Terns and Crows: Lessons in endangered shorebird management from Venice Beach
Presenter: Erich Eberts
WHERE: Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
WHEN: April 12, 2017
TIME: 7-9 p.m.
American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) play an important role in the reproductive failure of the Venice Beach colony of endangered Southern California Least Terns (Sternula antillarum browni). Over the last five years, numerous non-lethal predator control systems (including chemical emetic and mild electrical shock conditioning) have been developed and implemented at the Venice Beach colony with the goal of deterring the crows from eating tern eggs and chicks. Initially, breeding success was observed, however, due to extensive peanut caching in the un-groomed nesting site (associated with local wildlife feeding), crows were encouraged to persistently search the nesting site, neutralizing the negative conditioning of the shocking system. In analyzing the effectiveness of these non-lethal predator control systems, we find it is important to recognize the significant role anthropogenic factors have in affecting the ecology, behavior, and dispersion of various species in urban ecosystems. This talk will therefore discuss crow and least tern interactions at Venice Beach, the effectiveness of non-lethal predator control systems, and the role people can play in contributing to urban wildlife conservation and management.
About Erich Eberts
I graduated from Loyola Marymount University in December 2015, where I studied biology with an concentration in ecology. As an undergraduate, my primary research projects included Photosynthetic Characterization of Invasive Plant Species in Los Angeles County, Predator (American Crow) Electrical Shock Aversion System for Endangered California Least Terns, and Urban Hummingbird Biodiversity and Behavior. After graduation, I spent three months in Ecuador working on hummingbird research, and backpacking in the Peruvian Andes. Upon my return, I was excited to continue my research in urban wildlife biology, and especially in crow cognition and hummingbird behavior and physiology, at the LMU Center for Urban Resilience, where I spent three years as an undergraduate researcher. As the CURes Research Fellow, I primarily guide and mentor 20 undergraduate researchers on their urban wildlife and social science research projects. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Ecology to further develop my interests and experience in avian physiological and behavioral ecology, and to pursue a career in field biology through academia.
If you plan to attend LA Audubon's April 12th, 7pm speaker series at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook - please be aware that there is construction on Hetzler Road (the park road). It may appear that the road is closed — but we have permission to access it for the meeting. Please proceed with caution and park in the upper lot adjacent to the visitors center located at the very top of the hill. Visitors who arrive early should tell park staff they are there for the LA Audubon event- the staff will then give them a pass (which Carol provided) to put in their car. If the visitor center is closed when they arrive, they can simply write LA Audubon and the date on a piece of paper and put it on their dash. Nicole will also have some on hand for those who arrive after 6:30 pm.