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The Earth Day Photo Contest is on! Visit the Nature Preserve and Submit Your Photos before Earth Day, April 22nd.

Project Phoebe at the Preserve

Pseew! With its signature bright call, the conspicuous Black Phoebe makes its way over rivers, through backyards, and atop tall buildings. This small, energetic flycatcher might seem like another Cache Creek Preserve regular, but it’s hiding a big secret about how animals survive around people.

A group of UC Davis PhD students will be starting a research project at the Cache Creek Nature Preserve next week. It will be going on for the next 3 or so years. They are studying Black Phoebes and how their behaviors change in urban vs non-urban environments, and the consequential reproductive outcomes.

Project Phoebe is a research project designed by three PhD students at the University of California Davis. They are investigating how city-living Black Phoebes differ from Phoebes in natural areas. Do they behave differently? Are they eating different things? Do these differences help them survive and raise their young under challenging city conditions? Are they more successful in some city parks than others? We hope that answering these questions will help our local communities and beyond steward biodiverse urban ecosystems, to the benefit of both birds and people.

From February through August, you may see them working to gather this knowledge about urban birds at the Cache Creek Preserve! They will be using mirrors to check the contents of Phoebe nests, briefly capturing birds to fit them with identification bands, and observing their behavior.

By studying Phoebes at both city parks and natural habitats like Cache Creek Preserve, we can learn about how Phoebes respond to the challenges of city life. All project research has been approved under federal, state, and UCD wildlife handling permits. Want to learn more?

Project Phoebe Website

Black Phoebe on a fence rail with blurred golden grasses in the background
Black Phoebe January 2023 Central Valley, CA

Posted on February 22nd, 2023 by Cache Creek Conservancy

Posted in: Cache Creek Nature Preserve, Featured, Research
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