Completing 10 Years of Breeding Bird Surveys at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve


At Nautical Bean in Baywood Park - Celebrating 10th Survey Year
L to R: Max Taylor, Kaaren Perry, Joanne Aasen, Jay Carroll, Bob Revel, Robbie Revel (missing are Mark Mushkat and Judy Neuhauser)

The tenth and final year of our breeding bird surveys at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve began on March 12 and was completed on July 2, 2023. Volunteers from Morro Coast Audubon Society conducted the surveys. The volunteers who participated this year were: Joanne Aasen, Jay Carroll, Mark Mushkat, Judy Neuhauser, Kaaren Perry, Bob Revel, Robbie Revel, and Max Taylor. Those listed each participated in at least two of the nine bi-weekly surveys.

We counted 1,254 birds comprising 57 species during the 2023 study period. Based on our survey data, 21 species (36.8%) were confirmed breeders and another four (7.0%) were probable breeders within the Sweet Springs property boundaries. We made special note of any indications of breeding behavior including territorial singing, courtship displays, copulation, nest building, carrying food or feeding young, or the presence of recently fledged young. The species that were confirmed breeders, in order of number of observations, included House Finch, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Anna’s Hummingbird, Tree Swallow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, White-crowned Sparrow, American Crow, Western Flycatcher, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, California Towhee, Violet-green Swallow, California Quail, Great Horned Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, California Scrub-Jay, Western Bluebird, Wilson’s Warbler, Downy Woodpecker and Black Phoebe. Indirect evidence suggested that other probable breeding species included Mourning Dove, Common Yellowthroat, Spotted Towhee, and Allen’s Hummingbird. Over the 10 years, 113 species have been seen during the surveys (eBird listers have seen 229)

MCAS would like to extend a huge thanks to all of the volunteers who participated in this study, including several of the Sweet Springs “Ambassadors” who incidentally monitored bird occurrences and breeding behaviors at the Preserve. A special thanks to Jay Carroll, who transcribes the data from each survey and compiles it for future studies, and to Kaaren Perry, who has been the Project Manager for 10 years.

Detailed Summary Report(s) of breeding behavior and species recorded.