By Lee Anna Sherman
A team of ornithologists, birders and citizen scientists is collecting data on Oregon birds through a project called Oregon 2020.
“Oregon has a few species of birds we know very well — like the spotted owl, the sage grouse and the meadowlark,” says W. Douglas Robinson, the Mace Professor of Watchable Wildlife at OSU and director of the project. “However, the state has more than 500 species of birds, and we know very little about many of them. One of our goals is to establish a baseline for the abundance and distribution of these birds so that we can evaluate impacts on them from disease, wildfire, climate change, or other emerging issues.”
Volunteers in each county are gathering data with help from online tutorials and guidance on collecting and logging the data, which will be part of the national eBird database run by Cornell University. The eBird site receives more than 1 million submissions a month, but few from Oregon. Periodic “bird blitzes” are held in Oregon counties, where scientists join volunteers to canvas all types of terrain.
Interested? Log onto Oregon 2020.
Oregon State ornithologists are carrying out studies from the Oregon coast to the Willamette Valley, Cascade Range, Columbia Plateau and the Zumwalt Prairie. See Avian Nations in the fall 2014 issue of Terra.