This photo journal highlights the most recent winter field season monitoring grassland birds in the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico. Teaching telemetry, radio tracking Grasshopper Sparrows and assessing predation/mortality rates are all a major part of this program.
Aplomado Falcons once ranged across the northern reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, but their numbers have sharply declined in recent years. Bird Conservancy is working with with local partners and agricultural producers to improve habitat and provide specially-designed nesting platforms, with promising results.
The Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program is one of the largest bird monitoring programs in North America, covering a work area of 450,545 square miles across all or parts of 13 western states in the U.S. 2016 will see a major expansion of IMBCR in partnership with Playa Lakes Joint Venture. Growth of the program complements monitoring efforts in the Northern Great Plains and promises encounters with even more bird species.
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.
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory is assisting federal and state partners in studying Golden Eagles breeding in Nebraska and Colorado. We are learning where these eagles go using satellite telemetry, as well as their nesting success, habitat use, and survival rate and mortality factors. Find out where one Golden Eagle traveled during a 10-day period this June!
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory biologists are back in Colorado after a fruitful winter studying grassland birds on their wintering grounds in northern Mexico. Before digging too deep into the data, biologist Erin Strasser offers a preliminary look at what they learned during season three of this study.
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s third season of studying survival and habitat use of Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows is under way on their wintering grounds in the grasslands of northern Mexico. Writing from Chihuahua, biologist Erin Strasser shares an update on capturing and tracking sparrows, insights gained so far this season and captivating photos from the field.
The Greater Sage-Grouse represents a special part of our country’s sagebrush steppe ecosystem. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory is testing the effectiveness of different types of fence markers to help these grouse avoid collisions with fences. Field crew leader Taylor Gorman and biologist Nick Van Lanen offer insights from the first season of this study before heading back into the field.
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.
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.”