Every year, biologists and technicians traipse across mountains, prairies, and deserts to survey breeding birds under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. The program, coordinated by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, is the second largest breeding bird monitoring program in North America, stretching across private and public land in many states in the western United States.
Coverage of the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program as of 2019 across multiple Bird Conservation Regions.
The IMBCR program includes a statistically rigorous design based on probabilistic sampling, and a broad network of partners that support the program across public and private lands. What the Bird Conservancy and partners learn through annual monitoring and special projects informs management decisions and contributes to bird and habitat conservation. Click here for IMBCR-related applications and resources, such as publications and annual reports. Population estimates for 270+ species are available through the Rocky Mountain Avian Data Center.
Vision Statement: Provide reliable information on bird populations to guide conservation and management decisions.
Mission Statement: Through a collaborative network of scientists, land and wildlife management agencies, conservation organizations, and private citizens, provide scientifically defensible estimates of bird density, abundance, occupancy, and trend to inform impacts of natural and anthropogenic factors on bird populations.
Click here to download the complete IMBCR vision and mission statement.
Specific objectives of the IMBCR program include:
- Provide a framework to integrate bird monitoring efforts across bird conservation regions;
- Provide robust population density and occupancy estimates that account for incomplete detection and are comparable at different geographic extents;
- Use annual population estimates to monitor population trends and evaluate causes of population change;
- Provide basic habitat association data for most landbird species to address habitat management issues;
- Maintain a high-quality database that is accessible to all of our collaborators, as well as to the public over the Internet, in the form of raw and summarized data; and
- Generate decision support tools that help guide conservation efforts and provide a quantitative measure of conservation success.
In 2007, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative developed the report Opportunities for Improving Avian Monitoring. This report outlined goals and recommendations to further improve avian monitoring programs including: using more rigorous statistical methodology, integrating monitoring programs, and making data and results widely accessible to land managers and the public. With these recommendations in mind, bird conservation partners from across much of the western United States have collaborated to design and implement a broad-scale, all-lands monitoring program known as Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR).
The IMBCR program was pilot tested in Colorado in 2008, and has since expanded throughout the Great Plains and western US.
Using the intersection of Bird Conservation Regions and state boundaries as the primary level of stratification, strata are defined by IMBCR partners based on areas to which inferences are needed, such as an individual national forest. Spatially balanced samples are selected within each stratum, allowing changes in sampling effort for fluctuating budgets or specific management questions.
This sampling design allows comparison of density and occupancy estimates across spatial and temporal scales. Birds are surveyed from a transect of 16 points within each sample unit during a 6-minute period. Observers record distances to each bird and the minute interval during which each bird was detected. These data are used to estimate detection probabilities for density, occupancy, and population trend estimates.
Access IMBCR field protocols and data sheets on the Rocky Mountain Avian Data Center.
(* indicates field implementation partner)
Arizona Game and Fish Department*, Audubon New Mexico*, Audubon Rockies, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado State Land Board, Great Basin Bird Observatory*, Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Intermountain Bird Observatory*, Intermountain West Joint Venture, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Klamath Bird Observatory, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Park Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, New Mexico Game and Fish, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Northern Great Plains Joint Venture, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Playa Lakes Joint Venture, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, Texas Parks and Wildlife, The Dolores River Restoration Partnership, The Tamarisk Coalition, United States Bureau of Land Management, United States Department of Defense*, United States Farm Service Agency, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Forest Service, University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab*, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources*, World Wildlife Fund, Wyoming Game and Fish Department*, Wyoming Natural Diversity Database*