Monitoring Colonial Waterbirds in Colorado
What is ColonyWatch?
ColonyWatch is a project that involves private citizens, wildlife managers, and
other interested parties in monitoring colonial waterbirds in Colorado. ColonyWatchers
gather information about colony size and locations. Resource managers, to effect
long-term conservation, use this information.
Which birds are monitored?
All of the ColonyWatch species are waterbirds. The following species are monitored
• Eared Grebe
• Western Grebe
• Clark’s Grebe
• American White Pelican
• Double-crested Cormorant
• Great Blue Heron
• Great Egret
• Snowy Egret
• Cattle Egret
• Black-crowned Night-Heron
• White-faced Ibis
• Franklin’s Gull
• California Gull
• Black Tern
• Forster’s Tern
Who are ColonyWatchers?
Current participants include wildlife biologists whose professional duties include
monitoring colonial waterbirds, members of non-profit conservation organizations,
landowners whose properties host colonies, and people who live near a colony and
already watch it regularly.
ColonyWatch participants often are able to combine other skills with interests with
bird conservation. Several boating enthusiasts and fishermen monitor grebe and heron
nesting sites. Some bird-watchers contribute counts of cormorant nests from their
favorite birding location.
What skills and training are required?
Anyone who enjoys birds and is concerned with their conservation can be an effective
ColonyWatcher. Some colonies require careful, scientific, monitoring methods, but
the vast majority requires only the ability to recognize the birds and to follow
a simple monitoring protocol. Anyone who has an interest can acquire the necessary
skills, and technical support is always available from the project coordinator and
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.
What is the time commitment?
ColonyWatchers devote anywhere from an hour or so to several days monitoring a colony.
A large colony containing several species may require a number of visits, each of
several hours duration. Most of the colonies are small and many can be surveyed
in a single visit. Most ColonyWatchers take responsibility for a single colony,
but some have adopted up to a dozen.
To volunteer or for more information, please contact the project coordinator:
Jason Beason Special Monitoring Projects Coordinator
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
39405 Lund Road
Paonia, Colorado 81428