Grassland bird populations are declining and the majority of species are understudied on their wintering grounds. In the winter of 2020, we implemented a regional monitoring program in the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas to establish baseline population estimates of grassland birds. We surveyed on a number of expansive cattle ranches, each exhibiting fascinating ecological and management histories. Through the implementation of this program, we can share that collaboration between ranching operations and grassland bird conservation is mutually beneficial.
The Sprague’s Pipit is a charismatic songbird of North American grasslands. If you’ve ever wandered the Northern Great Plains in summer, you’ve probably heard their sweet song, and maybe even seen their high-altitude aerial displays which can last for hours. One of many fast-declining grassland bird species, we’re urgently working to learn more about the life cycle of the Sprague’s Pipit so that its song can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.
The deserts and canyons of the American Southwest are home to an array of unusual and captivating wildlife. Among these amazing animals is a species that’s easy to overlook—but not because it’s ordinary. Quite the opposite! Literally pint-sized and weighing less than a golf ball, if you weren’t looking carefully, you could easily miss the world’s smallest owl.
Since 1970, less than a single lifetime, North America has lost more than one in four of its birds, according to a report in the world’s leading scientific journal. New findings just published in the journal Science confirm staggering losses among birds. Based on nearly 50 years of data, this research for the first time quantifies a long-developing but overlooked ecological crisis.
Black Swifts are thought to forage long distances from their nest sites, but their basic movement ecology is unknown. Knowledge about daily foraging routes and distances will help identify flight patterns, foraging hotspots and habitat relationships—critical to understanding the conservation needs of this enigmatic species.
How many birds can you accurately count in six minutes using sound as well as sight? The ability to correctly recognize birds by ear is a vital skill for our teams, one that takes a lot of effort to master. IMBCR technician Beth Raboin shares how she uses context and associations—and a dash of baseball—as an aid to her auditory memory.
After several weeks of intensive nest searching and observation, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies has confirmed that Baird’s Sparrows are actively breeding at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area—the first time the species has been documented reproducing in the State of Colorado. This remarkable discovery marks an exciting milestone in an already-eventful 2018 summer field season.
Colorado’s Chico Basin Ranch, southeast of Colorado Springs, CO, is well known as a home and haven for migratory and resident birds. 2018 marks Bird Conservancy’s 19th consecutive spring season of bird banding at ‘The Chico’ and this year did not disappoint with some exciting species observed.
Two large-scale monitoring programs collect data on bird populations every summer in the United States—Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions and the Breeding Bird Survey. How are they different, and in what ways do each program complement the other in addressing the vast information gaps needed to help inform avian conservation?