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Informing Science-based Evaluation and Expansion of Protected Areas

****News Release: May 8, 2017 6:15 AM PDT****

Ashland, OR – New study demonstrates an improved approach to ensure protected areas enhance and conserve biodiversity. The results of the study were used to inform expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

A team of researchers from the Klamath Bird Observatory, Point Blue Conservation Science, and other partner organizations used big data and fine-scaled modeling to 1) evaluate an existing network of protected areas in the Klamath Siskiyou Bioregion or southern Oregon and northern California, and 2) to identify and prioritize new areas for protection. The study used birds as indicators of important habitats and biodiversity.

The researchers found that the region’s protected areas, including seven National Parks and Monuments, were protecting coniferous forest habitat, however adequate amounts of grassland and oak woodland habitats were not being protected. Birds that are associated with these under-protected habitats have been identified as at-risk at both national and regional scales and the conservation of grasslands and oak woodlands has become a priority.

Global Big Day—one week away

The familiar Barn Swallow (right) has been recorded in eBird from 222 countries. You can hope to spot a Barn Swallow almost anywhere on the planet, from Alaska to Argentina, Siberia to Australia, Iceland to South Africa. Barn Swallows criss-cross the equator and traverse the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Their movements not only span an entire planet of birds, but connect a worldwide community of birders.

In the same way, Global Big Day and eBird connect all of your local birds with the rest of the world, making a real difference in the collective understanding of birds worldwide. On 13 May, every bird that you report contributes to the global team total for an unprecedented snapshot of our planet’s bird diversity. Every bird counts.

April Millions

Last month brought two major milestones for eBird, amazingly each of the same bird species! On 8 April, Bill Thompson submitted a checklist from Massachusetts that included a Red-tailed Hawk: the 400-millionth sighting in eBird. A couple weeks later, Suzanne Pudelek added a photo of a Red-tailed Hawk from Michigan—the 3-millionth bird photograph in the Macaulay Library. These exciting benchmarks are a testament to the amazing contributions from you, the global community of eBirders. We’re profoundly grateful for everything that you do as a part of eBird. Thank you. Half-billion, here we come.

May eBirder of the Month Challenge

This May’s eBirder of the Month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, is all about birding on Global Big Day! 13 May is the third Global Big Day, bringing together birders around the world for birding’s biggest day. In last year’s Global Big Day we noted 6,332 species together as a global birding community—can we top that this year?! The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit 3 or more eligible checklists on 13 May. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.

Global Big Day webinars: 9 & 11 May

The Cornell Lab’s BirdSleuth K-12 education program will be hosting a webinar for educators focusing on Global Big Day. The webinar will be offered four times, twice each in English and Spanish, on 9 May and 11 May. See below for times. The English version (1 hour) will give educators the confidence to work with students around migration, eBird, and Global Big Day. During this webinar educators will learn how to define migration and understand the purpose of these seasonal movements; understand the concept of citizen science and the program eBird; explore citizen-science data through an educators perspective; and how to participate in Global Big Day. The Spanish webinar (30 minutes) will be more generalized and discuss how educators can engage their communities in Global Big Day.

International Migratory Bird Day

2017 marks the 24th year for International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) coordinated by Environment for the Americas. This is an international celebration highlighting the migration of nearly 350 bird species between their breeding grounds in North America and their wintering grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. This year, the theme is “Helping Birds Along the Way!” When birds migrate between nesting and wintering sites, they don’t just stop anywhere; they rely on a handful of resource-rich and strategically located sites where they may double their body weight as they acquire the energy-rich fat stores needed to fly thousands of kilometers across continents and oceans. These places are known as stopover sites. Learn more here, and document your spring and fall bird observations keenly using eBird and the eBird app. Whether you learn about a stopover site near your home, visit one far away, or create a safe place for birds in your backyard, your support can mean a safe journey for a migratory bird. Each species has its own migration story – learn more about the migration and stopover sites for species you commonly see, such as Tree swallow, Wilson’s warbler, Merlin, or Western sandpiper. This year, IMBD takes place on May 13th for the U.S. and Canada, and October 14th for Mexico, Central/South America, and the Caribbean. Spend the day outside and celebrate migratory birds at an event near you!

Upcoming Birding Festivals

Spring is upon us and so are many local birding festivals! Check out the list below for some upcoming Pacific Northwest birding festivals! Don’t forget International Migratory Bird Day is coming up and many events will be taking place on the weekend of May 13th to celebrate migratory birds, the journeys they make, and the stop over sites that they use.

BirdCast Migration Forecast, 21-28 April

It’s BirdCast time! Do you ever wonder what migrant birds will be arriving soon in your local birding spots? BirdCast’s weekly migration forecasts keep you up to date with what’s on deck for migration. The BirdCast forecasts highlight migrant species that you can expect to see in each of the regions covered: Upper Midwest and Northeast; Gulf Coast and Southeast; Great Plains; and West. All of these forecasts are generated with your eBird data, and wouldn’t be possible without eBirders like you! Although these forecasts are currently just for the continental US, as we get more sightings from the rest of the world we’ll be able to bring BirdCast to more parts of the world—here’s Barn Swallow progression in southeastern Asia. Read more to see what’s happening across the US in the coming days.

Spring Birding Resources – try an app! Why not?

We’re all thinking about getting out right about now – snow is melting, temperatures are warming a wee bit, the sun just feelsmore present, and daffodils, leaf buds and fruit tree flowers are showily announcing that spring is really (nearly) here! Birds are singing, setting up territories, displaying and checking out nest sites, visiting feeders more often, and we’ll see a few “newbies” in the neighborhoods we walk daily. Now is a really good time to download a few birding apps and give them a try. There are excellent help resources for these Cornell-sponsored smartphone apps which will facilitate birding wherever you are, even if you don’t have cell service!

Global Big Day—13 May 2017

It’s that time of year again! Four weeks from today is Global Big Day. Your contributions to the past two Global Big Days have set back-to-back world records for the most bird species seen in a single day. Last year’s Global Big Day featured more than 60% of the world’s bird species in a single day, with sightings coming in from more than 17,500 eBirders spread across 154 countries. Thank you for making this possible. Want to be a part of the fun again? If you need an excuse to go enjoy birds on a lovely weekend day in May, we’ve got you covered. Read more for some tips on maximizing your Global Big Day experience.