Not so long ago, seeing a bald eagle in Colorado might have felt like a once in a lifetime event. Today, thanks to dedicated conservation efforts and continual monitoring, the population of these majestic birds is recovering. In this post, Citizen Science Coordinator Matt Smith explains why the future looks bright for Bald Eagles.
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (formerly Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory) and partners wrapped up their seventh season of surveys under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions program, one of the largest breeding bird monitoring programs in North America. Seasonal biologist David Kramer offers highlights from a wet, snowy survey season.
The Bird Conservancy (formerly Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory) collaborated with a graduate student at Oxford University to study the impacts of natural gas well pads and their associated roads on the distribution of sagebrush-obligate songbirds. The student, Max Mutter, writes about the experiences leading up to the study and shares a key result.
The Bald Eagle nesting season is in full swing in the Rockies. Citizen scientists with Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory are busy monitoring nesting activity across Colorado. Outreach biologist Jeff Birek reports that volunteers with Bald Eagle Watch have already observed at least 20 eaglets in nests across the state, including two at Barr Lake.
Despite sub-zero temperatures, 34 volunteers took part in this year’s Christmas Bird Count at Barr Lake. Count compiler Chuck Hundertmark offers a report on birds observed that day, including new highs for three species and a new bird for the Barr Lake count.
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!
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.”
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.
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.