Ten years ago, the Sonoran Joint Venture received a Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) grant to fund riparian restoration and research in Sonora, Mexico. This was part of the doctoral research of Dr. Fernando Villaseñor, who studied habitat use and the effects of disturbance on wintering birds in riparian habitats throughout Sonora. Recently, SJV Science Coordinator Carol Beardmore had the opportunity to visit one of the project sites and tag along with researchers running camera traps at Rancho El Aribabi in northern Sonora. Carol, along with herpetologists, entomologists, and others checked on the cameras, changed out the memory cards, and explored the ranch for its great natural diversity. The camera traps recorded evidence of javelina, mountain lions, ocelot, deer, and Turkey Vultures.

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The fence around the riparian zone was in good shape!

In 2006, NMBCA funding helped pay to build fence to exclude cattle from sensitive sections of the riparian habitat that runs through the ranch. Happily, this fencing has remained in place for the ensuing ten years. Carol arrived to find thick, lush vegetation along the river, providing important habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Some of the interesting birds Carol found included: Bell’s Vireo, Elf Owl, Gray Hawk, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Summer Tanager, and Sinaloa Wren.  She also found a number of Yellow-billed Cuckoos still there during this Labor Day visit. These are all indicators of a thriving, healthy riparian habitat.

Rancho El Aribabi is open to the public for meetings or just exploring. There is a ranch house with guest rooms and a camping area. Visitors can bring their own food and cook in the kitchen, or have meals prepared for them. For more information visit the Rancho El Aribabi website.

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