ColonyWatch: Colonial Waterbirds in Colorado

ColonyWatch involves private citizens, wildlife managers and other interested parties in monitoring colonial waterbirds in Colorado. Information about bird colony sizes and locations gathered by ColonyWatchers is used by resource managers to effect long-term conservation.

The following waterbird species have been monitored by ColonyWatch:

• 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? They have included wildlife biologists who monitor colonial waterbirds as part of their professional duties, members of nonprofit conservation organizations, landowners whose properties host colonies, and people who live near a colony and already watch it regularly. ColonyWatch participants often combine this volunteer bird conservation work with other skills and interests, such as boating or bird-watching.

What skills and training are needed? Anyone who enjoys birds and is concerned with their conservation can be an effective ColonyWatcher. Some colonies require careful, scientific monitoring methods, but most require 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 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. 

(photo by Chuck Hundertmark)

Colony watch guidlines exit disclaimer
Colony watch form exit disclaimer

Get involved:
Jason Beason
Special Monitoring Projects Coordinator
2012 Rocky Mountain Observatory