Citizen Science Programs

Help us conserve Bald Eagles, hawks, colonial waterbirds, Eastern Screech-Owls, Barrow’s Goldeneyes and other birds as a citizen scientist. Click below to learn about our programs and volunteer us.


Bald Eagle Watch

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies’ Bald Eagle Watch program was started in 1988 to monitor and help protect the Bald Eagle nest at Barr Lake State Park northeast of Denver. Now, citizen scientists with the Bird Conservancy monitor eagle nests across the Front Range to provide information to biologists on the nesting success of the Colorado population.
What: Monitor and collect data on Bald Eagle nesting behavior and productivity. Report any disturbances that may impact nesting eagles. Data help wildlife managers and conservation groups ensure continued healthy populations of Bald Eagles.
When: February to July
Where: Colorado’s Front Range, from Brighton to Fort Collins
Who: Anyone who can monitor designated nest(s) weekly for a minimum of one hour, fill out a data sheet and enter into an online reporting system; can drive to nest site; enjoys monitoring either alone or with another person; and has a spotting scope or binoculars
Training: January at the Bird Conservancy’s Environmental Learning Center in Brighton, Colorado
Contact: Matt Smith, Citizen Science Coordinator at (407) 636-0668 or matt.smith@birdconservancy.org

Barrow's Goldeneye Count

What: Monitor and collect data on the wintering population of Barrow’s Goldeneyes in Colorado.
When: Late November to early December
Where: Bodies of water across Colorado
Who: Anyone who enjoys waterfowl and is concerned about bird conservation. Requires only the ability to recognize Barrow’s Goldeneye. Necessary skills are easy to acquire. Technical support is always available from the project coordinator.
Training: As needed from wherever you live
Contact: Jason Beason, Special Monitoring Projects Coordinator, (970) 310-5117 or jason.beason@birdconservancy.org

ColonyWatch

What: Monitor colonial waterbirds to gather information about colony size and locations. Data help resource managers effect long-term conservation of waterbirds.
When: March to August
Where: throughout Colorado
Who: Anyone who enjoys birds and is concerned about their conservation. Requires only the ability to recognize the 15 species the Bird Conservancy monitors and to follow a simple monitoring protocol. Necessary skills are easy to acquire. Technical support is always available from the project coordinator.
Training: As needed from wherever you live
Contact: Jason Beason, Special Monitoring Projects Coordinator, (970) 310-5117 or jason.beason@birdconservancy.org

Colorado Bluebird Project

What: Monitor and collect data on breeding birds that utilize bluebird boxes in Larimer County, Colorado. Data is submitted to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s nest box program.
When: March to August/early September
Where: Trails at two Larimer County Open Space sites (Horsetooth Mountain and Soderberg); however, we hope to expand
Who: Anyone interested in checking nesting birds and hiking along trails (roughly 1-2 miles; one trail includes steep terrain)
Training: Late February at the Bird Conservancy’s office in Fort Collins, Colorado
Contact: Matt Smith, Citizen Science Coordinator at (407) 636-0668 or matt.smith@birdconservancy.org

Eastern Screech-Owl Project

What: Monitor and collect data on Eastern Screech-Owls and other owl species living along the Cache la Poudre River. Data help guide habitat restoration efforts along the river.
When: March to mid-May
Where: Survey sites along Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado
Who: Anyone with an interest in owls. Requires the ability to conduct surveys at night, follow a standardized protocol, and drive to monitoring sites and walk to river.
Training: late February at the Bird Conservancy’s office in Fort Collins, Colorado
Contact: Rob Sparks, Research Biologist/GIS Manager, (970) 482-1707 x19 or rob.sparks@birdconservancy.org

HawkWatch

What: Gather information about raptor migration, which is stored in a public online database and contributes to the understanding of raptor movements across North America.
When: Official counts run March 1 and end early May.
Where: Dinosaur Ridge in the Dakota Hogback Natural Area, Morrison, Colorado
Who: Anyone with an interest in birds of prey. Experienced volunteers are paired with those wanting to learn identification and data collection skills.
Training: February at Dinosaur Ridge near Morrison, Colorado
Contact: Matt Smith, Citizen Science Coordinator at (407) 636-0668 or matt.smith@birdconservancy.org

Master Naturalist Program

What: Create well-informed citizens who are empowered to learn, teach, and participate in local natural resource stewardship through Bird Conservancy and other partner organizations
When: Training in March with activities throughout the year
Who: Current and prospective natural resource volunteers, educators, interpreters, nature enthusiasts, birders, and the general public (ages 18+)
Training: March at Bird Conservancy of the Rockies Environmental Learning Center 14500 Lark Bunting Lane, Brighton, CO
Contact: Jennifer Watson, Volunteer and Logistics Coordinator (303) 659-4348 x19  jennifer.watson@birdconservancy.org
Cost: $250 (discount available for active Bird Conservancy and partner organization members and volunteers)

Neighborhood Nestwatch

Discover the secret lives of birds in your backyard!

Neighborhood Nestwatch is a national citizen science program that brings scientists to your backyard. When you enroll as a Neighborhood Nestwatch site, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies biologists make yearly visits to your backyard to color-band birds, search for nesting activity, and inventory the plants and birds present.  Throughout the year, your family will report sightings of your color-banded birds and nesting activity data to the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, contributing valuable data to research!

Site Selection – With support from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Bird Conservancy will first make sure your yard is a suitable site for this program, looking at yard cover, location within the urban gradient, and location relative to other project sites. Sites must be located within 50 miles of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Interested sites should also be willing to participate in the program for at least three years.

Day of Visit – Bird Conservancy bird banders will start setting up in your yard around 7 a.m.  After completing an inventory of the birds around your site, mist nets will be used to capture birds for banding. Target species will be color-banded, and their health information will be recorded. Bird banders will also search for any nests that may be in your yard and inventory plant species to help understand the habitat. At the end of the visit, you will receive a color-band combo sheet listing your birds and information needed to become a citizen scientist. Visits are typically 3-4 hours.

Become a Citizen Scientist – After the site visit, your family will have the opportunity to keep track of your   color-banded birds and monitor any nesting activity found on your property. Summer is the busiest time for data collection, and participants typically spend about an hour a week on data collection and reporting, your findings to the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s online database.

For  more information, e-mail Alie Mayes or by phone 303.659.4348 x10

To be considered, please register here.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

Neighborhood Nestwatch was created in 2000 by Dr. Pete Marra of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. First starting in Washington D.C., the program has quickly expanded to five cities including Pittsburgh, PA and Atlanta, GA., with hundreds of participating homes. The Denver “hub” of the program is the first location west of the Mississippi River.

Neighborhood Nestwatch is offered in collaboration with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) and Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Participation is limited to within 50 miles of DMNS and sites are selected based on location, property type (urban vs rural), and other factors. Participants must participate in the program for a minimum of three years, committing approximately one hour of time per week. No previous experience is required and training is provided. Interested parties should apply the through the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies website.

For more information:

Bald Eagle Watch, HawkWatch and Colorado Bluebird Project
Matt Smith
Citizen Science Coordinator
(407) 636-0668
matt.smith@birdconservancy.org

ColonyWatch and Barrow’s Goldeneye Count
Jason Beason
Special Monitoring Projects Coordinator
(970) 310-5117
jason.beason@birdconservancy.org

Eastern Screech-Owl Project
Rob Sparks
Research Biologist/GIS Manager
(970) 482-1707 x19
rob.sparks@birdconservancy.org

Photo Credit:
Chuck Hundertmark