First-of-its-Kind Report Maps Bird Migration in Wyoming

Conservancy scientists share critical data about Wyoming's migratory birds.

Migratory Birds

View a slideshow of migratory birds found in Wyoming.

“This is an example of how science can translate into on-the-ground conservation in a very pragmatic way.”

- Amy Pocewicz,
The Nature Conservancy's Wyoming Landscape Ecologist

Swainson’s hawks begin arriving in Wyoming in April, after traveling more than 6,000 miles from as far away as central Argentina. 

During journeys like these, many bird species concentrate at stopover sites to rest and forage. In Wyoming, the critical question is: where are these important migration stopovers?

Amy Pocewicz, the Conservancy’s Wyoming landscape ecologist, recently led a team to tackle this question.

Together with Conservancy scientist Holly Copeland and the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Pocewicz has released a new report titled Mapping Migration: Important Places for Wyoming’s Migratory Birds.  

Using information they synthesized about bird migration behavior, Amy and her team created maps showing where several groups of birds are expected to concentrate at stopover sites during their migrations through Wyoming.

Many bird experts from the region also helped with this novel effort. These new migration maps can help identify where to focus conservation for migratory birds.

Specifically, the report could help guide wind development projects in a way that avoids places where birds concentrate in large numbers during migration.    

“This is an example of how science can translate into on-the-ground conservation in a very pragmatic way,” says Pocewicz. “We’re hoping to fill a critical data gap for companies and agencies working to locate new wind developments while considering potential impacts on migrating birds.” 


Continuous modeled values were binned into five quantiles representing relative importance for migration concentration. Darker colors represent areas with greater importance.