Landowner Frequently Asked Questions about Bird Surveys on Private Property

Bird Conservancy of the Rockies’ bird monitoring programs span both public and private land. The following are frequently asked questions from private landowners asked to grant access to their property for surveys. If you don’t find the answer to your question, contact us at landowner@birdconservancy.org.

Can you provide more information on regional bird monitoring?

For information related to the Bird Conservancy’s monitoring programs, please visit our Monitoring page or email your questions to the Landowner Liaison at landowner@birdconservancy.org.

Where does regional bird monitoring take place?

The Bird Conservancy and partners conduct surveys in many states across the U.S., including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Idaho, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. The Bird Conservancy also conducts surveys in Mexico and other countries.

How does a technician survey for birds?

A technician walks from one predetermined point to another. At each point, the technician collects basic habitat information, including the types and number of trees and shrubs present, as well as ground cover information. After recording vegetation information, the technician watches and listens for birds for a few minutes and records what he or she sees or hears. A technician will survey as many as 16 points in a morning.

Do technicians do anything to my land?

Technicians are only on your property to observe. The surveys are always done on foot and vehicles are only used to access the initial survey location (with your permission). Technicians are instructed to leave the property as they found it. This means they leave open gates open and closed gates closed after they pass through them. If you have any specific instructions, please include them in the Special Instructions section of the Landowner Information Return Card or email them to the Landowner Liaison at landowner@birdconservancy.org.

Who sees the data gathered on my land?

The Bird Conservancy analyzes the data we collect and then provides the results to our partners. Additionally, we create distribution maps, available on our website, showing the general location of birds. Those locations are never displayed on the map exactly where the birds were actually found. This maintains the anonymity of the landowner and prevents the birds from being overly pressured by bird watchers, hunters, etc.

We do not share the raw data collected in the field with our partners unless they specifically sign a data sharing agreement stating they will not share the data with anyone else and will not use the data for any other than the stated purpose. To maintain anonymity, we never associate the raw data or the results with specific landowners.

Who are the Bird Conservancy’s partners?

The Bird Conservancy has a variety of partners who may assist in monitoring efforts or use survey results for management recommendations including, but not limited to, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and state wildlife agencies. If you would like to know more about who we partner with for the survey location associated with your property, please email the Landowner Liaison at landowner@birdconservancy.org.

Who funds the Bird Conservancy’s surveys?

The Bird Conservancy’s monitoring efforts are funded by various agencies and organizations including, but not limited to, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and state wildlife agencies. Funding varies depending on your property’s location. If you would like specific information, please email the Landowner Liaison at landowner@birdconservancy.org.

How did my property get chosen?

The survey sites are randomly chosen by a computer program. We do not choose to conduct surveys by selecting landowners at random; rather, we select random locations on the ground to survey and then contact county assessors to determine ownership.

How did you get my information?

Once a survey site is randomly chosen, staff at the Bird Conservancy contacts the county assessor to obtain the landowner name and address for each survey site. We check phone directories to attempt to obtain your phone number.

How long do surveys take?

The surveys occur when the birds are most active, from about a half an hour before sunrise until about 11 a.m. The length of an actual survey varies depending on terrain, weather and the time it takes the technician to access the survey site.

What if you find an endangered species on my land?

The information the Bird Conservancy gathers from our regional bird monitoring efforts improves population estimates for most birds found in your region. The conservation efforts we employ with our partners and landowners have the goal of maintaining or increasing key bird species, which helps prevent birds from being listed as threatened or endangered or helps birds get taken off that list. The chance of a technician finding an endangered species on your property is very low.

I granted permission, now what?

Thank you for participating in the Bird Conservancy’s bird monitoring efforts! The crew leader or technician responsible for conducting the survey on your property will contact you at least 24 hours (but usually two days) before the survey will be conducted, unless you included other instructions on your Landowner Information Return Card. Unfortunately, many factors (like weather) prevent us from being more specific about our survey dates. If you have concerns about possible survey dates, please include that information on the Landowner Information Return Card or email the Landowner Liaison at landowner@birdconservancy.org.

I do not want surveys conducted on my property this year. Will you be asking me again next year?

The Bird Conservancy understands that you may not want surveys conducted on your property. If your reason is specific to this coming year and you may permit us access in following years, we will send permission letters in the future when a randomly selected survey site is located on your property. We also respect your decision if you wish to deny any access to your property. If this is the case, please state your request on the Landowner Information Return Card or send your request by email to the Landowner Liaison at landowner@birdconservancy.org.

Are there many landowners with whom the Bird Conservancy works?

The Bird Conservancy has conducted surveys on hundreds of privately owned properties for many years. If you would like to speak to a landowner in your area who has a relationship with the Bird Conservancy and has agreed to act as a reference, please email our Landowner Liaison at landowner@birdconservancy.org. In addition to our survey work, the Bird Conservancy has a stewardship team that works to help conserve birds and their habitat through partnerships with private landowners. For more information, please visit the Stewardship section of our website.

What happens if a technician gets hurt on my property?

Technicians are covered by worker’s compensation while surveying birds on your land. You will not be held liable for injuries a Bird Conservancy employee receives while working on your property. Technicians carry an emergency beacon to alert emergency services if they are injured while out in the field.

What do you do with my contact information?

Your contact information is kept in a secure database maintained by the Bird Conservancy. Your information is used only for purposes related to these bird surveys. We will never sell your information to a third party.

I meant to return the Landowner Information Return Card but I cannot seem to find it; can I get another copy?

Please email the Landowner Liaison at landowner@birdconservancy.org and we can get the information you would like us to have.

For more information:
Jenny Berven
Landowner Liaison
(970) 482-1707 x26
landowner@birdconservancy.org