Northern Cardinals extirpated?
- Hi Calbirders,
Reports of Northern Cardinals along the Colorado River have been few and far
between in recent years. The brand new edition of "A Birder's Guide to
Southern California" still lists Vidal Wash as the place to go for them, but
I know of no sightings there since 8 May 2001 (Dick Norton). I posted an
earlier version of this query on inlandcountybirds yesterday, and an even
earlier one three years ago.
So far yesterday's post has produced no newer reports of cardinals at Vidal
Wash. Roger Higson reported that he has been to the wash several times with
negative results since 2001. Dave Quady also had negative results during a
visit to the wash on 30 April 2006. I had no luck at the wash yesterday.
The only Colorado River cardinals reported since 2001 (that I know of) have
been in the Blythe area, found by Roger (5 June 2005 female and 6-8 June
2006 male). My post yesterday brought in a report from Joe Fuhrman who
reports that he saw a male at Mayflower Park in Blythe in April 2006.
So my question is: has anyone successfully searched for cardinals at Vidal
Wash since the 2001 record above? Has anyone found them at any other
historic locations along the river? Or anywhere along the river this
century? (other than as noted).
I look forward to your comments.
About two weeks ago I posted regarding the status of Northern Cardinals on
the Colorado River (also posted to inlandcountybirds). Responses to those
posts were few, but all those reporting who had looked for cardinals at
Vidal Wash (about 20 visits reported to me) have failed to find them since
their last known date of occurrence (8 May 2001). Prior to that, RBA
reports on the internet show that cardinals were found every year at Vidal
Wash, back to 1995. I believe that they were found there back years further
than that, but do not have ready access to an archive that I could search
(such as North American Birds and its predecessors).
There were also no responses indicating that cardinals had been found
anywhere else on the river. Other historic locations include the Earp area
(including Big River and Parker Dam) and in the vicinity of Laguna Dam in
Imperial County. So, the only cardinals currently known by me to have been
found along the river since 2001 have been in the Blythe area:
.5 June 2005 (female) reported by Roger Higson at that time.
.6-8 June 2006 (male) reported by Roger Higson at that time and also seen by
.April 2006 (male) reported by Joe Fuhrman in response to my post (seen at
Of course this does not mean that cardinals really are extirpated along the
river. The area is not well birded. Several birders have emphasized the
importance of dawn/early morning visits as well. By publicizing the recent
dearth of records, I hope to inspire some of you to scour the river in the
coming season and years. Good luck!