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Portland Parks & Recreation Announces Results of Forest Park BioBlitz:

News Release from: Portland Parks & Recreation
Posted: June 4th, 2012 2:03 PM
Photo/sound file: (Forest Park BioBlitz, May 2012. Courtesy: Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR. A young elk contemplates its next move after encountering a fallen tree)
Photo/sound file: (Forest Park BioBlitz, May 2012. Courtesy: Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR. Researchers survey a salamander, as it surveys the scene)

Wildlife Summary Finds More than 90 Vertebrate Species, 130+ Invertebrates

(Portland, OR) -

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) wildlife experts have compiled the data for the first ever BioBlitz for Forest Park Wildlife.
More than 140 volunteers gathered in PP&R's famous Forest Park over a 24-hour period in May. BioBlitz participants searched for and documented any and all Forest Park wildlife, including birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, snails, slugs, insects, spiders, and millipedes.

Volunteers dragged binoculars and field guides throughout the park, crawled over logs looking for amphibians, looked for bats with sonar equipment at dusk, swung butterfly nets throughout meadows, and searched high and low for Forest Park animals. Although some of the invertebrates are still being identified, more than 90 vertebrate species and 130 invertebrate species have been documented, including 66 species of birds.

PP&R thanks the wildlife experts who led the trips and the many volunteers who lent assistance, many of whom were expert observers and taxonomists.

More than two-thirds of the vertebrate species found during the BioBlitz were birds, and birds and mammals together proved to be 93% of the vertebrate species found in Forest Park. Few amphibians, reptiles, and fish were found, consistent with expectations and PP&R's current species inventory for the park.
"The expected and the unexpected," is how Portland Parks & Recreation Wildlife Studies Coordinator John Deshler describes the BioBlitz results. "Our volunteer teams found lots of great bird species, yet weren't able to find some really cool ones that are known to breed in the park. But teams especially found lots of cool invertebrates that were previously unknown in the park."

The Animals

The Bioblitz yielded four species of owl, but missed the largest breeding species, the Great Horned Owl. Volunteers Max Smith and Sarah Swanson found a Northern Saw-Whet Owl nest in the middle of the afternoon by spotting an owlet peering out from its nest cavity.
The most often detected songbirds were American Robin, Wilson's Warbler, and Pacific Wren. Cassin's Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, Bullock's Oriole, Olive-sided Flycatcher, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Yellow Warbler were some great finds among often elusive songbirds in the park.

Highlights of the BioBlitz include evidence of three previously undocumented bat species in the park. Ten species of bats are now known to use Forest Park.
Observers detected an Elk, Coyotes, Vagrant Shrews, and a Northern Flying Squirrel. "The most common mammal species we found was the noisy, cute, and ubiquitous Douglas Squirrel," says Deshler. "The fact that no voles, rabbits, rats, skunks, mountain beavers, opossum or weasels were detected is representative of their nocturnal and elusive habits, not their absence. We know many of these are out there."

Amphibians and Reptiles
The BioBlitz yielded five species of amphibians, all of them salamanders. The most abundant of the bunch was the mighty Pacific Giant Salamander - teams found 35 individuals. Interestingly, says Deshler, no frogs or newts were found.
"We know that Pacific Chorus Frogs and Northern Red-Legged Frogs are relatively common and well-distributed in the park, but the two weeks of dry weather prior to the event obviously drove them into hiding," he says.
No lizards were found during the BioBlitz, but they are believed to be restricted to a single locale in the park. Reptile diversity and abundance was already considered low in the park, so the single detection of a Common Garter Snake during the event was as expected.

Invertebrates: Snails, Slugs, Insects, and More!
Teams found many snails and slugs, and the team of PSU students led by Susan Masta found 9 species. The native Banana Slug and Robust Lancetooth were commonly found, as was the European Red Slug.
BioBlitz teams found more than 120 different species of arthropod, which include insects, arachnids (spiders) crustaceans, and more. The findings represent seven taxonomic classes, 23 orders and 68 families. Among these were 16 species of spider including a Filmy Dome Spider; three species of millipede including the common Yellow-spotted Millipede; 41 species of beetle including the lovely Western Blood-Red Lady Beetle and the Scratch-Faced Ambrosia Beetle.

Eight species of true bugs were evident, including the Red-Cross Shield Bug, plus three different bumblebee and nine ant species. Teams found 14 moths and butterflies including the invasive Cabbage White butterfly. Given additional time, the taxonomic team is likely to find even more species among the BioBlitz specimens they collected, and detailed examination of intimate structures are necessary and ongoing.

See pictures of insects found during the BioBlitz here:
Portland Parks & Recreation's "Wildversation" page:
For more information, call 503-823-5300 or visit

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