Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Welcome to the Raptor Monitoring Department!

Raptors are keystone predators - animals without which the ecosystem would fail. 

Raptors are carnivores, and their food base is comprised of fish, 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 parks. 

Some raptors have specific breeding and nesting needs that can indicate something about the functions of the larger system. Bald eagles and northern harriers provide good windows into the ecosystem puzzle, and whether certain areas of the park may be experiencing excess disturbance. 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.

Seeing a bird of prey in the wild is an incredible experience and one that is quite common in many of our state parks. We want to keep it that way. By staying on top of the whereabouts, behaviors and populations of the raptors that call our parks home, we can plan ahead when considering land use and recreation changes. By protecting their territory and allowing them their space, we carry on the opportunity to spot a raptor for generations to come. 

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You can make a difference by becoming a Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteer. By becoming a volunteer you can learn new skills, meet new people, and visit new landscapes. Outdoor stewardship will become a new and rewarding aspect of your life. Have fun and give something back at the same time!

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