"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shrinking habitat for cactus wrens

Cactus wren populations are declining in Southern California due to the destruction of cactus shrubs.

The Cactus Wren is the largest member of the wren family in North America.  As their name implies, they rely on cactus for nesting, foraging and protection.  Unlike most birds, cactus wrens use nests year round for roosting, building covered, football-shaped nests from grasses and other vegetation.  If you live in an area with cactus wrens, you might hear their strident song that sounds similar to a sewing machine.

Cactus wrens are fairly common in the desert, but numbers are declining in Southern California, because they rely on a very unique and rare habitat—cactus scrub.  There are several small populations of coastal cactus wren in San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, and Ventura Counties, but they are becoming more isolated because of urbanization and habitat loss.

Read about the efforts to save habitat for the wrens at San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

Happy Birding!
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