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IMBCR Program Update

technicians training
IMBCR technicians training at Craters of the Moon National Monument. Photo by Tempe Regan

Every year from early-May through mid-July, IBO sends numerous technicians out to the wilds of Idaho, Montana, and Utah to conduct point-count style bird surveys for a large-scale monitoring program called the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions (IMBCR).

Coordinated by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, since its pilot season in Colorado in 2008, IMBCR has grown to become one of the largest avian monitoring programs in the country.  

Ferruginous Hawk in Idaho. Photo by Erik Schoenborn
Ferruginous Hawk in Idaho. Photo by IMBCR Technician Erik Schoenborn

In 2017, it was implemented in 14 western states across a wide variety of public and private lands. This year marked the largest IMBCR effort put forth by IBO as well with a total of 26 technicians and staff members who completed a total of  598 surveys in the deserts, prairies, wetlands, and mountains across Idaho, Montana, and Utah.  

View from a panhandle survey
These surveys are full of breathtaking landscapes, as well as great birds! Photo from the Idaho Panhandle by IMBCR technician Joshua Parrot

In 2017, we detected a whopping 244 species with many notable sightings! The five most frequently detected species on all IBO completed surveys were Western Meadowlark, Horned Lark, Brewer’s Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Some of the most noteworthy species include: Costa’s Hummingbird and Hooded Oriole in Utah, Lark Buntings and Great Gray Owl in Idaho, Chimney Swifts and Tennessee Warbler in Montana, and many Greater Sage-Grouse detections throughout all three states.  

Black-throated Sparrow in Utah. Photo by Jeremy Halka
Black-throated Sparrow in Utah. Photo by Jeremy Halka