Front Range Bald Eagle Studies—Our Story
Who We Are
Front Range Nesting Bald Eagle Studies (FRNBES) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that conducts year-round studies of eleven Bald and Golden Eagle nests and several historic communal roosts in the northern Colorado Front Range. Since the founding of FRNBES in 2015, our primary goal has been to publish peer-reviewed studies for use in critical decision-making processes related to eagle conservation. We depend on the dedicated work of as many as fifteen volunteers and several staff members. During our nearly five years of existence, FRNBES has compiled thousands of hours of quantitative study on nests and communal roosts.
The Purpose of Our Studies
Although Bald Eagles are among the most scientifically studied bird species, only a handful of publications can be found on the Colorado Bald Eagle population. Recognizing the need for updated research on Colorado’s Bald Eagle population, FRNBES was founded. Our studies were directed toward year-round study of these nesting eagles, as little was known of their behavior outside of the 5 months that are classically referred to as the “nesting season.”
Nesting Bald Eagles in the Colorado Front Range—A Unique Population
Due largely its dry climate, there are still only about 200 Bald Eagle nesting pairs in Colorado. More verdant and resource-rich areas like Florida, Alaska, or Chesapeake Bay host up to 10 times that number of nests. In the 2,000 km2 FRNBES study area, there are now about 18 Bald Eagle nests. Yet, since 2014 the number of successful nests in our study area has only grown by two or perhaps three nests. Winter raptor survey counts of Bald Eagles in Boulder County—a core part of our study area—show that the overall Bald Eagle population in that area has remained unchanged over the last 30 years. While the number of Bald Eagles and their nests in our study area remain relatively constant, the northern Colorado Front Range is one of the fastest areas of human growth and development in the country.
Why We Advocate for Bald Eagles in the Front Range
Along with the explosion of human population growth and development in the northern Front Range comes the loss of open land, wildlife habitat, habitat connectivity, and prey abundance. These impacts will make it much more difficult for nesting Bald Eagles to sustain their large near-nest territories as new threats related to human disturbance and development increase.
Eagles in the Front Range face an uphill battle just to maintain their population levels—as illustrated in an article from the Denver Post. Protecting the habitat of eagles and other wildlife depends on decisions made on informed science and advocacy based on that science.