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Migratory and resident waterbird census in Estero Santa Cruz, Estero Cardonal, and Estero Tastiota

Project Description

Esteros Santa Cruz, Cardonal, Santa Rosa, and Tastiota are small to medium-sized negative estuaries (limited or no fresh water input) located in the municipality of Hermosillo, near the town of Bahía Kino. They host high habitat diversity consisting of salt marsh, mangroves, and sand/mud flats, as well as permanent channels up to five meters in depth. Their location on the coast of central Sonora is a part of the Pacific Flyway, a migratory corridor that follows the Pacific coast of North America, and is used annually by hundreds of thousands of migratory birds.

The Waterbird Monitoring Program conducts weekly censuses of these estuaries to collect data on species abundance and diversity. Consistent monitoring shows habitat use and species composition throughout the season.

Project Results

It was found that these four wetlands act as important stopover and wintering sites for many species of migratory waterbirds. In addition, the seasonal use of these wetlands by species of special concern, such as Reddish Egrets, Elegant Terns, and Yellow-footed Gulls, is considerable. These four estuaries support sufficiently high numbers of waterbirds, both migratory and resident, to meet the qualifying criteria for Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Sites of Regional Importance, and Important Bird Areas as recognized by BirdLife International. Estero Santa Cruz’s recent designation as a Wetland of International Importance is an incredible achievement stemming directly from the efforts of the Kino Bay Center.

Reports & Publications

  1. Research and Conservation Program Report (2007-2011). Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies