A Day in the Life of a Bird Counter

Lark Bunting

Diane VanLandingham owns ranchland near LaJunta, Colorado, and has permitted bird counters with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies onto her land to survey bird species and count their populations. She’s an enthusiastic participant in a new bird-counting program that provides higher quality data on bird populations and records information on the plants making up a local habitat. Jeff Birek is a bird counter and team manager with the Conservancy. He talks about the work of documenting bird populations.

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Landowner Response to Bird Population Surveys

Some landowners are wary of the motivations of technicians gathering bird data on their land. The more accurate data provided by the bird census program can benefit private landowners, who often shudder when there’s talk a bird might be listed as threatened or endangered because of land-use regulations such a listing can bring. Better data on bird populations has resulted in findings of higher populations of particular bird species — sometimes keeping a bird from being listed.

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Bird Population Surveys Benefit Landowners

Mountain Plover

A new program for counting birds relies on random data-collection-points across a landscape — some on public land, some on private. Ranchers shudder when there’s talk a critter might be listed as threatened or endangered; rules sometimes are imposed that impact or impede operations. This new bird-count program finds that bird populations may exist in larger numbers than assumed. In other words, allowing bird-counters on private land today can keep regulators off the land in the future.

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