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News and Features

Citizen Scientists Needed for Short-eared Owl Surveys

The Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study (WAfLS) is currently seeking volunteers to help complete an eight-state citizen science project designed to gather information to better evaluate the population status of the Short-eared Owl. Such information is needed by conservation practitioners who want to design management actions to help reverse the Short-eared Owl population decline. The Short-eared Owl has been listed in many western States as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need and the National Audubon Society Climate Initiative has identified the species as Climate Endangered. These surveys are a critical starting point to fill information gaps for this species. Results will directly influence high-value conservation actions by state and federal agencies.

Pacific Northwest Crossbills in a Year of No Cones

Some things don’t change much. A century later, basic questions remain about the lives of cone-dependent species, typified by crossbills, particularly at times when their preferred conifers fail to produce cones. In a typical year in the conifer-rich Northwest, most species of conifers produce some cones, and it appears that crossbills of the Northwest make minor movements within the region to areas with greater cone concentrations or they switch from their preferred cone type to those from other trees. As a result, it seems that there are always some crossbills around somewhere in the region, and we don’t get a great deal of insight into what happens when neither of those options are available. It is a very rare year when there are no cones to be found anywhere in the region, so 2017, which was notable for an almost region-wide dearth of cones, provides an opportunity to learn more about their movements in response to a lack of food. In 2017, almost all of the native conifers failed to produce cones in any abundance; no matter whether they were growing in the lowlands or in the mountains, in dry zones or wet zones1. As a consequence, crossbill numbers have been at very low levels across the region, as would be expected for cone dependent species. Large numbers appear to have left the region, as other parts of the continent are experiencing notable incursions of Red Crossbills.

2018 Marks the Year of the Bird

In 2018 we are not only starting a new year but we stepping into the Year of the Bird, marking 100 years of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. Organizations and people all around the world are committing to help protect birds today and for the next hundred years. Join in and be a part of the #YearoftheBird to receive simple actions you can take part in each month to make a difference for birds. Visit the National Geographic site to read more about this special year or check out the All About Birds article 6 Resolutions To Help You #BirdYourWorld In 2018. We will keep you updated on eBird Northwest for how to stay involved throughout the year.

January eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, gives you an excuse to get out there at the start of 2018 and see what you can find! In order to qualify as the first eBirder of the Month in 2018, all you have to do is submit one eBird checklist for each day in January.

New Year’s Resolution 2018: eBird

Let 2018 be the year to step up your eBird use. If you have enjoyed tapping into eBird reports from others, set a goal to start contributing your own sightings in 2018. Submit a sighting online or via eBird Mobile to see just how easy it is to join the eBird community. If you have been participating in eBird for a long time, maybe you can add a few more checklists from your home  or by submit a few more photos and audio recordings? Have you been meaning to  enter some old records that you’d like to have in eBird? Every piece of data has value. New Year’s Resolutions are a way to set fun challenges and personal goals. Read on for some ideas for eBird Resolutions and how to make birding and eBird even more fun in 2018.

Win a free Cornell Lab Ornithology Course

We’re excited to partner with the Cornell Lab’s Bird Academy to offer a suite of exciting educational resources in thanks for your eBirding: in January, every eligible checklist that you submit gives you a chance to win free access to Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology Course. This is a ~$350 value with the included e-book, and we’ll have 5 copies to give away.

eBirding your Christmas Bird Count

Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season is upon us again! This is a great time to join others and cooperate in a massive effort across the Western Hemisphere to take a snapshot of bird occurrence around the holidays. For three weeks each year (14 December to 5 January) tens of thousands of birders head out to […]

Grassland Birds in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Grassland birds in the Willamette Valley are in trouble. With less than one percent of the area’s historical prairie habitats remaining, the species that depend on open, grassy areas to feed and raise their young are declining. At the time of Euro-American settlement, the Valley was a mosaic of wet and dry prairies, oak savannas, and forests. Native Americans, who used many of the prairie plants for food, set fires to grasslands to enhance the growth of their favorite plants and create open areas for hunting and traveling. Fire prevented many shrubs and trees from growing, resulting in vast grasslands and wildflower meadows. Since that time, development and land use, cultivation, and restrictive and alternative burning practices have all altered the landscape.

December eBirder of the Month Challenge

This month’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, encourages precise eBirding through eBird Mobile. On iOS and Android, the free eBird Mobile app allows you to ‘track’ your checklists using GPS—providing unprecedented detail in your eBird checklists on where exactly you went birding. You can just focus on birding, and let the app do the work!  The eBirder of the Month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 15 or more eligible checklists with eBird Mobile ‘tracks’ in December. Checklists must be for observations during this month; not historical checklists entered during November. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

December Bird Academy giveaway: Raptor ID

Winter is a great time for raptors, with some species like Rough-legged Hawk and Northern Goshawk only moving into some areas in winter. As wonderful as hawks are, they can be bewilderingly similar, and highly variable! We’re excited to partner with the Cornell Lab’s Bird Academyto offer a suite of exciting educational resources in thanks for your eBirding: in December, every eligible checklist that you submit gives you a chance to get free access to Be a Better Birder: Hawk and Raptor Identification.