On October 22, HawkWatch International's Conservation Biologist Kylan Frye-Christensen presented the final report of HWI's year-long project with Cedar City Field Office (CCFO) of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This project began last year as an effort to track how raptors use the landscape during different seasons within areas that are selected for potential renewable energy development. We focused efforts on a fall migration count, a winter raptor survey and an intensive nest survey that will serve as a baseline for continued monitoring within the area. Because of their conservation status within the BLM, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), there were five species selected as focal species: Golden and Bald Eagles, Ferruginous Hawks, Burrowing Owls and Peregrine Falcons.
During our fall migration survey, two of the three sites showed little migratory action, with a third picking up a few birds during a late season storm, which might have blown birds from near the I-15 corridor. Our winter survey showed milder temperatures and less snow cover than we'd predicted, leading us to believe that the concentrations of raptors we saw were probably different than what we'd see during a typical winter, when snowpack concentrates prey base and birds in certain areas. When compared to other nearby sites that HWI's citizen scientists monitor, we found much fewer birds in the CCFO region. During the spring effort, we found many new nests, including three new Golden Eagle nests, seven new Ferruginous Hawk nests and four new Burrowing Owls nests while visiting over 75 historical nesting records provided from the field office. A big thanks to our stellar crew: for Fall: Gretchen Henne, Carolyn Wilcox, Glenn Dunmire and John Cannon, Winter: Bryce Robinson and AJ MacLaren; and Spring: Dennis Kaleta and Chris Vennum.