Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bird adventures on Anaho Island

Cormorant nests
In January, we began our bird surveys on Anaho Island, to help document use of the island by birds other than colonial waterbirds.  Closed to the public, Anaho Island is both a National Wildlife Refuge managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and a part of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation, patrolled by the Tribe’s Pyramid Lake Rangers.  It was established to protect breeding colonies of waterbirds, particularly American White Pelicans – the pelican colony there is one of the two biggest in the western United States.  For now, our surveys extend across the entire island – as the breeding colonies of pelicans, cormorants, gulls and so on, re-establish themselves in spring, our survey area will shrink to only those areas where we cannot disturb them.

We completed our first winter survey in January – though given the blue skies, warm weather, and green grass, it didn’t feel too much like winter!  We didn’t see anything unexpected on this visit, but I certainly was impressed by the sheer numbers of Rock and Canyon Wrens.  We’re definitely looking forward to documenting the changes in the bird community here across the seasons - we’ll keep you posted!

Happy birding,