Land Bird Conservation Plan Colorado  

Executive Summary

  • Introduction

  • Overview of Colorado
    Physiographic Region 36
    Physiographic Region 62
    Physiographic Region 87
    Implementation Strategies
    Literature Cited

    Executive Summary


    Continental and local declines in numerous bird populations have led to concern for the future of migratory and resident bird species. The reasons for declines are complex. Breeding habitat loss, modification and fragmentation, loss of wintering and migratory stopover habitat, brood parasitism, and pesticide use have been implicated. In 1990, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation brought together federal, state, and local government agencies, private foundations, conservation groups, industry and the academic community to form a program to address the problem. Thus, Partners in Flight (PIF) was conceived as a voluntary, international coalition dedicated to "keeping common birds common" and "reversing the downward trends of declining species."


    The efforts to stem declines of both migratory and resident bird populations are guided by the "Flight Plan," a national PIF document that provides a simple, effective framework for establishing regional and local conservation priorities for bird populations and the habitats upon which they depend. The Flight Plan identifies four steps which will result in biologically credible bird conservation that can be embraced by all partners: 1) identify priority species and habitats; 2) establish biological objectives; 3) identify actions to achieve objectives; and 4) implement bird conservation plans and monitor progress. These steps are being accomplished through the development of PIF Bird Conservation Plans for every state and physiographic area of the country. Thanks to funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado PIF has been able to join in this effort, producing the Colorado Bird Conservation Plan.


    Effective and efficient ecological management involves determining which species and habitats are most in need of conservation. This plan identifies priority species and habitats, and establishes objectives for preserving or conserving bird populations and their habitats in Colorado. The plan not only focuses on microhabitat requirements of priority species, but also identifies landscape scale requirements. Conservation actions are recommended and partnerships are identified to accomplish the objectives.


    Of the 278 breeding bird species in Colorado, 65 priority species in 15 major habitats and three physiographic areas are addressed in the Colorado Bird Conservation Plan. Coordinating conservation by habitat enables land managers to efficiently focus on a set of priority species and the specific habitat characteristics they need. Associate species that will benefit from management actions are listed in each priority species account.

    Biological Objectives and Implementation Strategies

    Biological objectives are identified for each priority species to provide a target for ecological planning and implementation, and a benchmark for measuring success. Preliminary implementation strategies are identified to support the biological objectives, and will be further developed as the implementation phase proceeds. These strategies are organized by the statewide goals of the Colorado Bird Conservation Plan: to conserve and monitor all bird species in Colorado, monitor the quantity and quality of bird habitat, conserve unique representatives of and/or core areas in each major habitat, protect local sites that are important for conservation of priority species, promote management practices that benefit birds on all lands, conserve wintering grounds and migration habitat, develop outreach and educational programs, and identify and promote research priorities.

    Evaluation of Progress

    Research and monitoring needs are listed that relate directly to management questions. Research and monitoring are integral components of a feedback loop, supporting the plan as a dynamic document that will be updated and revised as new information becomes available. Thus, research and monitoring fulfill a critical link in the adaptive nature of this plan. The goals of the Colorado Bird Conservation Plan further provide a mechanism to evaluate the success of the Colorado PIF bird conservation implementation program on an annual basis.


    Many partners were instrumental in developing this document. However, coordination among existing and new partners is needed for the plan to succeed. Information in the plan can easily be linked with other landscape-level management programs; as implementation progresses, the plan can integrate with those other initiatives. Discussions regarding integration have already begun nationally with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and Shorebird groups. International coordination is well under way with Canada and Mexico, and coordination of projects across international boundaries is planned for the implementation phase. Although this plan is specific to birds, coordination with other species groups will be a natural progression of implementation.

    Recommended Citation

    Colorado Partners in Flight. 2000. Colorado Land Bird Conservation Plan


    We would like to extend appreciation and thanks to all of the partners who contributed their time and expertise to write this plan. Their hard work and dedication has made this very important endeavor possible. We thank all cooperating government agencies and organizations, including: Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado Bird Observatory, USGS Biological Resources Division, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, The Nature Conservancy, and Audubon of Colorado. We would like to especially thank the members of the Colorado Partners in Flight bird conservation planning team who contributed significantly to the development, writing, and editing of this plan: Carol Beidleman, Mike Carter, Jeff Connor, Beth Dillon, Ken Giesen, Scott Gillihan, Ron Lambeth, Rich Levad, Chris Pague, Dick Roth, Janet Ruth, and Chris Schultz. We would also like to thank the following individuals for their participation in manuscript review: Carol Beardmore, Bruce Baker, Doug Faulkner, Dave Hallock, Hugh Kingery, Fritz Knopf, Tony Leukering, Larry Norris, and Terri Skadeland.

    The website was developed by Scott Hutchings. Tony Leukering, Glenn Giroir, and Scott Hutchings donated the use of their photos for the website.

    Copyright 2000 - Colorado Partners In Flight. All Rights Reserved. Webmaster - Scott Hutchings