National Park Service

Northern Colorado Plateau Network (NCPN)

Parks in this Network

NCPN Network Map
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Landbird Monitoring

Monitoring Briefs
Monitoring Reports
Monitoring Protocol
Cooperator: Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
Contact: Dusty Perkins
Western tanager, Capitol Reef NP. NPS photo Western tanager, Capitol Reef National Park


By occupying various levels in the food web, birds play an important role in the flow of energy through ecosystems. As nestlings, they consume insects. As adults, birds eat insects and plants and are, in turn, eaten by birds and mammals higher up the food chain. Because they can be sensitive to habitat change, birds are good indicators of ecosystem integrity. They also have strong public appeal; unlike many other animals on the xeric Colorado Plateau, birds are diurnal and, thus, commonly visible to park visitors. Data from the relatively natural habitats of Northern Colorado Plateau Network (NCPN) national parks will provide status and trend information useful in comparisons with more-impacted areas.

Long-term Monitoring

The NCPN is partnering with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO) to assess breeding-bird species trends in three different habitats: low-elevation riparian, pinyon-juniper, and sagebrush-shrubland. NCPN survey plots will contribute to the RMBO's broader, landscape-scale breeding-bird monitoring program, which includes more than 1,000 plots in 13 states in the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau. RMBO surveys 15 transects in each of the three habitats of interest across 11 NCPN parks. Point counts and area searches are also conducted as part of a modified monitoring design at Pipe Spring National Monument.

Park Units Monitored

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Last Updated: February 07, 2017 Contact Webmaster