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!