Spotting Songbirds in the Rockies

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Spotting Songbirds in the Rockies

What happens when human development bumps up against unspoiled land? Listen to Rocky Mountain songbirds to find out.

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

The research team monitored over 25 migratory bird species, including the four focused on during this expedition.

These researchers have shared their bird monitoring programs with more than 10,000 participants over more than 20 years.

Most of us appreciate the beauty of the natural world—say, the lively whistle of the yellow warbler outside the window. But appreciation is not enough to preserve such pleasures. Scientists know that understanding a species’ population trends is essential to making smart decisions about how to protect it.

Volunteers in partnership between Earthwatch and the Teton Science Schools ultimately guided agencies and conservation organizations as they made decisions that directly affected avian conservation. Over the past five years, researchers have monitored more than 400 songbird nests at different sites around the area, and their data analysis suggests lower nest success in sites surrounded by human development. More predators, like house cats, could be visiting nests, or the habitat quality could be worse near development—poor vegetation, or fewer spiders and centipedes to eat.

Researcher measuring bird wing

Researchers measuring birds.

The least-developed site, in Grand Teton National Park, continues to be the best for birds.Researchers needed information to understand these patterns.

About the research area

Wyoming, United States, North America & Arctic

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists




Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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