On Nov. 28, 2007, National Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy released NATIONAL WATCHLIST 2007, the newest and most scientifically sound list of America’s birds at greatest risk. Fifty-four of the species identified as either “Red List- Critically Imperiled” or “Yellow List- At Risk of becoming Critically Imperiled” are found in Oregon, representing 11% of the total number of bird species found in State.
This WatchList is a wake-up call that we need to take immediate action to protect Oregon’s birds, ranging from our oceans to our mountains to our deserts. A significant number of species on the WatchList occur right in the Portland metro area, including willow flycatcher, olive-sided flycatcher, short-eared owl and varied thrush. Preventing the species on the new WatchList from slipping toward extinction will take concerted effort that begins in our own backyards and extends out across the entire state.
For more information on National WatchList, go to:
For information on how you can help protect birds in your backyard go to: For the Bird: Protecting Birds in Your Backyard and Beyond.
Red List: Oregon birds that are critically imperiled
Yellow List: Oregon birds at risk of becoming critically imperiled
Northern Spotted Owl: (WatchList Red) It comes as no surprise that the Northern Spotted Owl has made the 2007 WatchList. The Northern Spotted Owl was listed as “Threatened” under the Federal Endangered Species Act in 1990 due to “loss and adverse modification” of the old growth habitat on which it depends. Despite habitat protections in place since the Northwest Forest Plan was adopted in 1994, the spotted owl has continued to see population declines across its range. Despite this situation, the current administration has attempted to role back protections for the old growth habitat on which spotted owls and hundreds of other species depend. Audubon is actively proposed reductions in existing old growth protections that are currently proposed in the US Fish and Wildlife Service Draft Spotted Owl Recovery Plan and the Bureau of Land Managements Western Oregon Plan Revisions. Learn how Portland Audubon is working to protect Northern Spotted Owls.
Marbled Murrelet: (WatchList Yellow) Currently listed as “Threatened” under the Federal Endangered Species Act, the Marbled Murrelet is a small seabird that nests in natural mossy depressions of coastal old growth trees. Murrelet declines are directly connected to loss of old growth nesting habitat. However the murrelet also faces significant threats in its marine environment including oil spills, declines in prey base and gill netting. Audubon is working to restore Marbled Murrelet Populations through its efforts to protect old growth habitat, establish permanent Marine Protected Areas and by working to prevent rollbacks of existing protections afforded under the Endangered Species Act. Learn how Portland Audubon is working to protect Marbled Murrelets.
Lewis’s Woodpecker: (WatchList Red) Once considered “abundant” across Oregon, this woodpecker has seen dramatic populations declines and has been nearly extirpated from portions of its historic range including the Willamette Valley. Breeding Bird Surveys indicate a 75% reduction in populations over the past 40 years. Causes for its decline include loss of lowland oak habitat and competition for nest holes from introduced European starlings.
Greater Sage Grouse: (WatchList Yellow) Known for their elaborate courtship displays, the greater sage grouse is found in shrub-steppe habitat across much or Eastern Oregon. The species depends on large expanses of shrub-steppe habitat for breeding. Declines are associated with loss of shrub-steppe habitat, habitat fragmentation and human disturbance.
Snowy Plover: (WatchList Yellow) The Snowy Plover is a shorebird that has been listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act since 1993.. Historically found along the entire Oregon Coast, Snowy Plovers are today limited to just a handful of nesting sites The main threats to the ground nesting Snowy Plover include habitat loss due to encroachment of invasive European Beach Grass, predation by wild and domestic animals, and disturbance from human activity
Olive-sided Flycatcher: (WatchList Yellow) The Olive-sided Flycatcher breeds in the coniferous forests of Oregon. Breeding Bird Survey data shows a >80% population decline in Oregon over the past 40 years. Population declines are believed to be associated with habitat alteration due to clear-cutting and fire suppression and loss of wintering grounds. Olive-sided Flycatchers can still be found breeding in the onifer forests around Portland.
Willow Flycatcher: (WatchList Yellow) The willow flycatcher breeds across Oregon and is most commonly associated with willow thickets bordering riparian areas, but can be found breeding at elevations of up to 5,000 feet. Once considered “common” in Oregon, the willow flycatcher is in decline due to loss of riparian habitat, disturbance from grazing and human development, and cowbird parasitism. Oregon Breeding Bird Survey data shows a >88% population decline over the past 40 years. Some nesting populations can still be found around Portland at Smith and Bybee Lakes and at the Sandy River Delta, but they have completely disappeared in other locations.
Short-eared Owl: (WatchList Yellow) The Short-eared owl is a ground nesting owl that is found in open country across Oregon. Christmas Bird Counts indicate a 40% population decline in Oregon over the past 40 years. Cause of decline include loss of native prairie habitat and wetlands. It has largely disappeared from significant portions of its historic breeding range including the Klamath Basin and Willamette Valley.
Varied Thrush: (WatchList Yellow) The Varied Thrush was a surprise addition to the 2007 Watchlist. This familiar relative of the Robin breeds in conifer forests of the Coast Range and the Cascades and winters in low elevation woodlands and forests. They are a common winter visitor to forested backyards in and around Portland. Breeding Bird Surveys indicate a -23.9% in breeding populations in Oregon during the past 40 years. Oregon declines are believed to be associated with forest fragmentation. More significant declines are associated with habitat loss and fragmentation in the Northern Boreal Forests of Canada.