National Park Service


Date of this Version



Natural Resource Report NPS/HTLN/NRR 2019/1937 / NPS 368/154153, June 2019: v, 27 pages

Editing and design by Tani Hubbard

Published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, Fort Collins, Colorado

Also available at:

Please cite this publication as:

Peitz, D. G., L. W. Morrison, and K. L. Mecke. 2019. Bird monitoring at Homestead National Monument of America: Status report 2009–2017. Natural Resource Report NPS/HTLN/NRR—2019/1937. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.


United States government work. Public domain material.


Executive Summary

In 2009, the Heartland Inventory Monitoring Network initiated breeding bird surveys on Homestead National Monument of America, Nebraska, to address two objectives: (1) to monitor changes in bird community composition and abundance, and (2) to improve our understanding of relationships between breeding birds and habitat, and the effects of management actions on those relationships. This report evaluates trends in the park’s breeding bird populations in the context of trends observed within the North American Bird Conservation Initiative’s (NABCI) Central Mixed Grass Prairie Bird Conservation Region, the region in which the park is located. By doing so, we can assess the influence of park habitat management on bird populations with an understanding of regional population trends that are outside the influence of natural resource management activities at the Homestead national Monument of America.

Eighty-six species of birds were recorded during May and June site visits in the nine years since initiating monitoring. Seventy-four of the species are considered breeding species because they are permanent or summer residents. Two of the breeding species recorded on Homestead National Monument of America are species of concern for the Central Mixed Grass Prairie Bird Conservation Region. Thirteen species were observed during the survey period in sufficient numbers to calculate annual abundances and trends with some degree of confidence.

The American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis), Dickcissel (Spiza americana), House Wren (Troglodytes aedon), and Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) were the most abundant and widespread species on Homestead National Monument of America. Comparing population trends of the thirteen most recorded species on the park with regional trends for the Central Mixed Grass Prairie Bird Conservation Region were inconclusive, but suggest that trends in populations on the park were similar to trends in populations found region-wide for most species present. However, some differences in population trends were observed between the park and the region.

This report provides current regional and local trends for breeding birds for future comparisons with bird data collected as part of the long-term monitoring efforts at Homestead National Monument of America. This information will help park staff plan management objectives, and assess the effectiveness of management alternatives. These monitoring data also provide park staff with additional information for interpreting natural resources.