Badlands National Park is the largest park in the Northern Great Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network at over 240,000 acres. Roughly half of the park is badland formations; the other half is mixed-grass prairie. Bird diversity is high at this park; it lies at an avian crossroads where both eastern and western bird species can be observed.
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). A panel design where grids are sampled on a rotation schedule was developed to facilitate complete coverage of this large park. The basic sampling unit is a 1 square km grid that contains 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 Badlands National Park 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 3,999 birds from 73 species were recorded during surveys.