Hyla Woods

Navigation Menu

Molly Interprets the Birds

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Blog |

  The birds that live in and pass through the Hyla Woods forests have much to tell us about the changing health and condition of the forests – if we are paying attention. Our belief in this is the reason why we have worked hard over the past 15 years to understand what the birds have to teach us.  While we have dramatically improved our monitoring approaches, we have been much slower in developing the analytical strategies to make sense and meaning from our ever growing collection of monitoring data. We’re fortunate that Molly Hayes chose to fulfill her requirement to write a senior thesis as an environmental biology major at Whitman College by taking the first serious step toward analysis of Hyla Woods bird monitoring data. We want to thank Molly for taking on this challenging project and doing such a good job with it.  Molly and the rest of the Hyla Woods team also thank  her terrific advisor, Dr. Delbert Hutchison, for the guidance, support, and hard work he contributed to the project. In a future post, we will ask Molly to summarize the questions and answers that the project explored.  Stay tuned! In case it is of interest, here is her abstract: Forestry in Oregon has traditionally used an industrial model aimed to maximize timber production and revenue, with little attention to the potentially negative affects on ecosystem health and biological diversity. However, some landowners have begun experimenting with more sustainable management practices. This study examines the affect of some of these innovative silvicultural techniques on avian abundance and diversity in the Oregon Coast Range. Data on bird number and species were collected across designated stops for three years with each stop characterized by forest type (predominantly Douglas fir, mixed, or predominantly a species other than Douglas fir), understory (woody shrub, fern, or herbaceous), and treatment (control, lightly thinned, thinned, or patch cut). Total number of birds, number of birds in certain foraging guilds, and four indicator songbird species were compared across stops. Because data were collected with no clear analysis in mind, not all combinations of stop characteristics could be considered. Data were analyzed using one and...

Read More

Our Best Year of Bird Research Yet

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Blog |

A combination of key factors caused this to be our most effective and rewarding year of bird research since we began monitoring fifteen years ago.  Cooperative weather, excellent birding helpers, a smoothly running system for coordinating the counts – and – most importantly – the remarkable range of birds that live in and pass through the forest. This was our eleventh year in what we expect will be a twelve year research cycle. Here are some details from Pam Hayes, the keeper of the data: We had several new species for Mt Richmond this year (including a Coopers Hawk, Western Bluebird, Western Scrub Jay, and Fox Sparrow) as well as the return of some of our rarer (at least for Mt Richmond) favorites (the yellow chat). Quote from Lars Norgren: “Mt Richmond lies at the northern and western edge of the yellow chat’s natural occurrence on our continent, so these detections are to my mind much more significant than if they were made in Medford, OR or Salinas,KS”  We want to particularly thank Char Corkran, Lori Hennings, Lars Norgren, Nate Richardson, and Ken Chamberlain for reliably rising early and sharing their essential and impressive expertise. To say “we’d be lost without you” is more than an...

Read More

Oak Restoration – A Major Milestone Reached

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Blog |

We are fortunate in having remarkable oak stands in our Mt. Richmond Forest.  Conserving these oaks requires active management by us.  They are only there as a result of active human management over hundreds of years – in the form of native Americans regularly and deliberately burning the lands in order to keep competing trees, like douglas fir, from overtopping and killing the oaks.  With Indian burning a thing of the past, in this place, the oak have been at risk of dying from lack of that vital ingredient – sunlight. Over the past twenty years, we have worked to save the Mt. Richmond oaks by carefully removing the light blocking fir trees.  This spring we completed the fifth and final phase of this work by removing 261,000 board feet of fir that threatened oak dispersed through 60 acres of the central part of the forest.  We were fortunate to work with Brandon Epling and the rest of his fine Forest Enterprises crew.  This project and prior projects greatly benefitted from our ongoing partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District....

Read More

Students Complete Yearlong Ecological Research

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Blog |

The second graders of Catlin Gabel School helped us get started on a project that we’ve been keen to focus on for years.  Guided by their simple, central questions of “who’s home?” and “how do the organisms depend on one another?”, the students, supported by their courageous teachers and adult helpers, spent their 2013-14 school year exploring the Timber Forest, these questions and their answers.   In addition to classroom research and analysis, they did research in the forest through all seasons of the year, enjoying the chance to see the system change through the seasons and to get to know that forest more deeply.  On the afternoon of June 2nd the students did a polished and energetic job of presenting their findings to an enthusiastic adult audience.  Here is a sampler of some of the food web diagrams that were the centerpiece of their presentations. We, the Hyla Woods crew, thank the students and all who made this project so successful and fun.  What’s next?...

Read More