Working Lands

Songbird Survey in Eastern Washington

Monitoring the birds of the sagebrush sea.

Audubon Washington and local Audubon chapters work together to protect the bird life of the sagebrush steppe in Eastern Washington. At the core of our efforts is the Sagebrush Songbird Survey, a community science project developed in partnership with the Washington Department of Wildlife (WDFW). The data collected in this multi-year, million-acre survey helps us find the best remaining habitat areas for sagebrush birds in our state. Our three target species - Sagebrush Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, and Brewer's Sparrow - function as "umbrella" species for other birds with similar sagebrush and shrub steppe habitat associations. Having a better understanding of where our target birds occur helps us pinpoint high priority areas for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems.

The breeding songbird data collected through the survey is housed in eBird and will be used to validate the Western Governors Association Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool distribution models and update the WDFW Priority Habitat Species database. Ultimately, the Sagebrush Songbird Survey project will inform large-scale conservation projects and help wildlife values become incorporated into multi-state land use, transportation, and energy and climate planning.

Please join us!

Looking for an opportunity to bird off the beaten path in Eastern Washington and make a difference for conservation science? Our 2018 field season starts soon and runs April 12 - June 15. New volunteers must complete a training workshop to participate. You’ll meet fellow volunteers and program leaders, learn or refresh your bird identification skills, practice using our field survey protocol, and reserve your 2018 survey sites.

If you’re a new volunteer, please select a training session on either March 25 in Kirkland or April 7 in Kittitas County and RSVP to the local leaders listed below.

Questions? Please contact Christi Norman, Program Director, Audubon Washington.

Classroom Training

Date: March 13, 2018, 5-8pm
Location: Keewaydin Library, 405 S Dayton St, Kennewick, WA 99336
RSVP: Robin Priddy, email address

Date: March 25, 2018, 9am - 3:30pm
Location: Kirkland Fire Station #26, 9930 124th Avenue NE, Kirkland, WA 98033 
RSVP: Cindy Easterson, email address

Date: March 31, 2018, 11:30am - 3:30pm
Location: North Spokane Library, 44 E Hawthorne Rd, Spokane, WA 99218
RSVP: Lindell Haggin, email address

Field Training

Date: April 7, 2018, 10am - 4pm
Location: Whisky Dick Wildlife Area from Old Vantage Hwy 
RSVP: Richard Scranton for exact location, email address

Date: April 7, 2018, 8am - 10am
Location: Sagebrush Flats Wildlife Area, East Coyote/ Douglas County Road 8 SE., North entrance: 47.49797 -119.68366
RSVP: Lindell Haggin, email address

For more information about the Sagebrush Songbird Survey, contact Christi Norman, Audubon Washington.

Photo: Bruce McCammon


The sagebrush songbird survey is part of a collaborative partnership between the National Audubon Society and ESRI. This partnership has allowed chapter leaders to develop new skill sets, teaching each other best practices for survey site selection.  Using online ArcGIS techniques we created new processes to assess survey sites which are then groundtruthed by project volunteers.

Volunteer Resources

Field Documents

Training Resources


Program Contact
Christi Norman, Audubon Washington

Sagebrush Songbird Survey Annual Reports

Sagebrush Songbird Survey 2017 Annual Report 
Sagebrush Songbird Survey 2016 Annual Report


Intermountain West Joint Venture
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

How you can help, right now