Bird Community Monitoring at Homestead National Monument of America

Eastern Phoebe on a metal sculpture at Homestead National Monument of America
Eastern Phoebe on a metal sculpture at Homestead National Monument of America.


Homestead National Monument of America is located within the Central Mixed-grass Prairie Bird Conservation Region.
Homestead National Monument is located within the Central Mixed-grass Prairie Bird Conservation Region.


Birds are an important part of the world we live in. Birds eat pests, disperse seeds, pollinate plants, feed us, and provide us with recreational activities. Park interpretive programs often feature birds because of the enjoyment they provide. Birds are also great indicators of environmental change. Birds serve as the "canary in the coal mine" so to speak for an ecosystem. Unfortunately, many birds like the Northern Bobwhite are declining in numbers.

Scientists measure changes in bird numbers and habitat to determine the health of bird communities. They survey birds in the park during the breeding season. They also survey habitat structure and composition during this time. Together, the data helps researchers to determine responses of birds to their habitat. Regional surveys are also studied to determine local vs. regional trends.

Bird species recorded during breeding bird surveys at Homestead National Monument of America from 2009 through 2017. The American Ornithologists’ Union code (AOU code) and residency status of each species is given. Species names are valid and verified names taken from the Integrated Taxonomic Information system website (ITIS 2017).
Common name Species name AOU code Residency¹
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos AMCR R
American Goldfinch Spinus tristis AMGO R
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla AMRE SR
American Robin Turdus migratorius AMRO R
American Woodcock² Scolopax minor AMWO SR
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula BAOR SR
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia BANS SR
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica BARS SR
Barred Owl Strix varia BDOW R
Bell's Vireo³ Vireo bellii BEVI SR
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon BEKI R
Blackburnian Warbler² Setophaga fusca BLBW M
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus BCCH R
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata BLJA R
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea BGGN SR
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius BHVI M
Brown Creeper Certhia americana BRCR R
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum BRTH R
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater BHCO R
Canada Goose Branta canadensis CAGO R
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus CARW R
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum CEDW R
Chestnut-sided Warbler Setophaga pensylvanica CSWA M
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica CHSW SR
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina CHSP SR
Clay-colored Sparrow Spizella pallida CCSP M
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota CLSW SR
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula COGR R
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas COYE SR
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii COHA R
Dickcissel Spiza americana DICK SR
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens DOWO R
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis EABL R
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus EAKI SR
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna EAME R
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe EAPH SR
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus EATO R
Eastern Wood-pewee Contopus virens EAWP SR
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris EUST R
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla FISP R
Grasshopper Sparrow Ammodramus savannarum GRSP SR
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis GRCA SR
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias GBHE SR
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus GCFL SR
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus HAWO R
Hermit Thrush² Catharus guttatus HETH M
House Sparrow Passer domesticus HOSP R
House Wren Troglodytes aedon HOWR SR
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea INBU SR
Killdeer² Charadrius vociferus KILL SR
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus LASP SR
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus LEFL M
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura MODO R
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus NOBO R
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalus NOCA R
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus YSFL R
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis NRWS SR
Northern Shoveler² Anas clypeata NSHO SR
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius OROR SR
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus RBWO R
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus REVI SR
Red-headed Woodpecker³ Melanerpes erythocephalus RHWO R
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis RTHA R
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus RWBL R
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus RPHE R
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus RBGR SR
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris RTHU SR
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis SAVS SR
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia SOSP R
Spotted Rowhee Pipilo maculatus SPTO R
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra SUTA SR
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus SWTH M
Tennessee Warbler² Leiothlypis peregrina TEWA M
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor ETTI R
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura TUVU SR
Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus WAVI SR
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis WBNU R
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica WWDO T
Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo WITU R
Wilson's Warbler Cardellina pusilla WIWA M
Wood Duck Aix sponsa WODU SR
Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorum WEWA M
Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia YWAR SR
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius YBSA WR
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus YBCU SR
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons YTVI SR

¹ Residency: M = migrant through the area; R = year around resident;
SR = summer resident (According to Jackson et al. [1996]).

² Species recorded only while traveling between survey plots or at other times outside of 5-min survey periods.

³ Species considered of regional concern for the Central Mixed Grass Prairie Bird Conservation Region (USFWS 2008; also in bold).
Graph showing richness for birds at Homestead.
Trends in bird community richness on Homestead National Monument of America, Nebraska, from 2009 through 2017, excluding 2007.


Scientists recorded 86 bird species in the park over the last 9 years. Seventy-four of the bird species are breeding species. Two of the bird species are of concern for the region. The American Goldfinch, Dickcissel, House Wren, and Red-winged Blackbird were common species. Thirteen species were common enough to calculate trends in their numbers for comparison with regional trends. American Goldfinch and Brown-headed Cowbird numbers declined. Populations of the other species remained unchanged. Within the region the populations of Northern Bobwhite and Red-winged Blackbird were in decline. Red-bellied Woodpecker numbers increased. Populations of the other species remained unchanged. Overall, populations on the park are doing as well as populations in the region. Unchanging species richness suggests habitat on the park has remained similar across years.

Graph of bird population trends at Homestead NMA.
Comparison of bird population trends from Homestead NMA, Nebraska, (2009 through 2017, excluding 2007) with those of the larger Central Mixed Grass Prairie Bird Conservation Region (2005 through 2015) from the Breeding Bird Surveys. Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.


Bird population changes may reflect habitat management activities. For that reason scientists track changes in bird populations and habitat over time. This improves the parks efforts to manage habitat for birds. Preserving habitat for birds preserves entire ecosystems for the benefit of all species.

View the Full Report. (PDF)

Visit the Homestead National Monument of America Volunteer Bird Monitoring page.

Learn more about the Heartland Inventory & Monitoring Network.

Data in this report were collected and analyzed using methods based on established, peer-reviewed protocols and were analyzed and interpreted within the guidelines of the protocols.

Last updated: July 2, 2019