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For Immediate Use                                                                                               Contact: Alison Sheehey, (760) 378-2531
July 15, 2007                                                                                                                               rtollefson@audubon.org

SOUTH FORK KERN RIVER VALLEY - (SOUTHERN SIERRA NEVADA)

RAPID ASSESSMENT SUMMER BIRD COUNT

conducted by Bob Barnes and Associates

Research on the Kern River Preserve and South Fork Kern River

Southern Pacific Pond Turtle Project on the Kern River Preserve

Bird Banding on the Kern River Preserve and South Fork Kern River

Kern River Valley Invasive Species Information


(CLICK ON GRAPHS FOR A LARGER IMAGE)

 

Schedule of California Nature Festivals (maintained on Nature Alley)


The results are in from the fifth South Fork Kern River Rapid Assessment Summer Bird Count and the numbers are not looking good. Whether the trend is because the area is suffering from 50% of normal rainfall and only 26% of normal snowpack runoff only time will tell. Although this effort does show some trends, the entire 5 year trend is hard to assess due to fluctuations in numbers of birders in the field and an uneven distribution of territories covered.

Overall when comparing all years, the trend shows a 50% downward trend in numbers of individuals, while when comparing the similar effort year 2002 to 2007, the numbers improve only slightly with a 45% downward trend. Some of this is expected with waterfowl relatively non-existent this year and hummingbird numbers differing from extrapolated data off hummingbird feeder consumption to actual field counts, but species like Song Sparrow and Red-winged Blackbird are down significantly while Yellow Warblers numbers continue to climb. The chart for Yellow Warbler numbers is particularly significant when comparing the number of individuals in 2002 and 2007. The number of field observers was closely matched those years, yielding an accurate comparison of individuals in the forest. The population appears to have almost tripled in 5 years. (Other years had up to 7 times the number of observers skewing the results higher in those years).

Future census efforts might include two day censuses of the same territories or larger numbers of field participants. What is apparent is that this effort should be repeated next year to see if the trend is actually down and matching the downward trend of common bird numbers across the nation or if it is a statistical anomaly caused by the extreme drought. Tune in next year!

Alison Sheehey - Audubon California Kern River Preserve


Complete data from Bob Barnes:

TIME/DATE: 1:15am-11:30am, Saturday, July 7, 2007

TEMPERATURE: 56F-90F HUMIDITY: 74%-40%

OBSERVERS: 14 observers in 8 count parties - Linda Anderson, Margaret Anderson, Bob Barnes, Wes Fritz, Cher Hollingsworth, Mark Holmgren, Bruce Kautz, Judy Kautz, Michael McQuerrey, David Pavlik, Roy Poucher, Alison Sheehey, John Schmitt, Mary Whitfield

PARTY HOURS: 42.5

COVERAGE AREA: Rapid assessment of c. 4000 acres of Audubon-California's Kern River Preserve, California Department of Fish & Game acreage flanking the valley portion of Fay Ranch Road, and Sequoia National Forest's South Fork Wildlife Area

KEY: CAPITAL LETTERS = California Partners In Flight's Riparian Habitat Joint Venture Bird Conservation Plan Target Species, (PIF XX) = Partners in Flight conservation ranking

91 SPECIES, 3722 INDIVIDUALS: Wood Duck 2, Mallard 6, Ring-necked Pheasant 4, Wild Turkey 2, California Quail 167 (PIF 20), Clark's Grebe 8, Western/Clark's Grebe 150, Double-crested Cormorant 1, Great Blue Heron 45, Great Egret 2, Green Heron 2, Turkey Vulture 7, Osprey 7, White-tailed Kite 2, Cooper's Hawk 2, Red-shouldered Hawk 19, Red-tailed Hawk 18, Golden Eagle 2, American Kestrel 17, American Coot 2, California Gull 46, Caspian Tern 2, Eurasian Collared-Dove 2, Mourning Dove 142, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO 5, Greater Roadrunner 7, Barn Owl 4, Western Screech-Owl 1, Great Horned Owl 14, Black-chinned Hummingbird 10, Anna's Hummingbird 28, Selasphorus hummingbird 2, hummingbird species 2, Nuttall's Woodpecker 56 (PIF 20), Downy Woodpecker 22, Hairy Woodpecker 6, Northern Flicker 45, Western Wood-Pewee 165, WILLOW FLYCATCHER 22, Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3, Black Phoebe 14, Say's Phoebe 5, Ash-throated Flycatcher 89, Western Kingbird 44, Loggerhead Shrike 6, WARBLING VIREO 6, Western Scrub-Jay 15, American Crow 4, Common Raven 103, Horned Lark 4, Tree Swallow 344, Violet-green Swallow 9, Northern Rough-winged Swallow 3, Barn Swallow 2, Cliff Swallow 72, Oak Titmouse 25 (PIF 22), Bushtit 74, White-breasted Nuthatch 11, Cactus Wren 1, Rock Wren 2, Bewick's Wren 60, House Wren 68, Western Bluebird 13, American Robin 24, Northern Mockingbird 7, European Starling 64, Phainopepla 1, Northern Parula 1, YELLOW WARBLER 311, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT 149, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT 21, Summer Tanager 24, Spotted Towhee 12, California Towhee 6 (PIF 18), Rufous-crowned Sparrow 2 (PIF 18), Lark Sparrow 90, Sage Sparrow 2, Savannah Sparrow 19, SONG SPARROW 129, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK 14, BLUE GROSBEAK 67, Lazuli Bunting 42, Red-winged Blackbird 98, Western Meadowlark 4, Brewer's Blackbird 49, Great-tailed Grackle 20, Brown-headed Cowbird 146, Hooded Oriole 2, Bullock's Oriole 71, House Finch 145, Lesser Goldfinch 153, Lawrence's Goldfinch 24 (PIF 24), House Sparrow 2


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