The Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO) has released the first-ever conservation plan for grassland bird species that winter in the Chihuahuan Desert. Grassland birds have declined more steeply than any other group of North American birds.

The Chihuahuan Desert Grassland Bird Conservation Plan was developed with support from the Rio Grande Joint Venture and American Bird Conservancy. The plan provides a wide range of science-based information to guide everyone from on-the-ground land managers to program- and policy-level decision-makers in maintaining and improving habitat for grassland bird species of high conservation concern.

RMBO scientists used bird and vegetation monitoring data to develop the recommendations in the conservation plan. The data were collected by RMBO and its partners over the past six years, thanks to support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service International Program, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the University of Nuevo León, The Nature Conservancy, and others.

The plan focuses on providing an understanding of the distribution, abundance and habitat associations of five declining grassland bird species: Baird’s Sparrow, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Lark Bunting, Sprague’s Pipit, and Loggerhead Shrike. Specifically, it demonstrates how species’ densities respond to habitat conditions and management actions that can affect habitat. The plan also articulates how many individuals of each species are potentially supported today in each of ten grassland priority conservation areas in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Download the plan for free from RMBO’s website.

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