Birding festivals are growing in popularity across the world, and increasingly these community events are becoming “eBird Festivals.” eBird festivals use eBird to track the many birds seen on the field trips offered during these events celebrating birds and birding. eBird Festivals also provide outreach, promoting the use of eBird by helping festival attendees set up their own eBird accounts and by providing information about the powerful data entry and exploration tools offered by eBird. By integrating eBird within festival activities these eBird Festivals are building on a significant opportunity for the birding community to contribute to the science that drives conservation worldwide.
Klamath Bird Observatory, a scientific non-profit organization that achieves bird and habitat conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the ranges of the migratory birds of the region, is hosting its inaugural Mountain Bird Festival in Ashland, Oregon in late May of this year. This eBird Festival places conservation front and center, and celebrates mountain bird specialties of the region, such as Great Gray Owl, White-headed Woodpecker, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Hermit Warbler, Dusky Flycatcher, and Calliope Hummingbird. Registration is open and field trip spaces are still available; visit the Mountain Bird Festival website to learn more and to register.
The Mountain Bird Festival advances bird conservation in three concrete ways. First, each festival attendee receives a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (a.k.a. the Duck Stamp) purchased with a portion of their registration fee. The Federal Duck Stamp Program is considered one of the most successful conservation programs ever; proceeds from stamp sales are used to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection within the National Wildlife Refuge System. More than 6 million acres of strategic wetland habitat have been preserved through this program over the last 80 years.
Second, all bird sightings made during Mountain Bird Festival field trips will be entered into eBird, the fastest growing biological database in the world. These data are contributing to an unprecedented understanding of the dynamic health of the natural world; such citizen-fueled information allows scientists to identify conservation priorities and better use limited conservation funds. eBird Festivals are accelerating this valuable citizen science trend and providing annual pulses of data where the field trips venture.
Third, festival attendees also receive a new Mountain Bird Conservation Science Stamp, modeled after the Duck Stamp and designed by local artist Gary Bloomfield. Each festival attendee purchases this stamp though their registration fee and proceeds support Klamath Bird Observatory’s scientific programs that inform management for healthy lands, airs, and waters in the Pacific Northwest.
The Mountain Bird Festival is a unique community conservation event that celebrates the globally outstanding Klamath Siskiyou Region of southern Oregon and northern California, recognized for its abundance of different habitats and species. The festival offers two days of field trips, a fine art auction, live music, local foods and beverages, social hours, and stimulating evening presentations. Visit the Mountain Bird Festival website to register and help elevate bird conservation.