Private lands in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California are especially important for the conservation of oak habitats. Oak habitats have suffered heavy losses and most remaining oak habitats—those not converted for human use or harmed by encroaching vegetation as a result of fire suppression—occur on private lands. An exciting opportunity exists for landowners and conservation partners to work together to restore native oak systems and their diverse wildlife communities.
A single parcel of healthy oak habitat can provide food and shelter for an amazing variety of birds. Oak habitats support birds that live year-round as residents, birds that visit on migration to rest and refuel, and birds that stay either for the summers or winters. By observing which birds occur in an oak habitat, we learn about the capacity of the land to support wildlife.
If you’re a private landowner undertaking oak restoration in the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, then monitoring birds before and after restoration activities on your land is a great way to document the ecological benefits of restoration. If you’re a private landowner considering oak habitat restoration on your land, you may learn more about the process and its rewards through Restoring Oak Habitats in Southern Oregon and Northern California: A Guide for Private Landowners.
Below are some simple directions for monitoring birds on your land in association with your oak restoration activities:
(1) Choose a walking route on your land that will take approximately 15-30 minutes to complete.
(2) Walk this route at the same time of day, preferably within 4 hours of sunrise when birds are most active, on an approximately weekly or monthly basis.
(3) On each walk, record how many of each bird species you are able to identify. Be conservative when recording numbers of birds, trying not to “double count” individual birds. An example datasheet for recording your bird sightings is included as an appendix in Restoring Oak Habitats in Southern Oregon and Northern California: A Guide for Private Landowners.
(4) Use your computer to enter your bird observations into the eBird website: www.ebird.org/nw. By entering your observations you will join one of the most significant conservation programs in the world. Click here for instructions on how to use eBird.
(5) Have fun and share your knowledge of birds with friends and family. Over time, watch how your bird list changes as new species appear on your land and other birds increase in abundance.
Funding for the creation of the document Restoring Oak Habitats in Southern Oregon and Northern California: A Guide for Private Landowners came from the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management, a Toyota TogetherGreen grant managed by Klamath Basin Audubon Society, and the Rural Schools and Community Development Act. The document was authored by Klamath Bird Observatory and Lomakatsi Restoration Project, and additional support came from US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Klamath-Siskiyou Oak Network, and Natural Resources Conservation Service.