Tagging trikes

May 9th, 2014 · by Garrison Frost


Audubon’s Michael Sutton was invited by the Santa Lucia Conservancy this week to watch researchers with U.C. Davis ┬áradio 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)

Categories: Audubon at Home · Bird conservation · Michael Sutton · Tricolored Blackbird

One Comment so far ↓

  • mona

    If the reports of Tri-colored blackbirds in Colorado are true, maybe some of the population from the lower latitudes is moving north due to the climate warming. That might also explain why the population decline has been so fast in the Central Valley.