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!
A BioBlitz brings together community members, students, naturalists, and scientists to find and identify as many birds, plants, insects, reptiles, mammals and other organisms as possible in a short period of time. The result is a snapshot of the biodiversity of a specific place.This year over 68 attendees and ten volunteer survey leaders recorded 70+ species of plants and animals! No matter our level of expertise, we all saw new species and learned new ways to find and identify them, and had a great time exploring this local biodiversity hotspot.
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies implements wintering grassland bird monitoring throughout the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico and the southern United States. The data we collecst inform Full Annual-Cycle conservation strategies of grassland bird species in decline. We train field crews in English and Spanish in order to implement consistent and high quality data collection across the international border. We highly value the expertise of our conservation partners in Mexico.and our have embraced the bilingual and multicultural component of our programs in the region.
Dogs aren’t new to me, but they almost seemed that way when I moved to the San Luis Valley and started working as a Private Lands Wildlife Biologist. I grew up in Chicago, IL and the dogs I knew were house pups – used to lazy mornings and an afternoon walk. So when I moved to the San Luis Valley and met a cattle dog that wanted nothing to do with me, I was surprised. But by spending time with local landowners and their dogs, I quickly learned the difference between the “pet” dogs I’d grown up with and the working dogs out here in the San Luis Valley – and much more. I’m a Private Lands Wildlife Biologist and I work with landowners, ranchers, and farmers to conserve wildlife habitat on their properties. Landowners are typically focused on making a living and carrying on generations-old traditions, while I am focused on creating and enhancing habitat for migratory and resident birds. These goals often go together, allowing us to develop and work on projects that both enhance landowner operations and benefit birds and other wildlife.
In winter, many of North America’s grassland birds inhabit remote and unpopulated areas within the Chihuahuan Desert of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. For this reason, much of the nonbreeding period of grassland birds remains a mystery to bird researchers and conservationists. Unfortunately, many grassland species are steeply declining and the lack of knowledge on these species and their habitats during the nonbreeding season can pose significant challenges for conservation. Until we identify and understand the struggles and needs of nonbreeding grassland birds, population declines are likely to continue. Conservation strategies backed by science are key to ensuring that grasslands persist so that the birds that inhabit them can survive the winter and return safely to the breeding grounds to sing or sit on a nest again.
Knapweed is a common pest on disturbed land, and as a perennial plant that can reproduce both by seed and creeping roots, it is a very successful invader. This sort of creeping perennial is very difficult to get rid of even with more active control methods, like herbicides. Biotic control is an alternative strategy that may increase effective weed suppression. Gall wasps lay their eggs inside the knapweed, forming stem galls on young knapweed plants, which slow the plant’s growth, diverting nutrients from flowers and seeds. Using gall wasps as biotic control, we aim to reduce the spread of knapweed and give native species a better opportunity to compete. Restoring disturbed land is a long-term endeavor, but it has to start somewhere, and gall wasps are just one piece of the puzzle in restoring Eastern Colorado rangelands.
In a world filled with uncertainty, jam-packed schedules and unrealistic expectations, we and our children deserve a place where we can find solace and peace. For many of us, that place is in nature. Unfortunately, many of today’s children don’t have access to safe, natural spaces. At Bird Conservancy, we want to change that by offering a variety of opportunities where families can connect with each other and the outdoors. One way we do this is through our Family and Homeschool Programs. Each month, families come together at our Environmental Learning Center (ELC) at Barr Lake State Park to learn, play and spend quality time together. One month we may go birding by canoe; the next, we may learn all about raptors or create nature art. No matter the topic, curiosity and smiles abound!
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!
Every year during spring and fall, billions of birds across North America migrate between their breeding grounds and wintering grounds. The vast majority of these birds migrate primarily at night, using the night sky to navigate. However, much of the night sky throughout the United States experiences some degree of light pollution from our cities, disorienting birds and leading to exhaustion and death. Luckily, there are several simple and easy solutions to the problem of light pollution that all of us can help achieve!
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.”