This week Katelyn and I were given the amazing opportunity to monitor endangered bird species with consulting biologist, Robert Patton. In the beginning I had no idea what monitoring would be like, but it turned out to be very exciting. We were able to get up close to the Least Tern at Sweetwater Marsh, and to the Snowy Plover and Least Tern at Tijuana Estuary. At each of these sites, we walked up and down the rows of the terrain, constantly looking for bird nests in the sand. It was a bit difficult to spot the eggs, due to the fact that they blended in with the color of the sand. Despite that, once we found a bird nest I had the chance to mark it, and then I wrote down how many eggs were in the nest and which number bird nest it was. After approximately four hours at the Sweetwater Marsh, we had ended up surveying about 45 bird nests total throughout that whole piece of land. I was not expecting such a high number of nests, but I was glad that we found that many. In addition, throughout both days I learned so much from Robert about what he does and about the birds. I learned that these birds typically hatch after about two weeks, but that can be prolonged by external conditions. Also, these newborns fledge quite quickly and don’t take too long to start flying, but being as small as they are can be dangerous to their survival due to the predators in the area. Therefore, Robert, along other bird specialists, have to monitor the site about twice a week to make sure that the birds are protected. I’m grateful to have had this experience of being able to understand of what being an endangered species actually means, and what efforts it takes to help preserve these bird populations.

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