The McCown’s Longspur is suffering a stark decline—an astounding 95% drop since 1966. Researchers are investigating the breeding success of this ground-nesting grassland species on the Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER), located adjacent to the Pawnee National Grasslands in northeast Colorado.
Grazing options can be limited in the high country, when snow lingers in high-elevation pastures and areas can get too waterlogged for cattle. To increase grazing options on a ranch in the Middle Park area of Colorado, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory helped to implement a project that will deliver water to an area of the ranch not previously suitable for grazing, allowing the rancher to keep cattle off other areas of the ranch that provide key habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse.
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.
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and partners recently put the final touches on a wetland restoration project that adds 3.2 acres of seasonal, shallow-water wetlands. Private lands biologist Colin Lee writes about the project and the birds it benefits.
Earlier this year, RMBO hosted forums to gauge feedback on a new Decision Support Tool. The tool helps compare management options that ensure the economic viability of grazing lands with the habitat needs of sagebrush-dependent songbirds and grouse.
RMBO is partnering with the University of Colorado-Denver to support a graduate research project to better understand how Mountain Plovers utilize habitat during the nesting cycle. Biologists will study their foraging habits by tracking adult plovers using radio-telemetry. CSU student Jamie Osterbuhr writes about this research, taking place in the crop fields of western Nebraska.
Encroachment of coniferous trees such as juniper can noticeably alter sagebrush ecosystems and, in turn, habitat quality for wildlife. Range Conservationist Brandon Elkins writes about a project to remove juniper trees in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming to benefit sage-grouse and other wildlife.
“Another nest has failed.” This is the recurring news that technicians monitoring Aplomado Falcons in Chihuahua, Mexico, have reported over the last 18 years. Private Lands Wildlife Biologists Roberto Rodríguez and Pedro Calderón report from Chihuahua on last season’s monitoring of this iconic, grassland species and efforts to conserve its dwindling habitat there.
RMBO’s field crew discovered its first Mountain Plover nest of the season on May 8. After the cold start to spring, this newly laid nest with a clutch of three eggs was an important find. Biologist Larry Snyder writes about the find and RMBO’s plover nest conservation program on the RMBO blog.