This year is the 100th anniversary of the Bird Banding Laboratory, the federal agency responsible for overseeing all bird banding efforts in the United States and Canada. Here we’ll take a look at why banding is such a powerful tool for research while highlighting a few of our projects that put banding to use. With the fall banding season rapidly approaching, its a good time to reexamine what makes a bird in the hand so valuable.
Recent extensive bark beetle outbreaks have raised concerns about the health of western conifer forests and their capacity to support wildlife species. These tiny bugs bring big changes, transforming forests and re-shaping landscape ecology in extreme ways and on a grand scale. We surveyed birds in Colorado, gathering data to compare unimpacted forests with those following a beetle outbreak. What we found may surprise you!
Little is known about grassland birds during migration. Automated radio telemetry through the Motus Wildlife Tracking System can help us understand bird movement during this part of their life cycle. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is implementing a three-phase, multiyear project to expand the Motus network into the Great Plains and Chihuahuan Desert, installing receiving stations along avian flyways to capture vital data and fill knowledge gaps.
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.
Around 200 pairs of Bald Eagles call Colorado home, with most breeding pairs remaining in the state year-round, rearing their young here in the spring and summer. Why, then, does Colorado’s Bald Eagle population surge to well over 1000 birds in the late fall and winter? Migration is the obvious answer, but as you might suspect, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Why do some eagles migrate while others do not? Here we’ll explore the answer to that question and more.
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.
Conservation Birding Tours combine world-class birding with science education to raise awareness of continentally-important bird areas. In March 2019, Bird Conservancy led a trip to West Mexico to explore the abundant and diverse avifauna of this unique region. Today’s post shares some highlights from this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After six years, nine states and over 200 surveys, IMBCR technician Mike McCloy shares his perspective on the importance of counting birds to conservation, the challenges and joys of being a field tech, and how he (and the landscapes he traverses) have changed.