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.
Nineteen Mennonite students from Cuauhtémoc recently joined us in the field and experienced a day in the life of bird biologists. Representing a vital piece of the conservation puzzle in Chihuahua, their visit opens new pathways for awareness, conversation and collaboration to help grassland birds on Mexico’s wintering grounds.
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.
The grasslands of the Chihuahuan desert provide important overwintering habitat for over 90% of the migratory grassland species in western North America. Recently, our team joined partners and private landowners on a scenic tour through northern Mexico to visit some of Sustainable Grazing Network ranches that are working to conserve and restore grassland habitat for the benefit of people and birds.
2017 marks eleven consecutive years of data collection at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area in Northern Colorado. This beautiful and ecologically important landscape is home to a diverse array of plants and animals—including over twenty species of grassland birds—that are uniquely adapted to life where the mountains meet the plains.
Mixed-grass prairie in the Northern Great Plains represents critical habitat for wildlife of all kinds, including our specialty at Bird Conservancy of the Rockies – birds! Read on to learn more about our full life cycle monitoring on the breeding grounds and how technology is playing a role in helping us conserve birds and their habitats.
Bird Conservancy is finishing up another winter of grassland bird monitoring in Mexico, using radio-telemetry to study survival rates of Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows. We follow them to get an inside view into their lives, and sometimes feel a bit like sparrow paparazzi!
Biologists studying overwinter survival rates of sparrows in the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands of northern Mexico are turning their attention to Loggerhead Shrikes. Taking advantage of shrub encroachment and the favorable habitat it provides for them, shrikes have become an apex predator of birds and many other animals on the landscape.