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Raptor Monitoring
Raptor Monitoring

Colorado State parks volunteers monitor raptor activity year-round

​​​​​​​​​​Raptor monitoring provides useful tools to assist land managers in stewardship and decision-making.

Why it matters

  1. Raptors are keystone predators, which is an animal without which the ecosystem would fail. 

  2. Raptors are carnivores, and their food base is comprised of fish and mammals, and reptiles. If there is a lack or decline in raptor population, one of the reasons is often lack of prey species. Therefore, these top-level carnivores provide insight into populations of small animals within the Park. 

  3. Some raptors have specific breeding and nesting needs that can indicate something about the functioning of the larger system. Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers are two good examples of how we can learn about pieces of the ecosystem puzzle, and whether certain areas of the Park may be experiencing excess disturbance.

The functioning of the Park ecosystem is dependent on raptors. By monitoring the presence of birds and nests, we gain a clearer picture​ of the overall functioning of the system. From there, we can formulate suggestions about how to promote healthy system functioning. 

Besides these invaluable benefits, raptors are amazing, charismatic creatures that are relatively easy and a whole lot of fun to monitor! It’s a great way to learn about the ecosystem and get volunteers involved in public land stewardship and management.