On a local level, Dr. Brad Andres is an active member of The Evergreen Naturalists Audubon Society, in Evergreen, Colorado. In addition to leading several field trips a year (top photo), he’s involved with various bird monitoring projects, including the annual Christmas Bird Count—which has taken place every year since 1969—the Bear Creek Watershed Breeding Bird Atlas, Elk Meadow Nest Box Monitoring, and the Bear Creek Watershed Bird Checklist.

Elk Meadow Nest Box Monitoring

One of Brad’s many volunteer tasks is to manage nest boxes at Elk Meadow Park, with his wife Heather and good friend Kay Niyo.

Thirty-one nest boxes placed along a three-mile loop attract bluebirds, swallows, wrens, and chickadees. The volunteer team tries to check boxes every two weeks between April and August and record the number of eggs and chicks produced by breeding cavity-nesters. In the last few years, virtually every box has been used, and some bluebird pairs raise more than one brood.

Above, Brad checks to see if the western and mountain bluebirds have hatched.

Bear Creek Watershed Breeding Bird Atlas

The purpose of the Bear Creek Watershed Breeding Bird Atlas (hereafter Bear Creek Atlas) is to provide information on the distribution, abundance, breeding status and habitat use of birds on public lands within the Bear Creek Watershed. Information from these surveys will be provided to the appropriate federal, state, county, and local agencies that manage these public lands. Data collected in this project will also help inform conservation decisions considered by The Evergreen Naturalists Audubon Society (Evergreen Audubon) and will be used for educational purposes in the newly developed Evergreen Nature Center.

A set of public lands has been designated for surveys over the next five years (2008- 2012). After the initial five-year survey period, sites will be surveyed every five years. These repeated surveys will provide some information on how bird populations are changing within the watershed. In general, methods follow state breeding bird atlas projects, such as the Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas.

Photo Copyright Kay Niyo

Based on Evergreen Audubon’s membership and area of interest, we have designated the Bear Creek Watershed as an appropriate area to survey breeding birds. Within the watershed, there are more than 58,000 acres of public lands that are managed by Jefferson County Open Space, Denver Mountain Parks, the City of Lakewood, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and the USDA Forest Service. We have targeted about 30,500 acres of relatively natural lands for breeding bird surveys. Although we tried to determine the full complement of sites we will survey over the first five years, access and observer effort may cause some changes to the site list as the project is implemented.

The Bear Creek Atlas is endorsed by Evergreen Audubon and draws on its membership for participation. A Steering Committee developed the general approach for the atlas, recruited participants, and provided training sessions and assistance in the field. Each site will be assigned a Leader who will coordinate visits to the site with participants, provide a liaison to the Steering Committee, be responsible for collecting information following the protocol described here, ensure coverage targets are met, and ensure observations are entered into the web-based database (

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