Grassland bird monitoring at the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

In the spring of 2015, Audubon Society of Portland initiated a citizen science project to monitor bird communities on four Sauvie Island grassland sites in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). These sites are undergoing habitat restoration and management intended to move them more toward historic grassland habitat that is attractive to breeding grassland bird species. Audubon Portland along with other conservation groups, dog trainers and other stakeholders participated in an ODFW led public process that resulted in the setting aside of these areas for grassland birds. This project will help determine if native grassland bird species benefit from these efforts including species of conservation concern in Oregon like the Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) and the Streaked Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) which was recently listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ODFW’s Sauvie Island Wildlife Area Management Plan includes the goal to “…protect, enhance and manage upland habitats to benefit fish and wildlife species” including 2,230 acres of grassland/pasture habitat.

In this report we provide a brief summary of findings on bird density, species richness, and vegetative habitat attributes at the four grassland sites from the 2015 monitoring effort. We provide some management recommendations as the findings are intended to assist ODFW in adaptively managing these sites to attract grassland bird species.