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SGS-LTER Avian Road Counts (Breeding Bird Survey) in eastern Colorado, USA 1994-2002

posted on 2024-02-13, 15:09 authored by Ronald Ryder

This data package was produced by researchers working on the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) Project, administered at Colorado State University. Long-term datasets and background information (proposals, reports, photographs, etc.) on the SGS-LTER project are contained in a comprehensive project collection within the Digital Collections of Colorado. The data table and associated metadata document, which is in Ecological Metadata Language, may be available through other repositories serving the ecological research community and represent components of the larger SGS-LTER project collection. The Breeding Bird Survey is a large-scale survey of North American birds. It is a roadside survey, primarily covering the continental United States and southern Canada, although survey routes have recently been initiated in Alaska and northern Mexico. The BBS was started in 1966, and the over 3,500 routes are surveyed in June by experienced birders. Routes 305, Nunn and 901, Rockport are located in the area of the SGS research site. The primary objective of the BBS has been the estimation of population change for songbirds. However, the data have many potential uses, and investigators have used the data to address a variety of research and management objectives. In the USGS-BBS Home Page, reults from the BBS are summarized, and pictures of birds and other species information. Data from 1966 - 2002 were managed by the SGS-LTER project. Additional information and referenced materials can be found:

Resources in this dataset:



National Science Foundation: DEB 1027319


Data contact name

Kaplan, Nicole

Data contact email


Colorado State University

Use limitations

URL for Access Policies Data Access Policy Data sets were provided by the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research group, a partnership between Colorado State University, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, and the U.S. Forest Service Pawnee National Grassland. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DEB-1027319. The Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) project (1980-2014) was funded by National Science Foundation as one of the first sites in the US LTER Network. This collaborative, interdisciplinary research project was established in the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University by ecosystem scientists who learned novel approaches to study grassland ecosystems during the International Biome Program (IBP) (1968-1974). The SGS-LTER project was built upon the foundation of data and information obtained during IBP, as scientists sought to identify and follow, and often manipulate in experiments, important ecosystem processes over the long-term. The objectives of the SGS-LTER project were to investigate what mechanisms regulate processes in the shortgrass steppe. Research questions focused on how biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem are coupled, where and when ecosystem components are most vulnerable to perturbations, disseminating information that would be helpful for rangeland management and assessing impacts of climate change. Scientists explored variations in the structure and function of the ecosystem over space and time and sought to understand how these aspects are governed by climate, natural disturbance, biota, physiography, and human use. Scientists at the SGS-LTER integrated long-term monitoring data, designed experimental studies, performed and advanced modeling techniques, and synthesized data to conduct innovative research, education, and outreach. The core SGS-LTER research site was established on the Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER) in Nunn, Colorado, part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. The research site sits in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains at the western edge of the shortgrass steppe of North America. The shortgrass steppe ecosystem evolved with grazing by the American bison, which has now been replaced by cattle. Grazing by domestic livestock is the primary land use of native grassland, which occupies about 60% of the land area of the shortgrass steppe. Short grasses dominate the vegetation community, which have adapted to grazing and less than 400 mm of annual rainfall. The topography is characterized by gently rolling hills, broad ephemeral stream courses and low flat-topped terraces. Aspects of physiography regulate the shortgrass steppe ecosystem, including landscape position, soil age, water holding capacity, soil depth and surface texture which, in turn, determine such properties as soil moisture storage, net primary productivity and the distribution of small mammals such as prairie dogs and pocket gophers. SGS-LTER scientists have expanded their research studies beyond the CPER to identify similar or different patterns in ecosystem structure and function in North American grasslands; across the Great Plains region and along the latitudinal gradient from Wyoming to Mexico. They also conducted cross-site collaborative research and compared their results and tested theories in grasslands located in South America, Asia and Africa. Funding from NSF for the SGS-LTER project ended in 2014, but over thirty years of research has resulted in a scientific team with diverse expertise, which produced over 1200 journal publications, almost 400 book chapters and over 200 theses. Data, products and other information produced from the SGS-LTER are available through the LTER Network Information System, Digital Collections of Colorado at CSU or upon request through All data are open for dissemination and re-use for any purpose, but you must attribute credit to the owner and cite use appropriately.

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


Geographic location - description

The Short Grass Steppe Site Encompasses A Large Portion Of The Colorado Piedmont Section Of The Western Great Plains. The Extent Is Defined As The Boundaries Of The Central Plains Experimental Range (cper). The Cper Has A Single Ownership And Landuse (livestock Grazing). The Png Is Characterized By A Mosaic Of Ownership And Land Use. Ownership Includes Federal, State Or Private And Land Use Consists Of Livestock Grazing Or Row-crops. There Are Ngo Conservation Groups That Exert Influence Over The Area, Particularly On Federal Lands.

ISO Topic Category

  • environment
  • climatologyMeteorologyAtmosphere
  • biota
  • farming
  • geoscientificInformation

Ag Data Commons Group

  • Long-Term Agroecosystem Research
  • Central Plains Experimental Range

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

agroecosystems; rangelands; sustainable agricultural intensification

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 215

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Ryder, Ronald (2013). SGS-LTER Avian Road Counts (Breeding Bird Survey) in eastern Colorado, USA 1994-2002. Colorado State University.