Activist opportunities and citizen science projects.
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Friends and Advocates of Urban Natural Areas (FAUNA): FAUNA is
an informal group of individuals and local grassroots organizations
dedicated to protecting and restoring urban watersheds for fish,
wildlife and people, and more fully integrating built and natural
environment in the Portland Metropolitan Region. Join FAUNA
by completing our online form and you will receive regular updates and action alerts related to
protecting and enhancing urban greenspaces and watersheds in our urban
and urbanizing communities.
Portland Audubon has long been a pioneer in getting citizens involved in wildlife research. Our projects focus on the intersection of our urban environment with the ecology, biology, and natural history of birds and other wildlife in the Portland metro area.
These efforts play an invaluable role in helping us track, understand and manage our local wildlife populations, as well as help influence public policy. Participation in these projects is a great way to have fun, learn about the natural world, and make a difference for wildlife. Oregon hosts 486 species of birds - making it the fifth richest in avian diversity in the nation - 209 of which spend part or all of their lives in the Portland area! You don’t need a PhD. All you need is a desire to learn, a love of birds and the patience to observe the natural world.
For more information about any of the citizen science projects listed below, contact Joe Liebezeit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great Blue Heron Monitoring
The Great Blue Heron is an iconic species in the Northwest and is Portland's official city bird. We celebrate herons' gracious presence every spring during Great Blue Heron Week. Portland Audubon has been monitoring Great Blue Heron rookeries (nesting colonies) in the Portland metro area since 2009. Great Blue Herons are an ideal species to monitor to gauge overall ecosystem health, as they are sensitive to contaminants in the environment and to other disturbances. The main objectives of this project are to assess long-term occupancy trends of rookeries in the Portland metro area and to monitor nest survivorship (ability to produce young). Surveys are conducted from late February to July and we typically conduct surveys twice a month.
Ecoroof Monitoring - Through Fall 2014
Portland Audubon is working with the City of Portland to evaluate migratory bird use of ecoroof habitat. Bird surveys are conducted three times per season during the spring and fall bird migration. Three study areas are monitored; each study area contains an ecoroof, a nearby traditional roof, and a nearby ground-level greenspace. Each survey outing consists of simultaneously monitoring each of the three sites for two hours. These surveys require a solid Pacific Northwest bird identification skillset. This study was initiated in 2012 and will continue through the fall 2014. Preliminary results indicate bird usage of ecoroofs is much higher than on traditional roofs and is similar to that of ground-level greenspaces. View the spring 2013 report.
Marbled Murrelet Training and Survey
This annual event in Yachats, Oregon introduces participants to an evening program on Marbled Murrelet biology and conservation, with a follow up on-the-ground survey the following morning, predawn! This is a unique opportunity to learn from top Murrelet researchers in the state, to witness Murrelets in flight during nest exchange, and to see Murrelets foraging in nearshore waters. Generally takes place in July. Learn more.
Christmas Bird Count
The Christmas Bird Count is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society. It’s an early-winter bird census in which volunteers follow routes through designated 15-mile diameter circles, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. The data collected by observers over the past century allows researchers and conservation biologists to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. Learn more.
Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual, four-day event in February that asks bird watchers nationwide to count birds. Anyone can participate, from beginners to experts. You can count for as little as 15 minutes for just a single day, or you can count for as long as you like for all 4 days. It’s free. It’s fun, and it’s easy. Participants count birds anywhere they wish during the four day period. Then, they record the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time. To report a count, just fill out the on-line checklist at the GBBC website or mail-in the paper version.
Swift Watch Counts - Fall and Spring
If you are interested in counting Vaux's Swifts, contact Joe Liebezeit at email@example.com. Learn more about Swift Watch | Read a report of Swift Watch count results from 2009-2013.
Mount Tabor - Winter, Spring, Fall through 2016
Portland Audubon is monitoring the bird community on Mt. Tabor in conjunction with a multi-year habitat restoration project that is underway at the site. The City of Portland is removing invasive species and planting native species in an effort to re-establish a native forest environment and to improve watershed health. Bird response to such activities can help us assess the success of these restoration efforts. Audubon conducts winter area-search surveys and standardized point counts during both spring and fall migration. View the latest report on this project.