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Western Bluebird/Climate Watch Study

Western Bluebird
photo by Cindy Fullwiler

The OPAS Western Bluebird Program started in 2014 to collect data on the nesting habits of the Western Bluebird in the OPAS chapter area of Clallam County. In the same year, National Audubon released the Audubon Birds and Climate Change Report that highlighted the risks that climate change poses to birds across North America. The report predicts that over half of North American bird species will lose 50 percent or more of their current range by the year 2080. 

In the following year, National Audubon initiated their citizen scientist program Climate Watch, to test and improve the Climate Watch model. The Western Bluebird species was selected by OPAS as the target bird.

Two surveys are conducted each year by trained volunteers.  The first, from January 15 to February 15 collects and reports data on wintering birds and the second from May 15 to June 15 during the breeding season.  Though the Western Bluebird is the target bird, volunteers count and report all birds seen in a five minute survey that strictly adheres to Audubon protocols.

Western Bluebird fledglings
photo by Cindy Fullwiler

Sixteen volunteers recently completed the May 15 to June 15, 2019 survey in Clallam County.  Ninety-one species were identified, 2,034 individual birds.  Thirty two of these individuals were our target species, the Western Bluebird with 12 adults and 20 fledglings.