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Spotlight: Post-Fire Raptor Monitoring, NWS Seal Beach, Detachment Fallbrook, California

May 11, 2017

Vernadero Group Inc. is monitoring the nesting success of large raptors on Detachment Fallbrook to evaluate how they are responding to two extreme environmental stresses, the record California drought and two fires in 2014 that burned 60 percent of the Installation. Both are known to have severely reduced the raptor population. Our biologists determine the status, occupancy, and success of raptor nests by conducting windshield and pedestrian surveys of all suitable habitats and documented territories across the 8,852-acre military facility and along the Santa Margarita River. The target species for these surveys are the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), red-shouldered hawk (B. lineatus), Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperii), northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), barn owl (Tyto alba), and white-tailed kite (Elanus leucurus). The gathered data will be compared to the results of three previous surveys, 2015 and 2016 population surveys and a 1994-1995 raptor census, to ensure all data are consistent. Vernadero's data and trend analysis will enable Detachment Fallbrook's natural resources managers to make well-informed decisions regarding raptor recovery.

Kidd Biological Inc.