Working Lands

Songbird Survey in Eastern Washington

Monitoring the birds of the sagebrush sea.

Audubon Washington and eastern Washington chapters are developing a new cooperative conservation program focused on the shrub steppe ecosystem and its bird life. This community science project matches Audubon Washington and chapters with the Washington Department of Wildlife (WDFW) to establish a long-term sagebrush avian census. 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. Some of the best remaining habitat for these and other sage obligate species is public land owned or managed by Washington state.

The breeding songbird data collected through this project is housed in eBird and the data 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.

Sagebrush Songbird Survey Report, Fall 2016

Volunteers find focal species and other surprises - read the Sagebrush Songbird Survey Annual Report here.

Get Involved

Join us for the 2017 season.

Field Training

What: Identify bird species in their habitat, practice protocols, and sign up for surveys.
Dates: April 1 - 2, 2017
Location: TNC Moses Coulle Field Station and Sagebrush Flat Wildlife area.
Lead: WDFW scientists Matt Vander Haegen, Michael Schroeder, and David St. George
Training Details

RSVP: Christi Norman at

eBird Classroom Training

What: Improve your skills for the Sagebrush Songbird Survey
Dates: March 22 - 23, 2017
Locations: Wenatchee and Leavenworth
Lead: Wendy Connally (WDFW) and Susan Ballinger (Chelan-Douglas Land Trust)
Details TBA
RSVP: Christi Norman at

2017 Survey Dates

April May June
13-16 11-13 1-4
20-23 18-21 8-11

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


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


Intermountain West Joint Venture
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

How you can help, right now