|Posted by Brian on March 13, 2017 at 12:20 PM|
My first week was a successful and interesting one. I saw a hungry Cooper's Hawk rip a Northern Mockingbird into pieces, observed a pod of dolphins, and watched a Western Scrub-jay land on the arm of the chair I was sitting in to harass me for some food. Camping in the California State Parks I've stayed at has been $45/night-more expensive than some motels. I find it pretty odd that the powers that be, with it's monopoly on campgrounds, continues to drive prices up on public land and price out those who can't afford it.
As far as research goes, I tend to find Allen's Hummingbird in coastal sage scrub (CSS) habitats, many of which I notice are also degraded areas. Although Allen's Hummingbird populations are likely doing well (my work this field season aims to quantify that), in part due to the presence of ornamental and invasive plants that have popped up due to urbanization, there are a lot of species that rely on CSS to survive, many of which are in decline, such as the coastal Cactus Wren. CSS has been reduced to approximately 10% of it's original range, and a large portion of remaining habitat is degraded, so this spells trouble for such groups.
Upon release, one of the Allen's Hummingbirds I caught angrily performed courtship displays at a Song Sparrow, a bird about 6.5 times his size. Hummingbirds, especially Allen's and Rufous, often do this to not only each other, but different species of birds (even if they're much larger), small mammals, or anything that might be looking at them the wrong way. The philosophy of a hummingbird is to always be angry at the world-they don't take flak from anybody.