As the summer slowly progresses towards fall many birds are finished nesting and feeding fledglings and are preparing for the next step in their annual cycle. Some will migrate south as far as Central and South America, while others will hunker down for winter in the same areas where they bred. Each morning the dawn chorus is a little quieter and the species list less diverse. To a technician working on the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program this signals that the point counts are done for the year and they too will move on to their next adventure.
There are always eyes reflecting back in the beam of my headlamp. Usually, it is deer or elk, their silhouettes looking vaguely alien because of their large ears. Other times, it is a Common Poorwill that sits on the trail, eyes reflecting red, and flutters up in a panic when I walk too close. A handful of times it has been a bear, that crashes away through the undergrowth once it catches a whiff of this unwashed field tech and vanishes astonishingly quickly for an animal so large…
Being a birder means a lot of different things to many different people. Some birders go out every week to count and list as many species as they can find, while others have a yard list of the birds they identify from their window. Read below for a guest blog from Eric DeFonso, a Bird Conservancy seasonal field crew leader for our Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. Eric shows how sometimes, birding by sight is not always feasible or possible.
Every year, biologists and technicians traverse on foot across mountains, prairies, and deserts to survey breeding birds under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. The second largest breeding bird monitoring program in North America, IMBCR’s footprint stretches across private and public land from the Great Plains to the Great Basin. Check out this StoryMap for a closer look at this impressive program!
Bird Conservancy runs many scientific, educational, and outreach programs that promote birds and their habitats and inspire people’s love of nature, and we are proud of the impact we have on our communities. In one year alone, we enhanced over 29,000 acres across six states, reached almost 6,000 participants through virtual outreach opportunities, and monitored one million acres to determine bird responses to management and restoration efforts. But none of these programs would be successful without our talented and dedicated staff. In this post, we highlight one employee who works behind the scenes year-round to implement one of the largest breeding bird monitoring programs in North America – Matthew McLaren, the coordinator for the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program at Bird Conservancy. He’s been a dedicated member of our organization since 2011, and he’s “what makes IMBCR work year in and year out.”
GIS is an acronym that stands for Geographic Information Science, or Geographic Information System. This powerful technology enables Bird Conservancy Biologists to answer research questions, design scientific surveys, and measure the impacts of conservation projects on bird populations at a landscape scale.
Forest management has evolved rapidly over the last two decades as land managers strive to find a balance between wildlife habitat needs, resource utilization, fire mitigation, and resilience to climate change. Using birds as indicators, Bird Conservancy and partners explored the impacts of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and how modern forest management approaches are shaping avian biodiversity in treated landscapes.
After six years, nine states and over 200 surveys, IMBCR technician Mike McCloy shares his perspective on the importance of counting birds to conservation, the challenges and joys of being a field tech, and how he (and the landscapes he traverses) have changed.
For over ten years, private landowners have been granting permission for Bird Conservancy to conduct bird surveys on their land. These partners in conservation enable us to learn about bird populations across the whole landscape, beyond public lands. Equally important are the lasting friendships that often form between our staff and the landowners as they bond over birds, landscapes and the stewardship values we share.