Distribution and Demography of Coastal Cactus Wrens (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) in Southern San Diego County, California - 2020 Data Summary

Type: report

Article abstract: Surveys for coastal Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) were done in 378 established plots in southern San Diego County in 2020, encompassing three genetic clusters (Otay, Lake Jennings, and Sweetwater/Encanto genetic clusters). Two surveys were completed at each plot between March 1 and July 31. Cactus Wrens were detected in 131 plots (35 percent of plots). This is a slight increase over the proportion of occupied plots in 2019. One hundred and nine Cactus Wren territories were detected across all survey plots in 2020, an increase from 83 in 2019. At least 85 percent of Cactus Wren territories were occupied by pairs, and 62 fledglings were observed in 2020. There were 89 color-banded Cactus Wrens observed in 2020, 84 of which we could identify to individual. Adults of known age ranged from 1 to at least 6 years old. Adult Cactus Wrens moved on average 0.2 kilometers (km; maximum 3.8 km) from their 2019 territories to their 2020 territories. Cactus Wrens that fledged in 2019 moved on average 1.2 km (maximum 9.9 km) to their 2020 territories. No known-identity Cactus Wrens moved between genetic clusters from 2019 to 2020. Vegetation at Cactus Wren plots typically was dominated by coastal sage scrub shrubs such as California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), lemonadeberry (Rhus integrifolia), California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), and broom baccharis (Baccharis sarothroides). Very little dead or unhealthy cactus was observed within Cactus Wren survey plots. Thirty-eight percent of plots had at least 25 percent of the cactus crowded or overtopped by vines and shrubs. Non-native annual cover was greater than 25 percent at 35 percent of plots.

Number of pages: 12

Authors: Lynn, Suellen; Kus, Barbara;

Year: 2021

Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey

Website: https://doi.org/ 10.3133/ ds1138

Keywords: bird surveys; cactus scrub; cactus wren; coastal sage scrub; nesting behavior; nesting ecology; prickly pear cactus; vegetation sampling;

Species: Coastal cactus wren

Vegetation communities: coastal sage scrub; chaparral

Threats: Altered fire regime; Loss of connectivity; Invasive plants