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Conservation Matters

Conservation Matters – Conservation Matters is the title of of our conservation column in the bi-monthly OPAS Harlequin Happenings newsletter. We will post our column every two months for you to read.


Citizen Science ( from May – June Harlequin Happenings newsletter)

by Mary Porter-Solberg, Conservation Co-chair

Several OPAS volunteers helped to celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by staffing a booth at the Port Angeles City Pier in celebration of science. At the event, we featured OPAS citizen science projects to inform our community how data affects our approach to conservation by providing vital information about bird populations and trends. These data alerts us to environmental threats not only to birds, but to the larger ecosystems we all depend on.

More than a century ago, Audubon pioneered the idea of citizen science with the first Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The data compiled from the CBC helped provide the basis of the 2014 Audubon Birds and Climate Change Report that shows how a changing climate will impact bird distribution and their habitat.

OPAS citizen science projects include the Wednesday morning bird walk, the Purple Martin nest box project, the Trumpeter Swan study, the Pigeon Guillemot study, and the Western Bluebird watch program. We also participate in the Puget Sound seabird study in partnership with Seattle Audubon.

We are always looking for volunteers to participate in these studies. The 8:30 am Wednesday morning bird walk helps us better understand the annual cycle of the birds of Railroad Bridge Park and is open to everyone. The summer Pigeon Guillemot Study will begin with training May 16 from 10 am-12 pm at the River Center. Contact Ed Bowlby at edbowlby2@gmail.com. Purple Martins are back and checking out the nest boxes at 3-Crabs. For information about how you can observe or help with the project, contact Ken Wiersema at (360) 683-4763. Western Bluebirds are observed in our area, but are they nesting? Yes, they are nesting and you can help! Contact Joyce Volmut at joyce.volmut@gmail.com. The Puget Sound Seabird Study takes place from October 2017 until April 2018 with Toby Ross tobyr@seattleaudubon.org coordinating the study. The Trumpeter Swan Study has concluded, but we will be asking for additional volunteers beginning November 2017 until April 2018. For more information, contact Mary Porter-Solberg at mportersolberg@gmail.com.

Citizen Science studies not only provide important data, but you will have some fun while you learn more about the birds and their habitats in our area. Please join us!