Secrets of Suisun Marsh's Birds of Prey

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Did you know that the USGS is studying raptors in California? Biologists with the USGS Western Ecological Research Center are hard at work in the field, learning more about the ecology of Northern Harriers and their interactions with migratory waterfowl of concern to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Once, California’s Suisun Marsh hosted the state’s largest breeding population of northern harriers. However, their populations have steadily declined over the past few decades, in part due to a loss of habitat.

Now, USGS biologists are studying northern harrier movements, habitats, and nesting behavior to inform ongoing wetland conservation efforts. The research is helping programs that aim to understand the ecology of Suisun Marsh and prevent population declines.

Pictured: An adult male Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) surveys Suisun Marsh, CA. Males are known for their beautiful, steel-gray plumage. Credit Billy Thein/USGS.

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Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Waterfowl Ecology in California and the Pacific Flyway

The Suisun Marsh and Central Valley in California offer some of the world’s most important wetland habitats for waterfowl in the Pacific Flyway. Mike Casazza and USGS WERC biologists are providing the science to support and evaluate waterfowl populations and habitat management in North America.

Contacts: Michael Casazza