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 and you will receive regular updates and action alerts related to protecting and enhancing urban greenspaces and watersheds in our urban and urbanizing communities in the Portland-Metro region. How do I join FAUNA? To become a member of FAUNA, just complete the form!
by Mary Coolidge
Despite centuries of accumulated research into the ecology, biology, and natural history of all the species with which we share this planet, there remains far more that we don’t know about these animals, even those that seem familiar and close at hand. At a time when we are changing the ecology of our planet at a rate previously unsurpassed, even those things that we think we know can no longer be taken for granted.
The observations of citizens can play an invaluable role in helping us track, understand, and manage our local wildlife populations. Audubon has long been a pioneer in getting citizens involved in wildlife research. These are a great way to have fun, learn about the natural world, and make a difference for wildlife. Oregon hosts 486 species of birds, the fifth most avian diversity rich state 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.
This new survey in the city of Portland aims to evaluate the habitat role that ecoroofs may be playing for local bird populations. The study will occur mornings during spring and fall bird migration. Three study areas will be monitored; each study area contains an ecoroof, a nearby traditional roof, and a nearby ground-level greenspace. Each survey outing will consist of simultaneously monitoring for two hours at an ecoroof, a nearby traditional roof, and a nearby greenspace, so volunteers may not be guaranteed to be surveying on an ecoroof, but will be part of a very cool new data collection effort! This requires a solid PNW bird identification skillset.
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.
Great Blue Heron Inventory
The GBH is one of the Northwest’s most iconic species and is the official Portland city bird. Herons are colony nesters, and rookeries are highly vulnerable to habitat alterations, human disturbance, and natural changes to the environment. Heron Rookery Stewards observe and track changes at specific rookeries in the metropolitan region, including on Ross Island, Smith and Bybee Wetlands, Heron Lakes Golf Course, and Government Island.
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.
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 Monitoring/Colony Inventory
Swift Migration has become a celebrated fall Portland event among locals and visitors alike. Chapman School is host to the largest known Swift roost in the world, but is not the only place in the region where swifts spend the night. Grab a clicker and get involved in helping us monitor other swift-friendly chimneys in our area!
In recent years, researchers have noticed unexplained declines in populations of North America’s smallest falcon, the American Kestrel. Last year, Portland Audubon launched a Sauvie Island Kestrel Nest Box Project. Volunteers are trained in road survey methodology and have the opportunity to monitor individual nest sites or to help install Kestrel Nest Boxes.
Portland Audubon has been coordinating Peregrine monitoring in the Portland Metropolitan region since 1994. Of the known nests in Oregon, 5% occur in the Portland areas. Bridges provide nesting habitat that mimics Peregrine affinity for cliff dwelling, but that come with additional hazards. Human disturbance, narrow ledges, and erratic wind downdrafts can create potentially lethal threats to fledglings. Our teams of vigilant Peregrine Watchers monitor nest activity and educate the public at the OMSI lookout, all the while keeping an eye out for trouble. Portland's Peregrine Falcons
Bird Safe Portland (ON HOLD)
Bird Window strikes account for the death of millions of birds worldwide every year. Portland Audubon is spearheading a study to determine the rate of this problem in our rapidly expanding skyline. We have laid out early morning survey routes in 5 areas around the greater downtown area to be walked by volunteers intensively throughout the month of September. We need your help collecting this first-ever data set in Portland! Routes begin at sunrise (and run an hour or two) in order to find dead and injured birds before they are removed by scavengers and street and sidewalk maintenance crews. Contact Deanna Sawtelle for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-292-6855.
Important Bird Area Point Count Monitoring
The IBA Program is an international program that identifies and protects outstanding lands for birds, building an interconnected landscape of sites that have stellar avian value as breeding or migratory refugia. Conservation efforts rely on baseline data and ongoing monitoring to identify priorities and measure project effectiveness. Join a monitoring team on your favorite IBA! More...