Grassland bird populations have declined more steeply than any other group of North American birds. Since 2006, RMBO has partnered with the City of Fort Collins to inventory and monitor grassland birds on city-owned properties near the Colorado-Wyoming border. These properties represent some of the most significant grasslands in northern Colorado and support populations of more than 20 high-priority bird species. Communications Coordinator Teddy Parker-Renga writes about a day in the field surveying birds on these properties and discusses the impact of the Mountains to Plains Region project.
RMBO biologists and field technicians are once again preparing to fan out across mountains, prairies and high deserts to conduct breeding bird surveys under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. Biologist Nick Van Lanen provides an update on trainings for IMBCR surveys, including a rare bird spotted by a crew member – and former RMBO camper – in South Dakota.
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.
The pine-oak and cloud forests of West Mexico are critical habitat for endemic and migrant bird species. In March, RMBO wrapped up its first year of surveying birds in the region. Our technicians offer a report from Jalisco, Mexico, on their experiences surveying in this challenging, beautiful terrain, including a list of unique species detected.
Eastern Screech-Owls are the most common owl species in North America, yet little is known about their habitat needs or population dynamics. To fill these knowledge gaps – and get citizens involved in science linked to their natural environment – RMBO launched a new project last month in Fort Collins, Colorado, to monitor Eastern Screech-Owls along the Cache la Poudre River.
There are few sights in life more majestic than a Bald Eagle soaring across a clear blue sky. Fortunately, this is a far more common occurrence today than it was 40 years ago. Educator Emily Snode writes about RMBO’s Bald Eagle Watch and its impact on Bald Eagle populations along the Front Range.
It’s cold as I work my way up the dark west side of Dinosaur Ridge. The fresh snow crunches then slips under my feet as I clamber with my binoculars and scope to the observation view point. Outreach biologist Jeff Birek writes about a typical – and always eventful – day monitoring birds as part of RMBO’s HawkWatch citizen science program.
Before conducting field surveys, RMBO staff contact landowners for permission to access their land. Through these series of phone conversations and e-mail exchanges, a similar question from landowners often arises, “Why do you want to survey that particular location, especially when there are better birding spots nearby?”
Earlier this year, I started working with a landowner who controls more than 160 acres and 3,300 feet of riparian area along the Dolores River in the heart of the Paradox Valley in western Colorado. As a novel approach to restoration monitoring on her property, I suggested we emulate the BioBlitz strategy to establish a baseline inventory of the property.