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American Redstart Returns to Reidy Creek

The sweet little American redstart made a repeat appearance in October at our restoration site on Reidy Creek. We saw this mesmerizing bird at the same location in 2019. We can’t confirm it was the same individual as the one we sighted previously as it was not fitted with an ID band. We know, however, that some of the western populations of the American redstart winter in California and some migrate as far as Mexico or Central America.

We spotted the bird during a day of removing non-native yellow flag iris with workers from the Urban Corps of San Diego County. The bright orange breeding plumage on its wings and tail feathers made the male specimen hard to miss. The new world warbler flitted about the branches of a Freemont cottonwood flashing its colors to flush insects from the brush.

The crew seemed to genuinely delight in the American redstart and other wildlife at Reidy Creek. We noted the propelling behavior of nonnative crawdads, marveled at the sounds and sights and calls of the deep blue western scrub jay or the flashing red mohawk of the small ruby-crowned kinglet. During a day of hard labor, it was a joy to spend moments appreciating the wildlife we are determined to protect.

Spotting the resilient American redstart at Reidy Creek, a small greenway surrounded by apartment buildings, is a sign that wildlife persists within the confines of our urban areas. It highlights the importance of preserving and protecting stopover sites for wildlife and migratory birds like the American redstart. These travelers need places to rest, snack, and restore their energy reserves for journeys that can span continents. Reidy Creek may be such a place for the American redstart, in addition to being home turf for a number of other wildlife species.

Our restoration work at Reidy Creek is in partnership with the City of Escondido.

In 2018, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded a $381,000 grant to the Conservancy to implement the Reidy Creek Restoration and Beautification Project. The state grant responded, in part, to public complaints over homeless encampments, trash, and pollution in the greenbelt between West El Norte Parkway and Highway 78.

South of the highway, Reidy Creek flows below ground before connecting with the concrete channel that contains Escondido Creek.

Grant-funded activities include enhancing flood protection and restoring riparian and floodplain habitat for fish and wildlife, especially threatened and endangered species.

Staff contact: Jamison Lauria, 707-499-0854 or [email protected]