The Kevin Rim escarpment provides nesting habitat for a diversity of diurnal raptors and has been designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and as a Key Raptor Area by the Bureau of Land Management. It is also the site of a long-term research and monitoring project (begun in 1988) by biologists from Montana State University. Based on the number of nesting Ferruginous Hawks, the site qualifies as an IBA of Global significance.

Ornithological Summary

Ten species of raptors breed within the IBA, four of which are of Global (Ferruginous Hawk), Continental (Swainson's Hawk, Prairie Falcon), or State (Golden Eagle) conservation concern. The site contains the highest known density of nesting Ferruginous Hawks in Montana.

Conservation Issues

Incubating Ferruginous Hawks are highly sensitive to human disturbance and sometimes abandon their nests if humans approach too closely. The area where the raptors nest is dotted with oil and gas wells, which pose a threat to the prairie habitat upon which raptor prey species depend, and increase the potential for disturbance to nesting hawks. The area is also being considered for wind farm development.

Ownership

Most of the IBA is privately owned, but many of the cliffs where the raptors nest are owned by the Bureau f Land Management or the State of Montana. The BLM lands have been identified as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

Habitat

Most of the IBA consists of grassland and a mix of grassland and silver sagebrush. Raptors breed primarily on sandstone cliffs and outcrops that are up to 35 m in height.