Agate Fossil Beds National Monument consists of 3,000 acres of mixed grass prairie and a broad floodplain of the Niobrara River that has created a riparian area for water-loving plants and wetland birds.
The Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network developed a bird monitoring protocol jointly with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (formerly the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory). The basic sampling unit is a 1 square km grid that contains 16 evenly-spaced sample points, separated by 250 m. Observers stand at pre-determined fixed points and record birds observed or heard over a 6-minute period. After completing the survey, observers navigate to the next point using GPS units.
Landbird surveys have been conducted at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument since the 2013 breeding season. This research is the beginning of a long-term effort to monitor species trends and densities. In 2016, a total of 2,316 birds representing 64 species were recorded during surveys.