In Could of this yr, about 90 volunteers with Tucson Audubon Society spent round 500 hours surveying 5 mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona over three weekends. Their objective: to rely Elegant Trogons in the one area within the U.S. the place the species nests.
They tallied solely 68 trogons, about two-thirds of the 201 birds present in 2020. In 9 years of surveys, it was by far the smallest trogon rely.
Jennie MacFarland, Tucson Audubon’s fowl conservation biologist who coordinates the trogon surveys, informed the Arizona Every day Star the decline is the results of an excessive drought gripping southern Arizona. The 18-month interval by Could was the driest interval of that size on file on the Tucson airport, in line with Nationwide Climate Service information.
“Trogons want lots of bugs to boost their younger. It’s so dry on the market, I don’t assume it seems good for them, together with to nest,” MacFarland mentioned.
The newspaper continued:
A small variety of Southern Arizona trogons dwell right here year-round, however the overwhelming majority migrate backwards and forwards from Sonora whereas breeding on this nation.
“Most would have needed to come up right here to nest. Both they discovered the journey too troublesome, since there’s a drought in Mexico too, so I believe lots of them simply stayed,” MacFarland mentioned.
“Some could have died, however I think not. Migrants kind of determine these things out,” MacFarland added. “Once they begin touring and run into circumstances that don’t appear protected, I believe lots of them simply flip round and return.”
In a follow-up article, local weather scientists disagreed about whether or not a agency hyperlink could be established between a one-year decline in trogons, a region-wide drought, and the local weather disaster.
Nonetheless, mentioned Rick Taylor, a trogon researcher, southern Arizona naturalist, and field-guide creator: “You shouldn’t see such radical inhabitants swings; you shouldn’t see this in trogons, all issues being equal.”
A model of this text seems in “Birding Briefs” within the September/October 2021 challenge of BirdWatching journal.