click Here.

Funding to support Population Objectives Regional Trends (PORT) was provided by the Canadian Wildlife Service. The tool was developed in collaboration by Klamath Bird Observatory in partnership with the USFWS Division of Migratory Birds.

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State Coordinators

Please direct all of your questions and comments to your state coordinator.

California
Carie Battistone
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
916-445-3615
carie.battistone@wildlife.ca.gov

Idaho
Heather Hayes
Intermountain Bird Observatory
heathermhayes@boisestate.edu

Montana
Matt Larson
Owl Research Institute
owlinstitute@outlook.com

Nevada
Joe Barnes
Nevada Department of Wildlife
jbarnes@ndow.org

Oregon
Nate Trimble
Klamath Bird Observatory
541-201-0866 ext. 5
nlt@Klamathbird.org

Utah
Annette Hansen
Hawkwatch International
801-484-6808
ahansen@hawkwatch.org

Washington
Joe Buchanan
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Joseph.Buchanan@dfw.wa.gov

Wyoming
Mason Lee
University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute
307-766-6240
mlee37@uwyo.edu

 

Status and Monitoring of Short-eared Owls

This paper, published in Airo, presents results from monitoring in North and South America.  Click here to view PDF.

Gahbauer, M. A., R. A. Miller, N. Paprocki, A. Morici, A. C. Smith, and D. A. Wiggins. 2021. Status and monitoring of Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) in North and South America. Proceedings of the 2017 World Owl Conference. Évora, Portugal. Airo 29:115–142.

Abstract

The breeding range of the Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) in North America includes all 13 Canadian provinces and territories, and approximately 25 states in the United States; the wintering range extends south to northern Mexico. It is listed as a species of Special Concern in Canada under the Species at Risk Act and subject to special protection in Mexico, but is not covered under the United States Endangered Species Act, although NatureServe has ranked the species as imperiled or critically imperiled in 21 states. In South America, it is found in eight countries, and is considered vulnerable in Argentina. Its conservation status is highly influenced by assessment of population trends, which are derived from multiple sources, each of which has advantages and limitations. In North America, both the Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Count reveal a widespread decline over the past half century, especially in the midwest and northeast United States. Several second-generation state and provincial breeding bird atlases have shown a reduction in the occurrence of Short-eared Owls compared to initial results approximately 20 years earlier. Overall though, traditional multi-species monitoring programs have not been effective at assessing Short-eared Owl populations. The Western Asio flammeus Landscape Study (WAfLS) is the first regional monitoring effort specific to this species, using standardized surveys and modeling the results using occupancy analysis. Over its first three years, it has already yielded valuable data on population fluctuations, and the WAfLS approach can be readily adapted to other regions. In South America, monitoring to date has been more limited and further research is required, but it is thought there have also been widespread declines related to habitat loss.

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