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.
Every year in late spring and summer, our field season crew traipses across mountains, prairies and deserts to survey birds under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. As this post from our of our field technicians attests, these rugged and remote landscapes don’t always make it easy!
The Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program started in Colorado in 2008 and has since expanded to 15 states and 10 Bird Conservation Regions. In honor of its 10th anniversary, we invite you to explore a few examples how IMBCR data has benefited bird conservation over the past decade.
Brown-capped Rosy-Finches nest at higher elevations than any other bird species in the United States, and their breeding distribution is almost entirely limited to Colorado. Despite residing in an almost pristine environment for most of the year, they have declined by as much as 95% over the past 50 years and, unfortunately, we don’t know why. Read on to learn more about our efforts to solve this mystery.
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (formerly Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory) and partners wrapped up their seventh season of surveys under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions program, one of the largest breeding bird monitoring programs in North America. Seasonal biologist David Kramer offers highlights from a wet, snowy survey season.
The Bird Conservancy (formerly Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory) collaborated with a graduate student at Oxford University to study the impacts of natural gas well pads and their associated roads on the distribution of sagebrush-obligate songbirds. The student, Max Mutter, writes about the experiences leading up to the study and shares a key result.
The Greater Sage-Grouse represents a special part of our country’s sagebrush steppe ecosystem. Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory is testing the effectiveness of different types of fence markers to help these grouse avoid collisions with fences. Field crew leader Taylor Gorman and biologist Nick Van Lanen offer insights from the first season of this study before heading back into the field.
With summer waning, RMBO has completed its sixth season of conducting surveys under the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program. How many birds were counted? What new and rare species were detected? Biologist Nick Van Lanen answers these questions and offers a wrap-up of another successful summer survey season.
Earlier this year, RMBO hosted forums to gauge feedback on a new Decision Support Tool. The tool helps compare management options that ensure the economic viability of grazing lands with the habitat needs of sagebrush-dependent songbirds and grouse.