Bird Conservancy of the Rockies researchers are developing a network of automated radio telemetry stations to study the movement of grassland birds. This work will help fill in missing information about where these birds go during migration, and will ultimately help managers better conserve important grasslands for the birds to use into the future.
The cultural heritage of those that tend the land and call it home—from ranchers to Indigenous Peoples to ejidos—is closely tied to the fate of grasslands. Rural communities and economies depend on healthy grasslands and the services they provide which include aquifer recharge, productive rangelands, outdoor recreation and more. Despite their importance, the plight of grasslands has been largely overlooked, but a new initiative has launched which aims to chart a better future for this precious resource.
Little is known about grassland birds during migration. Automated radio telemetry through the Motus Wildlife Tracking System can help us understand bird movement during this part of their life cycle. Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is implementing a three-phase, multiyear project to expand the Motus network into the Great Plains and Chihuahuan Desert, installing receiving stations along avian flyways to capture vital data and fill knowledge gaps.
Grassland bird populations are declining and the majority of species are understudied on their wintering grounds. In the winter of 2020, we implemented a regional monitoring program in the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas to establish baseline population estimates of grassland birds. We surveyed on a number of expansive cattle ranches, each exhibiting fascinating ecological and management histories. Through the implementation of this program, we can share that collaboration between ranching operations and grassland bird conservation is mutually beneficial.
The grassland ecosystem of North America is home to some of the fastest-declining species of birds. Sustainable ranching practices are a vital part of the grasslands story — past, present, and future. That’s why Bird Conservancy of the Rockies invests in land stewardship efforts on working lands. Together with private landowners, we are partnering to conserve, restore and revitalize healthy prairie landscapes for the benefit of people and wildlife communities across the Great Plains.
Join us for a special virtual program featuring Grady Grissom, owner of Rancho Largo Custom Beef and 2017 Leopold Conservation Award Winner, and Tammy VerCauteren, Executive Director at Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. They’ll share their perspectives about cattle ranching and conservation on private lands, and their relationship to bird conservation. We’ll also explore how birds serve as indicators of healthy, productive landscapes and the role they can play in helping land managers as stewards of natural resources.
The Sprague’s Pipit is a charismatic songbird of North American grasslands. If you’ve ever wandered the Northern Great Plains in summer, you’ve probably heard their sweet song, and maybe even seen their high-altitude aerial displays which can last for hours. One of many fast-declining grassland bird species, we’re urgently working to learn more about the life cycle of the Sprague’s Pipit so that its song can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.
Join Bird Conservancy of the Rockies’ Community and Outreach Biologist Erin Youngberg as she shares news about avian conservation and research efforts at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area. Erin will reveal some exciting trends from over 10 years of studying birds in this special landscape.
Since 1970, less than a single lifetime, North America has lost more than one in four of its birds, according to a report in the world’s leading scientific journal. New findings just published in the journal Science confirm staggering losses among birds. Based on nearly 50 years of data, this research for the first time quantifies a long-developing but overlooked ecological crisis.