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General Meeting – April 2024

General Meeting – Online Presentation

April 19, 2024 – 7:00 PM

“Status and Biology of the Gray Vireo in Baja California”
Presented by Philip Unitt, from San Diego Natural History Museum

Gray Verio

Philip Unitt is a native of San Diego and a graduate of San Diego State University. Curator of birds and mammals at the San Diego Natural History Museum, he has prepared over 5,000 bird specimens for the museum’s research collection and has published over 50 articles and book chapters on the distribution, ecology, identification, and conservation of birds. Since 1986 he has served as editor of Western Birds, the regional journal of ornithology for western North America. He served on the technical advisory committee for the revision of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s list of bird species of special concern, writing six of the species accounts—including that for the Gray Vireo.

Most of the breeding range of the Gray Vireo lies within the southwestern United States, where the population is sparse, patchy, and declining. But the species also breeds in Baja California, where its status had not been assessed until a binational team surveyed four mountain ranges there in 2021 and 2022. In the sierras Juárez and Sierra San Pedro Mártir, the Vireo was found strikingly more abundant than just across the border in Upper California. Some territories were in pinyon woodland, but most were in treeless chaparral dominated by chamise and redshank. The reason for the stark cross-border contrast remains unknown, but clearly, Baja California contributes disproportionately to the Gray Vireo’s population and therefore conservation. The Sierra La Asamblea and the Sierra San Francisco were also surveyed, where the habitat or previous records suggested the Gray Vireo might breed. These searches did not yield any southward extension of the vireo’s known breeding range as hoped. But these remote mountains had been little explored biologically, so the surveys, conducted by the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Mexican nonprofit Pronatura Noroeste, were nonetheless pioneering.

Please join us for this engaging program. The meeting room opens at 6:30 PM; join us to socialize prior to the 7:00 PM meeting.

Meeting ID: 862 1013 1613

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