Paulek and Nash 2007 Southern California Survey

This report, by Tom Paulek, former Area Manager of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County, and his wife Susan Nash, an attorney, summarizes their survey of southern California tricolored blackbird breeding colony locations in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego counties during the 2007 breeding season. Prior to their survey, they contacted several prominent southern California biologists, including Kimball Garrett of the L.A. County Museum, Pete Bloom, formerly of the National Audubon Society, and Phillip Unitt of the San Diego Natural History Museum, to assess existing knowledge and to learn the locations of previous colonies. Their survey resulted in the detection of one colony of 800-1,000 adults in San Diego county and this was supplemented toward the end of their survey with information provided by Tyler Grant of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Carlsbad, California, of a second colony in San Diego county of approximately 100 adults. These were the only tricolored blackbird colonies documented in southern California in 2007, a year of record drought and a near-complete reproductive collapse throughout the range of the species (Meese, 2007; Erickson, de la Cueva, and Billings 2007).