Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions eNewsletter
Summer 2020

Welcome to the fifth IMBCR e-newsletter! With this outlet, we will showcase IMBCR data applications for management and conservation efforts, highlight the many partners and faces that make IMBCR possible, and provide updates and outreach materials. Please forward the newsletter to any interested colleagues who might find the material useful. If you have examples you would like to share using IMBCR data or would like to get involved in this monitoring effort, please contact Jen!

Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR) is a breeding landbird monitoring program that spans the Great Plains to the Intermountain West. A nested, probabilistic sampling design allows us to make inference about bird populations at multiple scales across public and private lands. Click here for more information about the program including the IMBCR vision and mission statement.
IMBCR Announcements
The 2020 IMBCR field season was a success! Field crews completed approximately 98% of surveys (2,088 transects), which is a similar completion rate to normal years. Covid-19 presented a few challenges, such as difficulty finding internet access, limited access to tribal lands, and a delayed start to the field season. However, crew leaders and field technicians made the best of the situation while following health and safety guidelines. For technician Scott Gibson, surveying in Utah's national parks was extra special this year--it's not every day you have Arches National Park to yourself. Now that the fieldwork is completed, the long process of proofing the data for quality begins. THANK YOU to the crew leaders and field technicians for completing a successful field season amid difficult conditions!
Photo credits clockwise: New Mexico prairie (J. Timmer), Badlands National Park (D. Sandahl), a Utah sunrise (K. Marvel), the Maze in Canyonlands National Park (S. Gibson), White River National Forest in Colorado (K. Amicarelli), Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado (J. Timmer)
Staff Migrations
Bird Conservancy and the IMBCR crew leaders recently lost 3 great assets to the team: Brittany Leslie, Nick Van Lanen, and Alex Van Boer. Brittany led the PLJV crew across the Southern Great Plains from 2016-2019. She traded in field crew wrangling for wrangling her 2 daughters full-time. Nick led the Wyoming crew from 2011-2019 and Utah 2020. He will be a full-time student contractor with the USGS as he finishes his PhD. Alex led the Utah crew from 2016-2019 and Wyoming 2020. He is moving to Maine with his family back to his northeastern roots. We wish them well in future endeavors and will miss them!
Clockwise: Brittany (Woiderski) Leslie with Sylvia and Luna, Nick Van Lanen, and Alex Van Boer with Alden.
IMBCR Partner Spotlight
Frank Blomquist
Wildlife Biologist (Wyoming BLM)

The Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been an IMBCR partner since 2009. Frank Blomquist heard about the IMBCR program when he was working with Partners in Flight to develop a conservation plan for Wyoming's birds. When he needed to consider migratory birds for a large oil and gas project, Frank contacted Bird Conservancy in 2010 to set up an adaptive management project in the Atlantic Rim Project Area using the IMBCR sampling design.
Putting the Data to Work

Frank uses the bird monitoring data in two main ways. For an adaptive management project, such as the Atlantic Rim project, Frank monitors occupancy of sagebrush species of concern in areas with (treatment) and without (control) oil and gas drilling. If occupancy rates in treatment areas fall below certain thresholds compared to control areas, he implements mitigation or management actions. For more information about the Atlantic Rim project, see this factsheet or a related publication.

Frank also uses the monitoring information to inform future projects. He is currently monitoring birds pre- and post-treatment for a transmission line project and several juniper removal projects. How the birds respond to these two activities will help Frank make future management decisions that lessen their impact on migratory birds .
Map: The Atlantic Rim Project Area in south-central Wyoming
Applying the Data
For his PhD research, Nick Van Lanen will use IMBCR data to model habitat relationships for sagebrush and pinyon-juniper species of concern in the Intermountain West, and develop density distribution maps for each species across the region. He will then create a management tool to determine regions where PJ thinning will maximize benefits to sagebrush species and minimize risk to PJ species. If you are a manager working within the PJ system, please contact Nick so he can learn about what tools or analyses would be most beneficial to you in making decisions on the ground. Also if you have upcoming PJ-thinning projects, Nick would like to conduct pre- and post-treatment bird monitoring across a variety of treatment and control sites. This will allow him to better understand bird response to PJ thinning and evaluate the predictive ability of his models. Contact Nick at
Kristin Ross and Pat Magee (Western Colorado University) are collaborating with the BLM in Gunnison to evaluate the effects of roads on Gunnison sage-grouse and other sagebrush-obligate birds. They used the IMBCR design to compare bird occurrence in roaded and roadless areas; there are no clear relationships yet but analyses are ongoing. In addition, they plan to track the progression of cheatgrass invasion in the Gunnison Basin and see if the progression has impacted bird diversity or abundance. Finally, they plan to evaluate the effects of recreational disturbance and different grazing practices on birds in the Basin. Listen to Kristin's presentation here.
Left: Brewer's sparrow
Above: Black-throated gray warbler
Visit this spreadsheet of IMBCR data examples--factsheets, blogs, reports, publications, special projects, and data requests. Please let Jen know if you have suggestions for making these data applications more accessible to partners and other natural resource professionals.

We will host webinars every spring and fall to highlight examples for using IMBCR data and accessing the Rocky Mountain Avian Data Center for management applications. The first webinar was on determining project-level impacts on migratory birds for an aspen regeneration project in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The next webinar will be this fall on using IMBCR data for migratory bird consideration with management decisions for the BLM. Stay tuned for registration details!
Stay in touch!
Contact Jen Timmer ( with questions, example applications of IMBCR data, pictures, or any other contributing material for future IMBCR e-newsletters.