Spring is a time for renewal…days are getting longer, flowers are blooming, birds are pairing up and nesting is underway! Soon, eggs will hatch and young will start following their parents around, while attempting to dodge many potential hazards close to home. In fact, some early nesters already have their young up and running.
The Sun City preserves, located in and around Sun City Lincoln Hills, provide important nesting habitat for many types of birds, including ground nesters such as California quail, killdeer, and mallards. While these areas of nesting habitat benefit numerous species of wildlife, there can be conflicts when young birds become mobile and start moving overland with their parents through nearby development areas.
During the spring of 2016, and thanks to the concern of Sun City residents, Wildlife Heritage Foundation became aware of several incidences of newly hatched birds falling into and becoming trapped in storm drains at various locations within the development. The spaces in the grates and beneath the curb are just wide enough to allow young birds to easily fall into the drains when following their parents. Once young birds are trapped, they will only survive for a limited amount of time if not rescued. Many of the areas where young birds have been trapped are next to one of the open space preserves.
In an effort to reduce impacts to these young birds, WHF is initiating a project to temporarily cover the openings in select storm drains throughout Sun City. This project is being implemented with the help of concerned residents and in coordination with Sun City Facilities Staff.
As part of the project, WHF will install covers made of a flexible and permeable material that will remain in place throughout the nesting season… you may have seen some already installed in your neighborhood! The status of the covers will be periodically checked while they’re in place. While placement of the covers is expected to greatly reduce impacts to young birds, there may still be some incidences of trapped birds in uncovered storm drains.
If you live in the area and become aware of any trapped birds or other wildlife please immediately contact Sun City Facilities Staff.
Learn more about the Sun City Urban Bird Project here!
Article written by Gaylene Tupen, WHF Senior Wildlife Biologist. California Quail photo by Phil Robertson.