Breeding Bird Surveys

Santa Clara River Levee Certification, Ventura County, California

Project Name: Santa Clara River Levee Certification, Ventura County, California
Services: Breeding Bird Survey
Client: County of Ventura

New levee maintenance requirements imposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency have required additional vegetation clearing along the River in the vicinity of Oxnard, California. Padre biologists conducted breeding bird surveys to detect listed species and other migratory birds within the vegetation clearing area. These surveys included protocol surveys and territory mapping for the endangered least Bell’s vireo, and a habitat assessment and protocol surveys for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher. Ten least Bell’s vireo breeding territories were identified and mapped within the surveyed reach, and would be avoided during vegetation management activities.

Skytt Mesa Development, Solvang, California

Project Name: Skytt Mesa Development, Solvang, California
Services: Breeding Bird Survey
Client: Sid Goldstein Engineering

Padre completed a breeding bird survey completed near the City of Solvang in Santa Barbara County, to determine the presence/absence of breeding birds within and adjacent to the Project Site prior to the mobilization of Project equipment. The Project consisted of construction of a residential housing complex in an area surrounded by oak large oak trees. The primary objective of the survey was to determine the presence/absence of bird nests, with specific focus on raptor nests. Raptors typically use their nests from year to year; therefore, the presence of raptor nests is critical in determining if a Project will impact any nesting raptors that are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Reporting included a map of any active or remnant nests, an inventory of all birds identified within the Project area, and the level of raptor foraging activity completed within the Project impact area. The reporting also included the potential impacts of Project activities to local raptor species, and recommended mitigation measures for Project activities, including buffer zones away from nest sites.

Santa Clara River at the Santa Clara River Weir Field - Least Bell’s Vireo Survey, Ventura County, California

Project Name: Santa Clara River at the Santa Clara River Weir Field - Least Bell’s Vireo Survey, Ventura County, California
Services: Breeding Bird Survey
Client: Ventura County Watershed Protection District

Padre biologists and a subconsultant to Padre conducted a study of territory location and size of the State and Federally Endangered least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus) (vireo). The study was conducted on an approximately 4,000 feet reach of the Santa Clara River in Ventura County, California. The study objectives as recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ventura County Watershed Protection District were: a) to establish whether or not vireos were present within 1,000 feet of a flood improvement project site area (study area), b) if vireos were present, to determine what portion of their territory was within the project study area and buffer and c) to identify what their nesting stage was. Five surveys were conducted at the study area between June 7 and July 26, 2010 at approximately 10-day intervals. The study spanned the typical incubation, nestling and fledgling periods. The biologists used a standard technique of spot mapping to accomplish the study objectives. During each survey, biologists walked the levee, trails, and dirt roads adjacent to and within the territories identified by Padre. Suitable habitat up to 1,000 feet from these study areas was also surveyed. At each site, the biologists covered between 3.3 and 8.6 acres for a total of 33 acres. They attempted to detect vocalizing vireos, and marked the approximate location of each observation on an aerial photograph of the study area. Then they followed the vireo for up to 30 minutes, noting all locations the bird transited, foraged, perched, and sang. Nesting behaviors such as bringing nesting material and food items to nests and young and the presence of begging young were noted. To the extent possible, observations were limited to existing trails and bare areas within the riverbed in order to minimize impacts to the vireos. Each location a vireo was detected was mapped and digitized by Padre, then a map showing the points and an estimate of the territory size was created and a report produced.