Last month we had the pleasure of welcoming to Youngberg Hill Ornithology Professor Don Powers of George Fox University, and nearly two dozen of his current and former wildlife biology students. Professor Don and his group conducted on March 17 the first ever Youngberg Hill Vineyards Native Bird Study.
It was a lucky day for bird-spotting, as forty different native species were identified in less than three hours! Highlights included a gorgeous Pileated Woodpecker, Merlins, Kestrels and a Northern Harrier Raptor. Our resident eagles made a regal appearance soaring over the vineyard rows. The students were an enthusiastic bunch, tramping through the muck of the vineyard and recording everything they saw.
We ended the experience with a hearty lunch in the warmth of the dining room. If you have been following our blogs this winter, you are probably well aware of our ongoing trouble with the non-native European starlings that eat so many of our grapes during harvest time. We were especially pleased to see that only one or two starlings were sighted, and that the avian diversity of our vineyard ecosystem looks very healthy.
Professor Don was very impressed by the species count and said that if the weather had been better (it rained, of course!) we would have seen even more native species. This initial effort was so successful that we have decided to monitor our native bird population’s health on a regular basis by conducting quarterly surveys with Dr. Powers and his wonderful George Fox students.
Upon the completion of our new vineyard panorama deck, we will also be launching a “Wet Your Beak” wine tasting, in honor of our feathered friends. Imagine spotting colorful native birds while sipping our tasty organically grown flight of Pinot noirs.
Now that’s our kind of birding!