From the Vaults – 2002 Story on INLT’s Songbird Habitat Survey

December 27, 2016

Here is a press release from 2002 about the Songbird Survey conducted by INLT’s then conservation manager, Heather Bateman.

Habitat Survey Rates Songbird Habitat for Priority Protection

Inland Northwest Land Trust Focuses on the Little Spokane River Valley

SPOKANE—-A new project to identify and rate the best songbird habitat is taking place in the Little Spokane River Valley. Inland Northwest Land Trust, a non-profit land conservation group, is conducting a bird survey in the rich riparian wetlands along the river in May and June 2002. Participating landowners will receive information on preserving and enhancing songbird habitat as well as a report on the species present on their property.

The presence of songbirds is an indication of the quality of habitat. “Birds are not tied to a particular piece of land. If they don’t have good habitat in one area, they fly to someplace better,” said Bateman. “Where there is a rich variety of songbirds, we know there is a larger piece of quality habitat.” This survey will provide information for the land trust to prioritize and focus its land saving efforts over the next several years.

The land trust works with private landowners to conserve open space in the Inland Northwest. The Little Spokane River Valley is within the “Threads of Hope,” a project to preserve the vital links, greenways and wildlife corridors winding across our region. The land trust will use the survey to further target their land-saving efforts within the Little Spokane “thread.”

Heather Bateman, the land trust’s Threads of Hope coordinator, will utilize her years of field experience to rate habitat using a Songbird Habitat Scorecard which measures presence of bird species as well as the type and size of habitat. “I’m pleased to find that there are more riparian species present than I expected. There were grey catbirds, willow flycatchers, yellow warblers, and common yellowthroat. The area has declined in the last few decades, but I found pockets of good quality habitat – willows, alders, and hawthorne along the river banks.

The Spokane Audubon Society, Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife contribute expertise and materials to this collaborative effort.

Inland Northwest Land Trust was formed in 1991 as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting private land conservation as a practical way to protect the natural lands and working landscapes of the Inland Northwest. The group works with landowners in eastern Washington and north Idaho who wish to conserve the best of the Inland Northwest for present and future generations. Since its inception, INLT has helped numerous landowners conserve over 4,000 acres of prime farmland, forests and shorelines in seven counties of the inland northwest.

For more information on the songbird survey or the Inland Northwest Land Trust, please contact Heather Bateman at (509) 328-2270 or e-mail her at You can also visit the land trust’s website at