In September of 2020, multiple fires damaged or destroyed much of the riparian (riverside) habitat along the Bear Creek Greenway in Jackson County, Oregon. The Bear Creek Greenway is a 20-mile paved path that runs through a large swath of riparian habitat in an otherwise mostly urban part of the Rogue Valley, and is an important community resource for both recreation and wildlife habitat. Riparian vegetation is a crucial habitat type for many bird species who rely on deciduous plants and nearby water to breed, survive the winter, or rest and refuel during migration.
The Rogue Valley Audubon Society, in partnership with the Klamath Bird Observatory, Rogue River Watershed Council, the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy, and southern Oregon birders are coming together to monitor changes in the Bear Creek bird community as riparian vegetation recovers, alterations are made to the Greenway to reduce fire risk, and habitat restoration efforts take effect. Surveys will begin during the second week of January, 2021 and will take place during the second and fourth week of every month for the foreseeable future. Interested volunteers can sign-up anytime using the sign-up sheet posted below.
Surveys involve walking two half mile transects placed at various locations along Bear Creek, creating a tally of bird species detected, and uploading your observations into eBird. They will take place in severely burned, moderately burned, and unburned areas so that changes in the bird community can be compared among these sites. The survey protocol, site maps and descriptions, and the sign-up sheet can be found below. Directions for how to sign up and a detailed description of what surveying involves can be found in the protocol.
If you are an experienced birder, please consider using your skills to help in the recovery of this valuable habitat and community resource.