Citizen Science Programs

Help us conserve Bald Eagles, Brown-capped Rosy-Finches, hawks, colonial waterbirds, Eastern Screech-Owls and other birds as a citizen scientist. Click below to learn about our programs and volunteer us.

Bald Eagle Watch

Photo by Anne Whithurst

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies’ Bald Eagle Watch program was started in 1988 to monitor and help protect the Bald Eagle nest at Barr Lake State Park northeast of Denver. Now, citizen scientists with the Bird Conservancy monitor eagle nests across the Front Range to provide information to biologists on the nesting success of the Colorado population.
What: Monitor and collect data on Bald Eagle nesting behavior and productivity. Report any disturbances that may impact nesting eagles. Data help wildlife managers and conservation groups ensure continued healthy populations of Bald Eagles.
When: February to July
Where: Colorado’s Front Range, from Brighton to Fort Collins
Who: Anyone who can monitor designated nest(s) weekly for a minimum of one hour, fill out a data sheet and enter into an online reporting system; can drive to nest site; enjoys monitoring either alone or with another person; and has a spotting scope or binoculars
Training: January at the Bird Conservancy’s Environmental Learning Center in Brighton, Colorado
Contact: Matt Smith, Outreach Biologist at (970) 482-1707 ext, 32 or [email protected]

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch Monitoring

What: Identify breeding locations of Brown-capped Rosy-Finches (BCRFs) in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. BCRFs breed near cliffs and steep talus slopes in the alpine tundra (above 11,000 feet). Several hundred BCRFs have been colorbanded on their wintering grounds and we are hoping to get observations of banded birds on their breeding grounds. Please report observations of banded and unbanded birds on eBird or on the Brown-capped Rosy-Finch app at
When: June through August
Where: Alpine regions of Colorado, the Snowy Range of Wyoming, and possibly the Sangre de Cristo Range in New Mexico.
Who: Anyone who spends time in the high country in the summer months.
Training: No training required.
For more information: Chris White, Director of Science Operations


What: Monitor colonial waterbirds to gather information about colony size and locations. Data help resource managers effect long-term conservation of waterbirds.
When: March to August
Where: throughout Colorado
Who: Anyone who enjoys birds and is concerned about their conservation. Requires only the ability to recognize the 15 species the Bird Conservancy monitors and to follow a simple monitoring protocol. Necessary skills are easy to acquire. Technical support is always available from the project coordinator.
Training: As needed from wherever you live
Contact: Nancy Drilling, Dakotas Projects Coordinator, (605) 791-0459 or [email protected] 

Colorado Bluebird Project

Mountain Bluebird photo by John Carr

What: Monitor and collect data on breeding birds that utilize bluebird boxes in Larimer County, Colorado. Data is submitted to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s nest box program.
When: March to August/early September
Where: Trails at two Larimer County Open Space sites (Horsetooth Mountain and Soderberg); however, we hope to expand
Who: Anyone interested in checking nesting birds and hiking along trails (roughly 1-2 miles; one trail includes steep terrain)
Training: Late February at the Bird Conservancy’s office in Fort Collins, Colorado
Contact: Matt Smith, Outreach Biologist at (970) 482-1707 ext, 32 or [email protected]

Eastern Screech-Owl Project

What: Monitor and collect data on Eastern Screech-Owls and other owl species living along the Cache la Poudre River. Data help guide habitat restoration efforts along the river.
When: March to mid-May
Where: Survey sites along Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado
Who: Anyone with an interest in owls. Requires the ability to conduct surveys at night, follow a standardized protocol, and drive to monitoring sites and walk to river.
Training: late February at the Bird Conservancy’s office in Fort Collins, Colorado
Contact: Rob Sparks, Research Biologist/GIS Manager, (970) 482-1707 x19 or [email protected]


What: Gather information about raptor migration, which is stored in a public online database and contributes to the understanding of raptor movements across North America.
When: Official counts run March 1 and end early May.
Where: Dinosaur Ridge in the Dakota Hogback Natural Area, Morrison, Colorado
Who: Anyone with an interest in birds of prey. Experienced volunteers are paired with those wanting to learn identification and data collection skills.
Training: February at Dinosaur Ridge near Morrison, Colorado
Contact: Matt Smith, Outreach Biologist at (970) 482-1707 ext, 32 or [email protected]

Neighborhood Nestwatch

What: Monitor color-banded birds in your own backyard and report observations to the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
When: All year; participants agree to participate for a minimum of three years, committing approximately one hour of time per week for observation and reporting.
Where: Within 50 miles of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science; sites are selected based on location, property type (urban vs rural), and other factors.
Who: Homeowners and/or Denver Metro residents with suitable landscapes and an interest in bird watching.
Training: No experience is necessary and training is provided during the initial site visit.
Contact: e-mail Kelsey Mazur or contact by phone 303.659.4348 x10
Cost: $1 per person enrolled in the program

For more information, visit our Neighborhood Nestwatch page.

Neighborhood Nestwatch is offered in collaboration with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) and Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and with the support of the Science & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and Adams County, Colorado.

For more information:

Bald Eagle Watch, HawkWatch and Colorado Bluebird Project
Matt Smith
Outreach Biologist
(970) 482-1707 ext, 32

Brown-capped Rosy Finch Monitoring
Chris White
Director of Science Operations
(970) 482-1707 x24

Nancy Drilling
Dakotas Projects Coordinator
(605) 791-0459

Eastern Screech-Owl Project
Rob Sparks
Research Biologist/GIS Manager
(970) 482-1707 x19

Photo Credit:
Chuck Hundertmark