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Birds of the Salton Sea

Birds of the Salton Sea: Status, Biogeography, and Ecology

Michael A. Patten
Guy McCaskie
Philip Unitt
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Pages: 374
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  • Book Info
    Birds of the Salton Sea
    Book Description:

    The Salton Sea, California’s largest inland lake, supports a spectacular bird population that is among the most concentrated and most diverse in the world. Sadly, this crucial stopover along the Pacific Flyway for migratory and wintering shorebirds, landbirds, and waterfowl is dangerously close to collapse from several environmental threats. This book is the first thoroughly detailed book to describe the birds of Salton Sea, more than 450 species and subspecies in all. A major contribution to our knowledge about the birds of western North America, it will also be an important tool in the struggle to save this highly endangered area. Synthesizing data from many sources, including observations from their long-term work in the area, the authors’ species accounts discuss each bird’s abundance, seasonal status, movement patterns, biogeographic affinities, habitat associations, and more. This valuable reference also includes general information on the region’s fascinating history and biogeography, making it an unparalleled resource for the birding community, for wildlife managers, and for conservation biologists concerned with one of the most threatened ecosystems in western North America.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92944-9
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)

    Anybody who has been to California’s Salton Sea will have lasting memories, and perhaps a recurring nightmare or two. The sea assaults one’s senses with a potpourri of richly organic odors, eye-popping sunsets, the biting cold of a winter morning, or the sauna ambience of a summer afternoon. And there are the birds—the spectacular flocks in the air or rafting on the sea, the yap-yapping of Black-necked Stilts punctuating the summer heat, the whistling of the wings of winter waterfowl. Birders, hunters, and tourists from far and wide have visited the Salton Sea to enjoy the spectacle of thousands...

    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. A History of the Salton Sink
    (pp. 1-6)

    We begin the story of the Salton Sea with the Salton Trough, the rift extending from the Coachella Valley to the central Gulf of California. The Salton Sink, which lies between the southern Coachella Valley and the northern Mexicali Valley, occupies but a small portion of the trough, but the histories of the two are intertwined. From a geological standpoint, the long history of the Salton Trough ranges from its connection with the Gulf of California during the Tertiary Period (Blake 1914; Durham and Allison 1960) to the maximum spread of Lake Cahuilla beginning some 40,000 years ago, during the...

  6. Conservation and Management Issues
    (pp. 7-11)

    In the 1940s and 1950s the Salton Sea attracted tourists and fun-seekers from nearby metropolitan areas. The sea became so popular that the Salton Sea State Recreation Area was developed along the northeastern shoreline. After the introduction of marine fishes the sea also became a major sport fishery. The robust economy of the 1950s brought real estate speculators, who marketed the area as a thriving resort. As the Salton Sea aged, however, its appeal waned. The water became brown and turbid, fish carcasses littered the shore, and distasteful odors emanated from mud and backwaters. In the 1980s high water levels...

  7. Biogeography of the Salton Sea
    (pp. 12-32)

    Biogeography encompasses knowledge and inferences of both past and present. It is challenging to deduce how present conditions affect dlstributions and abundances of a suite of organisms, to say nothing of how past conditions might be related to present ones. Here we compare what is known about the fauna of Lake Cahuilla with what is known about the fauna of the Salton Sea in order to put current distributions into perspective. But geography can only provide part of the story, so we describe current vegetation and habitats to clarify many patterns that might otherwise remain mysterious.

    That Lake Cahuilla was...

  8. A Checklist of the Birds of the Salton Sea
    (pp. 33-67)

    Table 3 lists all species and subspecies reliably recorded in the Salton Sink. In the few cases in which a subspecific designation could not be made (because a specimen is lacking) or the subspecies is only presumed on the basis of its migratory habits, biogeography, and records from adjacent regions, taxa are given in brackets. Abbreviations for museum holdings and other sources are given in Table 4. We have attempted to verify the validity of all subspecific designations. When a particular specimen is assumed to represent a given taxon but we did not directly check the specimen, the museum is...

  9. The Species Accounts
    (pp. 68-322)

    In this section we present detailed accounts for all the species for which there are reliable records in the Salton Sink. After describing the broad status of each avian order or family, we detail the occurrence of each component species. We head each account with the species’ English and scientific names, in almost all cases following the American Ornithologists’ Union’sCheck-list of North American Birds(see below). The scientific name is followed by the name of the author who described the species to science and the year that description was published. Following convention, if the species was originally referred to...

    (pp. 323-324)
    (pp. 325-348)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 349-363)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 364-366)