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research Archives — Page 4 of 4 — BirdConservancy.org

Study: Expansion of Croplands in Chihuahua, Mexico, Threatens Declining Grassland Birds

By | Partners, Science | No Comments

The Chihuahuan Desert grasslands of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States are the principal wintering grounds for 90% of grassland bird species breeding in the western Great Plains of North America. Species such as Baird’s Sparrows, Chestnut-collared Longspurs and Sprague’s Pipits, which rely on this region during the winter, have declined by upwards of 80% since the 1960s. Results from Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and cooperators’ research, published in February in the journal Biological Conservation, shed light as to why these birds are declining and emphasize that unless immediate action is taken, forecasts are dire.

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Sites Added to Grassland Bird Winter Survival Study

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Grassland birds are declining faster than any other group of North American birds. The key to reversing these declines may lie on their wintering grounds in northern Mexico. Writing from Chihuahua, biologist Erin Strasser provides a preview of RMBO’s second season studying the overwintering ecology of Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows in the Mexican grasslands.

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A Season of Success, Surprises and Insight into Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrow Winter Survival

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Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory had a productive and successful first field season studying Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrow overwintering survival and habitat use in the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands of northern Mexico. From early November to early March, RMBO gathered a massive amount of novel and informative data on these two species at Reserva Ecológica El Uno near Janos, Chihuahua, Mexico.

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Fieldwork in Chihuahua, Mexico: Identifying Threats to Overwintering Grassland Birds

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A herd of bison grazes the golden-hued grasslands, Ferruginous Hawks patrol the skies for jackrabbits, and packs of coyotes yip back and forth across the prairie dog colonies. Thus was our welcoming as we arrived at Reserva Ecológica El Uno near Janos, Chihuahua, Mexico on the afternoon of Nov. 11. Our mission: Catch and place radio transmitters on Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows this winter to track them and study their habitat use and overwinter survival.

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Geolocators Reveal More About Black Swift Migration

By | Partners, Science | No Comments

Six years ago in late August, Rich Levad, Rob Sparks, Jason Beason and Ken Behrens hiked through spruce fir forest to a spot just above timberline where a Black Swift nest clung to a wet, rocky outcrop. The outing was part of Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory’s effort to collect baseline data on this little-known species.  When no swifts were seen that evening, the scientists wondered if they had already started migrating – and where did they go?

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All-Bird Bulletin Features Five RMBO Stories

By | Education, Science, Stewardship | No Comments

The new Fall/Winter edition of The All-Bird Bulletin features five stories about RMBO’s work. See pages 12 -16 to read: “New Model Identifies Bird Habitat Use at Multiple Scales,” “‘Boots on the Ground’ Expands Habitat Conservation,” “Taking Outreach from the Land to the Classroom Builds Future Conservation Ethic,” “Critical Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands Rapidly Give Way to the Plow” and “Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR)”.

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