Birder's Guide

MAY 2015

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 17 of 35

16 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2015 6 B t the southern end of the Rogue River Valley, where the ancient Siskiyou Mountains butt up against the younger and more jagged Cascades and their line of active volcanoes, there lies the small and inviting town of Ashland, Oregon. It is here that a small group of dedicated individuals are busy orga- nizing the second annual Mountain Bird Festival—an event hosted in May 2015 by Klamath Bird Observa- tory that proudly places conservation front and center. The larger region of southern Oregon and northern California is sometimes referred to as the mythical state of Jefferson in homage to past secessionist movements to create a ffty-frst state. This remote region is an at- tractive setting for a birding festival for many reasons. The natural beauty of the area can be overwhelming. To the east of Ashland, the Cascades rise up from the valley foor at a steady pace; their lower foothills are clothed in grasslands and oak woodlands that eventu- ally give way to conifer forests studded with mountain meadows and natural lakes. In the mornings, dramatic bands of clouds reveal the scale of the landscape. In the late afternoons, a popular activity is to sit outside Ash- land's Caldera Brewery and watch the red sunlight slide up the Cascade range, lingering last on Grizzly Peak. Towering above Ashland to the west are the steep- sided and heavily forested Siskiyous, with their granite heart. From nearly any vantage point in these moun- tains, one can admire a series of ridgelines leading to the horizon. The possibilities for exploration seem end- less. For visiting and local birders, the mountain birds offer the most compelling reason to venture outside. Many mountain birds live and breed in habitats less than a half hour drive from downtown Ashland. They range from alpha predators, like the Great Gray Owl A View of the southern Rogue Valley from a lookout in Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, located 10 miles southeast of Ashland. Photo © Brandon Breen Mountain Bird Festival Conservation on the Wings of the Mountain Bird Festival

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