Support
Subscribe
Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.

DONATE

You are here

Dippers on the Elwha

Salmon are bringing new vitality to the ecosystem
© Tony Mitra View Large

In 2014, the dams on the Elwha River in Washington State were removed. As the river ran free again, salmon from the Pacific were able to spawn upstream for the first time in 100 years, dramatically improving conditions for American Dippers. Recent research has demonstrated that birds with access to salmon have higher survival rates. And they are 20 times more likely to attempt to raise two broods in a season, the most important contributor to population growth.
Support for BirdNote comes from Audubon Park Wild Bird Food, owned by a bird-loving family for 60 years. Info, and why bird-loving runs in familes, at audubonpark.com.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Dippers of the Elwha

Written by Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.
In 2014, on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, the dams on the Elwha River were removed. It was the largest removal of its kind in history. As the river ran free again, salmon from the Pacific were able to spawn upstream for the first time in 100 years – having a dramatic impact on American Dippers - lively little river side birds.    
[Song of American Dipper]
Biologists with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and Ohio State University drew small samples of blood from dippers that they then released unharmed. Analysis of blood and feathers show that birds with access to salmon have higher survival rates and the females have better body condition than those with no access to the fish.  These dippers are also much more likely to stay on their home territories, rather than expend energy to forage widely.  And they are 20 times more likely to attempt raising two broods in a season, the most important contributor to population growth.
So nutrients from spawned-out salmon and salmon eggs are giving the river’s ecosystem new vitality.
Today’s show is brought to you by Forterra — creating great communities and conserving great lands in Washington state. For BirdNote I’m Mary McCann.
 
[Song of American Dipper] 
                                                                               ###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. American Dipper [8992] recorded by R S Little
River ambience recorded by Chris Peterson. ‘Stream, Moderate’ Track 18 Nature SFX recorded by Gordon Hempton at http://www.quietplanet.com
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org   May 2018   Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#                 AMDI-04

Sights & Sounds

Related field notes:

Home
Shows
Galleries
More