Broomfield Raptor Management Plan

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Broomfield is fortunate to have a variety of active raptor populations thriving in a suburban setting. However, these majestic birds, which include species like Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks, are sensitive to disturbances in their nesting and breeding habitats. To identify ways to minimize habitat impacts on raptors and develop best management practices at the local level, Broomfield is creating a Raptor Management Plan. This plan will seek to protect raptors, while also working within the state and federal regulatory framework and respecting private property rights.

The City and County of Broomfield is taking a proactive approach to protect and enhance raptor habitat and breeding success within the region. Open Space and Trails Staff, along with a team of ecological consultants from Smith Environmental and Engineering, are actively developing a Raptor Management Plan.

In mid-september, the project team presented its initial approach (below) to the Open Space and Trails Advisory Committee. You can learn more about the plan (Raptor Plan Overview) , how to get involved, and leave your comments below.


What is a raptor?

Raptors are carnivorous birds that hunt and capture prey and carrion (dead animals). Generally, these birds eat things such as rodents, snakes, fish and insects. Raptors can be either diurnal, meaning they feed during the day, or nocturnal, meaning they feed at night.

Raptors have three distinctive characteristics:

  1. Sharp talons used to seize prey
  2. Hooked-beak used to kill and consume prey
  3. A diet consisting entirely of meat

In Broomfield, some of the more common raptors that live, nest and breed in our community include:

  • Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
  • Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos)
  • Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis)
  • Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni)
  • Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
  • Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)
  • American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
  • Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)
  • Great-Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
  • Western Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
  • Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
  • Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias)*

*Not a raptor, but will be included in this plan as habitat, behavior, and breeding is very similar to raptors and they actively nest in Broomfield.

Raptors are predators and are often at the top of the food chain in local ecosystems. For this reason, raptors are often key indicators of ecosystem health. Active monitoring of raptor populations here in Colorado highlights the many challenges that these birds face. Fragmentation and degradation of their habitat, vehicular strikes, pollution and unintentional poisoning, along with many other human caused impacts are adversely affecting our wild raptors.

This plan is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022.

Get Involved:

  • Using the questions and poll below submit your inquiries about raptors. What do you know? What would you like to know?
  • In February 2022, check back provide comment of the draft plan.
  • Spring 2022 there will be an opportunity to join a field trip to see raptor habitat and have the plan reviewed.

Broomfield is fortunate to have a variety of active raptor populations thriving in a suburban setting. However, these majestic birds, which include species like Bald Eagles, Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks, are sensitive to disturbances in their nesting and breeding habitats. To identify ways to minimize habitat impacts on raptors and develop best management practices at the local level, Broomfield is creating a Raptor Management Plan. This plan will seek to protect raptors, while also working within the state and federal regulatory framework and respecting private property rights.

The City and County of Broomfield is taking a proactive approach to protect and enhance raptor habitat and breeding success within the region. Open Space and Trails Staff, along with a team of ecological consultants from Smith Environmental and Engineering, are actively developing a Raptor Management Plan.

In mid-september, the project team presented its initial approach (below) to the Open Space and Trails Advisory Committee. You can learn more about the plan (Raptor Plan Overview) , how to get involved, and leave your comments below.


What is a raptor?

Raptors are carnivorous birds that hunt and capture prey and carrion (dead animals). Generally, these birds eat things such as rodents, snakes, fish and insects. Raptors can be either diurnal, meaning they feed during the day, or nocturnal, meaning they feed at night.

Raptors have three distinctive characteristics:

  1. Sharp talons used to seize prey
  2. Hooked-beak used to kill and consume prey
  3. A diet consisting entirely of meat

In Broomfield, some of the more common raptors that live, nest and breed in our community include:

  • Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
  • Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos)
  • Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis)
  • Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni)
  • Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
  • Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis)
  • American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
  • Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)
  • Great-Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
  • Western Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
  • Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
  • Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias)*

*Not a raptor, but will be included in this plan as habitat, behavior, and breeding is very similar to raptors and they actively nest in Broomfield.

Raptors are predators and are often at the top of the food chain in local ecosystems. For this reason, raptors are often key indicators of ecosystem health. Active monitoring of raptor populations here in Colorado highlights the many challenges that these birds face. Fragmentation and degradation of their habitat, vehicular strikes, pollution and unintentional poisoning, along with many other human caused impacts are adversely affecting our wild raptors.

This plan is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022.

Get Involved:

  • Using the questions and poll below submit your inquiries about raptors. What do you know? What would you like to know?
  • In February 2022, check back provide comment of the draft plan.
  • Spring 2022 there will be an opportunity to join a field trip to see raptor habitat and have the plan reviewed.

What questions do you have about raptors?

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    We have had hawks and owls nesting in the trees along Walnut Creek in Southwest Broomfield adjacent to the Skyestone development for multiple years. There are multiple proposed Developments (Simms Technology Park, Southpointe) along the creek path- how will the raptor management plan be used to constrain potential developments that would reduce raptor habitats?

    Dave F asked 21 days ago

    This plan will carefully review raptor habitat and buffer areas for nesting sites in Broomfield near development, but any legal constraints over future development is beyond the immediate scope of this plan, and would need to be coordinated within the framework of state and federal laws, zoning, and property development rights. The plan will assess habitat and attempt to identify the sources of conflict, injury, disease or general stress on raptors, and develop best management practices to reduce those conflicts and risks. Broomfield will also continue to seek to preserve or potentially acquire available land that offers quality raptor habitat areas when possible.

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    I’m surprised we don’t have screech owls on the list. Do they breed in broomfield county?

    Phil Strobel asked 11 days ago

    Yes, we have not seen screech owls nesting recently in Broomfield, but we certainly suspect that they do breed in the area and we do have sightings from time to time. The list here is definitely not inclusive of all raptors in Broomfield, but rather a list of the more common ones. We hope to see more screech owls, and that is a great question!

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    I’ve never seen a nesting turkey vulture. Where do they nest?

    Phil Strobel asked 11 days ago

    Turkey vultures do not build nests. They are opportunistic in their nesting sites, but they are almost always secluded from human activities. They will nest on cliffs and crevices, on abandoned buildings, in hollowed logs or animal burrows, as well as use abandoned nests from other birds. Turkey vultures are not one of the more common raptors in Broomfield, but we do see them from time to time.

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    Do these raptors kill/compete with each other?

    mliterati asked 10 days ago

    Yes, raptors do compete with each other for resources like nesting sites and prey. They do sometimes kill other species as a part of those conflicts. Great-horned owls are especially known to predate on other raptors, and often steal nesting sites from hawks instead of building their own.

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    Is there a place with information on ways the public can get involved?

    Kwee asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for your question! 

    Right now the best way to get involved is to ask your questions here. As the plan progresses there will be opportunity for public comment on the draft plan and several other ways to get involved.

Page last updated: 13 November 2021, 11:40