The 2014 avian survey of the Bernardo Mountain Preserve, San Dieguito River Park, San Diego
County, California determined the point locations, territories, and breeding status of two rare
songbirds, the California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica) and the Coastal Cactus
Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus cousei). Eleven field surveys conducted between 14
March and 21 June detected a total of twelve gnatcatcher and three Cactus Wren territories
within the preserve. This compares favorably with previous surveys conducted after the Witch
Fire of 2007 despite the continuation of a three-year drought. Our observations show that the
gnatcatcher, in particular, has expanded into revegetated areas. Cactus Wrens, with their more
specific requirements, are still largely confined to cactus scrub that did not burn in 2007 as
replanted cactus has yet to reach a height suitable for nest-building. Other vertebrates noted
during the survey include sixty-six additional species of birds, four species of mammals, and five
species of reptiles.
The After the Fires Funds 2007 were utilized to provide immediate benefits to wildlife by expanding habitat adjacent to areas that did not burn and contained one or both of the restoration project's species of focus; California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica)and Coastal Cactus Wren
(Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus sandiegensis). Work on this project was guided by the goal of providing immediate benefits to these birds because the fate of the San Dieguito River Park's ("Park") populations will have regionwide implications.