Spring is nearly here, and with the changing seasons comes the spectacular migration of birds. We’re getting prepared and stoked for the upcoming bird banding season. To whet your appetite, we wanted to share the birdy highlights from the fall bird banding season. Enjoy!
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s third season of studying survival and habitat use of Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows is under way on their wintering grounds in the grasslands of northern Mexico. Writing from Chihuahua, biologist Erin Strasser shares an update on capturing and tracking sparrows, insights gained so far this season and captivating photos from the field.
The Greater Sage-Grouse represents a special part of our country’s sagebrush steppe ecosystem. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory is testing the effectiveness of different types of fence markers to help these grouse avoid collisions with fences. Field crew leader Taylor Gorman and biologist Nick Van Lanen offer insights from the first season of this study before heading back into the field.
This fall, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory caught a whopping 277 Northern Saw-whet Owls at banding stations in North and South Dakota. Among them were 9 recovered saw-whet owls, or birds banded at another station or during a different season. Where were the owls first banded, and when? Read this post to find out (hint: one was first banded about 660 miles northwest!).
In 2000, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory began organizing an annual Barrow’s Goldeneye count in Colorado to monitor the wintering population of this species. Volunteer citizen scientists are needed to help with this year’s count, set for Nov. 22 to Dec. 2, 2014. The protocol is simple – get out to as many lakes and reservoirs across the state as possible and count Barrow’s Goldeneyes!
The Central Plains Experimental Range, adjacent to the Pawnee National Grasslands, is a beautiful locale in northeast Colorado where an intact prairie landscape still exists. This summer, Amber Carver had the fortune of spending many days on the range, collecting data for her master’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Colorado-Denver.
Black Swifts are at risk to the effects of climate change. As our atmosphere heats up and viable Black Swift breeding habitat dwindles, proactive conservation of this species is critical. A team of researchers is working to conserve the North American population of Black Swifts, conducting research across the West to better understand the “coolest bird.”
Alas, despite much progress, a disparity still exists between the sexes in the sciences. There are fewer women than men working in science-related fields. What can we do to encourage more young girls to enter the sciences? Biologist Erin Strasser spoke with female colleagues working in the sciences to glean their insights and advice and inspire other women to become awesome lady scientists.
This spring, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory began conducting bird population monitoring surveys along the Niobrara National Scenic River in Nebraska. Outreach Biologist Jeff Birek was fortunate enough to land that area as one of his survey locales this summer. Jeff reports on the impacts a recent fire along the Niobrara River has had on birds and provides a species list from the summer.
With summer waning, RMBO has completed its sixth season of conducting surveys under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. How many birds were counted? What new and rare species were detected? Biologist Nick Van Lanen answers these questions and offers a wrap-up of another successful summer survey season.