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 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.
The deserts and canyons of the American Southwest are home to an array of unusual and captivating wildlife. Among these amazing animals is a species that’s easy to overlook—but not because it’s ordinary. Quite the opposite! Literally pint-sized and weighing less than a golf ball, if you weren’t looking carefully, you could easily miss the world’s smallest owl.
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.
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.
Emily Chavez recently began a new chapter in her life in a familiar setting. Here in the San Luis Valley, the land of her ancestors, she has ‘rediscovered’ a special place that is close to her heart. Emily shares her story of how heritage, imparted wisdom and new knowledge are coming together to further bird conservation in southern Colorado.
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.
Nineteen Mennonite students from Cuauhtémoc recently joined us in the field and experienced a day in the life of bird biologists. Representing a vital piece of the conservation puzzle in Chihuahua, their visit opens new pathways for awareness, conversation and collaboration to help grassland birds on Mexico’s wintering grounds.