Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) 6-Year Summary, Naval Outlying Landing Field, Imperial Beach, Southwestern San Diego County, California, 2014–20

Open-File Report 2023-1055
Ecosystems Mission Area—Species Management Research Program
By: , and 


Executive Summary

From 2014 to 2020, a Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) banding station (station) was operated at the Naval Outlying Landing Field (NOLF), Imperial Beach, in southwestern San Diego County, California. The station was established as part of a long-term monitoring program of Neotropical migratory bird populations on NOLF and helps Naval Base Coronado (NOLF is a component) meet the goals and objectives of the Department of Defense Partners in Flight program and the Birds and Migratory Birds Management Strategies of the Naval Base Coronado Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan. The station was established in 2009 and has been in operation during the spring and summer since 2009 except for 2016 when it was not funded. The station was operated by AMEC Earth and Environmental, Inc., from 2009 to 2011, by the U.S. Geological Survey from 2012 to 2015, the San Diego Natural History Museum in 2017, and the U.S. Geological Survey again from 2018 to 2023. This report synthesizes results from 2014 to 2020. A prior report presents summaries and analyses from 2009 to 2013.

The banding station at NOLF was operated according to the standard MAPS protocol with some exceptions. Ten mist nets used to capture birds were erected in fixed locations that remained consistent between and within years, with few minor relocations. Nets were open for 6 hours per day, once every 10 days (a netting period) for 13 netting periods starting April 1 each year. Occasionally, poor weather conditions (for example, rain, wind, or excessive heat) prevented net operation or forced nets to be closed early (or, rarely, late). Nets were checked periodically throughout the day and birds were removed, processed (leg bands affixed, measurements recorded), and released.

From 2014 to 2020, we had 3,543 captures (including initial captures and recaptures) of a maximum of 3,264 year-unique captures (543±143 year-unique captures [the total number of individual birds captured for the first time each year]). The count of year-unique captures included 2,702 newly banded birds, 258 individuals that were recaptured from previous years, and 304 birds that were released unbanded (218 hummingbirds and 86 other birds that were intentionally released unbanded [game birds, and so forth] or escaped before banding). Individuals of 68 species were captured, 39 of which breed at or in the immediate vicinity of the MAPS banding station. Bird capture rate averaged 43±30 captures per day (corrected to account for variation in effort) for all years (range 7–163 effort-corrected captures per day) and species richness per year averaged 43±4. Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) was the most abundant species captured, followed by Orange-crowned Warbler (Leiothlypis celata), Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla), House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus), Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia), and Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas). The mean adult sex ratio of all species combined across all years was 54:46 male:female. Adults averaged 73±12 percent of known age captures per year (range 59–94 percent), and juveniles averaged 27±12 percent (range 6–41 percent).

Nineteen sensitive species were detected at NOLF (12 captured and 7 observed only). During 2014–20, we captured one State and federally endangered species, Least Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus); one federally threatened species, California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica); one State endangered species, Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii); and two State species of concern, Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) and Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia). One additional State species of concern, Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius), was observed at the MAPS banding station but not captured. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) and White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus), California State fully protected species, also were observed at the MAPS banding station. Seven federal bird species of conservation concern—Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope), Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin), Nuttall’s Woodpecker (Dryobates nuttallii), Wrentit (Chamaea fasciata), California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum), and Lawrence’s Goldfinch (Spinus lawrencei)—also were captured, and four additional federal bird species of conservation concern—Willet (Tringa semipalmata), Western Gull (Larus occidentalis), California Gull (Larus californicus), and Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii)—were observed but not captured.

Local population trends varied among species and years. From 2012 to 2019, year-round residents Bushtit, Song Sparrow, and Common Yellowthroat significantly decreased, whereas the migrant Least Bell’s Vireo increased. The total number of captures for all species except Least Bell’s Vireo was lowest in 2017, corresponding to the habitat damage caused by Kuroshio shot hole borer beetle (Euwallacea kuroshio) in the Tijuana River Valley.

Annual productivity and annual adult survival were calculated for seven breeding species based on criteria used by the Institute for Bird Populations (Least Bell’s Vireo, Bushtit, Wrentit, House Wren [Troglodytes aedon], Song Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Common Yellowthroat). Productivity was highest for most species in 2010 and 2019, years with high precipitation, and lowest in 2014 and 2018, years with low precipitation. Song Sparrow demonstrated the highest productivity among species and Least Bell’s Vireo had the lowest productivity. Annual adult survival was generally high from 2011 to 2012 and from 2018 to 2019. Bushtit had higher annual survival with lower late winter precipitation. Either temperature or precipitation was associated with productivity for all species except Wrentit, and with survival for all species except Least Bell’s Vireo and Common Yellowthroat. For most species, productivity was positively associated with precipitation, and both productivity and survival were negatively associated with temperature. Other studies have found that higher temperatures led to increased predation by snakes and birds and also increased vector-borne disease transmission, such as West Nile virus. Predicted regional increases in temperature over the next 30 years will likely affect the demographics of these species.

The Song Sparrow population increased with higher breeding productivity during the previous year, and the Bushtit population increased with higher annual survival and higher productivity during the previous year. Aside from a possible positive association between survivorship and Common Yellowthroat population growth, productivity and survival rates did not appear to influence population change for other focal species.

Suggested Citation

Lynn, S., Mendia, S., and Kus, B.E., 2023, Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) 6-year summary, Naval Outlying Landing Field, Imperial Beach, southwestern San Diego County, California, 2014–20: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2023–1055, 68 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) 6-year summary, Naval Outlying Landing Field, Imperial Beach, southwestern San Diego County, California, 2014–20
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2023-1055
DOI 10.3133/ofr20231055
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description viii, 68 p.
Country United States
State California
County San Diego County
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details