Did you know?

Nearly 3 billion birds have been lost in North America since 1970. Roughly 25% of those were grassland birds.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and assessment of bird populations and bird responses to landscape changes is an important component of effective conservation, and the NGPJV supports a diversity of local, regional, and continental monitoring programs. Data provided by these programs have been used in various models and analyses to understand which birds are most vulnerable, where bird numbers are declining, and where there may be opportunities for conservation. The NGPJV continues to work with our partners to better understand how conservation actions are directly and indirectly affecting bird populations.

Some of the monitoring programs in the NGPJV include:

  • The Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), managed by the U.S. Geological Survey, is the longest-running bird monitoring program on the continent. BBS data allow scientists to track bird status and population trends.
  • The Integrated Monitoring by Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) program, coordinated by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, stretches across the western United States and provides estimates of bird densities and occupancy rates at a variety of spatial scales.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinates the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey each May in portions of the Northern Great Plains to track trends in waterfowl populations and wetland breeding habitat. These data are used to determine how current waterfowl numbers compare with population objectives set in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
  • Species-specific surveys organized by state agencies and non-governmental organizations help provide information on target species or species that require targeted monitoring approaches:
    • Greater Sage-grouse and Sharp-tailed grouse are monitored on display grounds in early spring.
    • Colonial nesting waterbirds occur in large, concentrated numbers in late spring; breeding birds are best monitored by counting nests rather than individuals.
    • Long-billed curlews are best monitored in early spring, prior to BBS and IMBCR surveys which are traditionally conducted in late spring and early summer.
    • Mountain Plovers, Burrowing Owls, and other species with specialized habitat requirements often require targeted monitoring.