Audubon’s Michael Sutton was invited by the Santa Lucia Conservancy this week to watch researchers with U.C. Davis radio tag Tricolored Blackbirds at the Santa Lucia Preserve in the Carmel Valley. As you may know from reading this blog, California’s Tricolored Blackbirds are declining rapidly. Most of the birds live and breed in the Central Valley, but there some coastal populations — and this one at the Santa Lucia Preserve is one of them. The purpose of the radio tagging is to learn more about the habits and movements of these birds when they’re not breeding in their large colonies. Leading the project was U.C. Davis researcher Robert Meese, who also recently took the lead on a statewide survey of the blackbirds. More photos below:
U.C. Davis researcher Robert Meese reviews the day’s data.
This photo shows the lightweight radio tag that researchers use.
Here’s a photo of a female Tricolored Blackbird — very hard to ID in the field.
(all photos by Michael Sutton)