On Birds

A view from the bird point count site on top of Lookout Mountain. Photo by Maddie Sutton, July 2023.

This is the time of year when migratory birds head south for the winter. Hermit Warblers fly two and a half thousand miles (4000 km) each fall, from their breeding grounds in the western Unities states to their wintering grounds in central America. In the spring, they’ll make the trip in reverse. When the warblers return to the Andrews Forest, graduate students Maddie Sutton and Nina Ferrari are waiting for them. Maddie, Nina, and their team record the abundance of over 80 bird species each spring across 184 locations, or points, as part of a long-term study on bird populations. That long-term study has already provided important insight into the importance of old-growth forests in providing thermal refugia for bird species that are sensitive to climate change effects. And the work continues. Maddie writes, “I have had the privilege to survey each of the bird monitoring points over the past four summers at the Andrews Forest to monitor bird presence throughout the forest. I've been fortunate to wake up with the birds singing every morning and to study how their abundance shifts across our 14-year dataset. One of my favorite spots to do point counts and conduct my dissertation research was on the top of Lookout Mountain (view from one of our points pictured below). There, we generally had our highest diversity of migratory warblers like Nashville Warbler, Hermit Warbler, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.”  To date, the area of the Lookout Fire has touched almost 75% of all long-term bird monitoring points. To see images of Maddie at work, see https://andrewsforest.oregonstate.edu/gallery/bird-study-spring-2023 and https://andrewsforest.oregonstate.edu/gallery/bird-study-2022

Originaly posted September 7, 2023