Once a year each winter, dozens of volunteers congregate at Barr Lake State Park to dedicate their day to a singular purpose: tally every bird of every species seen within a 15-mile diameter circle centered on Barr Lake. This tradition has been taking place every year since 1980 at Barr Lake, but the origins of the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) go back much further.
Grassland bird populations have seen a greater decrease than any other guild of birds in North America since the 1970s. To address these steep declines, Bird Conservancy implements a Non-breeding Grassland Bird Monitoring Program in the Chihuahuan Desert where the majority of North American migratory grassland birds overwinter. We are using this survey data to establish baseline population estimates for several species of grassland birds and to track changes in populations, habitat types and conditions across years.
In this presentation, Avian Ecologist Annie Hawkinson will share background information on this program and provide an example of how data collected can benefit the conservation of the Baird’s sparrow. Annie will also share what it is like to coordinate a monitoring effort across the US and MX border.
The program fee is $3 to attend this webinar.
In order to provide equitable access to all, complimentary tickets are available at no cost to the participant thanks to support from generous donors.
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing the ZOOM link to be used the day of the webinar.
* Registration closes at 11:59 pm on 8/18/22
Grasslands contribute to the air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we enjoy, and landscapes we love to explore. They offer natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, even as they feed millions and support the livelihoods of rural communities. They help purify our world by capturing water and carbon in the soil and deep underground, mitigating undesirable events like climate change, wildfire and severe drought. Despite all this, grasslands are underappreciated by many. Read on to learn more about why grasslands are important to our world, and what you can do to help ensure their conservation for future generations!
Bird Conservancy and our partners spent much of 2021 implementing the first phase of a network of bird tracking stations across the Great Plains. It’s been an exhilarating, exhausting and rewarding year installing Motus stations at amazing places across central Flyway. We worked closely many partners, put 18 new Motus stations on the map, planned future sites, and watched as our towers detect tagged birds! The work continues with Motus stations installed throughout the Rocky Mountain West and northern Mexico, coupled with training opportunities for partners and deployment of over 100 radio tags on grassland birds.
With over 70% of landownership in the Great Plains and Intermountain West being privately owned, landowners are one of the keys to conservation of wildlife habitat. Many at-risk bird species use private lands during their annual life-cycle. Our Private Lands Wildlife biologists work assist landowners in navigating the complex process for securing funding for management plans, habitat enhancements, and infrastructure improvements on working lands through USDA Farm Bill. By targeting the specific needs of local stakeholders and geographic areas, we not only make funding more accessible, but we use the resources more efficiently to ensure conservation is happening where it’s needed most.
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.