Birds still NOT migrating, but they ARE breeding

Dave Compton

Like Peter, I birded Refugio Rd along Quito Creek, this morning, probably a little later than he did. I succeeded in NOT seeing the Peregrine Falcon (nice sighting for the location, by the way). I also succeeded in continuing to see virtually NO land migrants, everywhere I go in Santa Barbara County this spring. At one point today, I thought I heard a Black-throated Gray Warbler in what I deemed not to be breeding habitat. But, luckily, I succeeded in NOT getting looks at the bird, so that my string of success in not seeing/confirming the presence of migrants continued. I DID hear a Wilson's Warbler from the Santa Ynez River bridge, but I think this bird could be breeding, so I believe I'm safe there as well. Best birds I saw this morning, by the way, were Lawrence's Goldfinches. I saw four at one location along Quiota Creek and may have had as many as seven overall.

After weeks of not seeing land migrants, I've begun to get a little jaded with my success in this pursuit. So, I've frequently become distracted by things actually happening around me (as opposed to observing the non-event of this year's local spring migration). I've taken to recording locations and observations related to breeding events of all bird species. Today, species for which I gathered such data included Orange-crowned Warbler, Purple Finch, and House Wren. Later today, I'll provide my data to Mark Holmgren and Adrian O'Loghlen, for inclusion in their SB Breeding Bird Study database. In fact, I hope everyone who observes breeding activities in Santa Barbara County--nest building, feeding of young, etc.--will provide their data to Mark and Adrian. See Mark's previous email about this for more information. There are many species for which we have relatively few breeding records, and there are many areas of the county for which we have little data. So anything helping to fill these gaps would be especially welcome. But nesting records for any bird species provide useful information on the timing of such events in our region and the distribution of our breeding species, while potentially shedding light on species' specific local preferences for things like breeding habitat and nest site selection. 

We are one of the few coastal counties in California who haven't done a breeding bird atlas (past discussions having been frustrated by the inevitable economic considerations in following through with such an effort). But Mark and Adrian have provided a good alternative method for collecting breeding information, both current and historical, so I hope people will take advantage of it. And it's something to do when you're not seeing a Hooded Warbler . . . or a Nashville Warbler. 

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

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