Cactus Wren Surveys

For the last three weeks we have been doing avian point counts in the preserve around the Safari Park. We listen and look for two bird species in particular, the California Cactus Wren and the California Gnatcatcher. The wren is a subspecies that is found only in a limited area within California and because of habitat loss it has become endangered. The gnatcatcher is believed to be in decline as well. When identifying these two birds we use a combination of visual and audio techniques. All birds have a unique call and/or song, and we use these sounds to identify them and estimate the distance they are from the point we’re at. The wren can be difficult to figure out because the mocking birds in the area tend to mimic its song.
The point counts start at six in the morning and has to end before 10am so that all of the surveys are as standardized as possible. It has been a great opportunity to observe these birds in their natural habitat and learn different bird call in San Diego county.

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