|A cactus wren feeds on a mealworm in Laguna's Nature Reserve. Photo by the OC Register|
Cactus wrens are once again thriving in a nature preserve near Laguna Beach, their whirring, rattling calls ending years of silence for the species. The wrens were transplanted, complete with nests and cactus, by a group of scientists who hope to restore the wrens to their former coastal Orange County home.
Biologists who keep watch on Orange County's native habitat noticed sharp declines in cactus wren numbers, especially near the coast, beginning after the massive Laguna Beach wildfire of 1993. Hammered by wildfire and drought, the wrens have seen a series of tough years, their numbers plummeting throughout the 37,000-acre Nature Reserve of Orange County between 2002 and 2007.
But a boost in rainfall last year, along with the scientists' intervention, is beginning to turn things around.
Two months ago, the scientific team, under contract with the Nature Reserve, captured nine wrens living on property in Lake Forest that was destined to be turned into a sports park. The biologists moved the birds into prime wren habitat, where the cactus wrens themselves had been absent since 2007. And the wrens seemed to take immediately to their new home.
Read more about it at The Orange County Register.