Current Avian Research

Coyote Creek Riparian Station

The Avian Research Program at Coyote Creek Riparian Station (CCRS) has two main focus areas. One is to study Neotropical bird use of an urban riparian area. Particularly, we are looking at how these birds use these "ribbons of green" as resting and refueling sites during their long migrations. The second focus is documenting how flood control is being implemented in an environmentally friendly way such that wildlife (bird) needs are being met while still achieving flood control objectives. The following paragraphs include more detailed information on our various projects. If you would like more information, feel free to drop me a note or give me a call.

In 1982, the Avian Research Program started off as a small field station with a few randomly placed mist nets in a riparian corridor along Coyote Creek 9.2 km from where it enters the southern end of San Francisco Bay, California, USA. From very modest beginnings (banded 529 birds the first year) we have grown into a major bird banding program averaging 5,000 - 6,000 new bandings a year. As of April 1998, we have banded almost 84,000 birds (and recaptured another approximately 54,000) of almost 170 species. Currently we have two main projects:

Riparian Restoration Monitoring - This project started July 1987. We have been using mist-netting and point counts to monitor the existing riparian corridor and to compare this bird usage with a 4.3 acre revegetation site and an overflow channel which was created in 1986. In the fall of 1993 a second, 8 acre, restoration site was created and we began monitoring this site in November 1995. Currently, we operate 12 nets in each habitat once a week for a standard 5 hour period. These bird data have been used in conjunction with vegetation data to access the success of the restoration sites, to make management recommendations, and to study the general use of an urban riparian site. The ultimate goal is to monitor the site for at least the next 40 years to document changes in the avian populations over time as the site matures.

Migration Banding - In addition to the core monitoring banding, additional nets are operated during spring (April - June) and fall (August - October). Currently, we have 70 nets operated over a 2,000 meter section of the creek (48 monitoring nets plus an additional 22 migration nets). These nets are operated in a standardized staggered fashion such that between 12 and 19 nets are operated on any given day (banding occurs seven days a week). We are using these data to study Neotropical migrants use of the area as a migratory stopover site. This project started in 1986 and continues today.

Christopher D. Otahal
Avian Research Program Director
Coyote Creek Riparian Station
P.O. Box 1027
Alviso, California U.S.A.
Phone: (408) 262-9204
Fax: (408) 263-3523
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Last Updated August 13, 1998
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