Avian use of desert wildlife water developments as determined by remote videography

Janet C. Lynn, Steven S. Rosenstock, Carol L. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In the desert Southwest, migrating birds have been documented using upland habitat and xeroriparian washes as well as riparian areas. Yet aside from the river corridors, natural water sources (e.g., natural rock tanks [tinajas], springs, and ephemeral washes) in upland areas are scarce. Because of this scarcity, state and federal resource managers augmented water sources throughout the Southwest by constructing permanent wildlife water developments with the intention of enhancing game populations. However, despite these increases in free-standing water, there is a paucity of information on the use of water by birds during migration. Our objectives were to document use of these wildlife water developments by resident and migratory songbirds and assess the effectiveness of monitoring these species using remote color videography. We placed color video cameras at 2 wildlife water developments in southwestern Arizona during the spring and fall of 2004. Although we observed more use by migrants during spring than fall, overall use by migratory birds was low. However, the wildlife water developments were frequently used by resident birds. Remote videography provided continuous information on daily and seasonal patterns of bird use at wildlife water catchments with negligible disturbance by observers, yet for passerines, we felt that the benefits of remote videography did not justify the high cost of equipment purchase, installation, maintenance, and data processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalWestern North American Naturalist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Arizona
  • Neotropical migratory birds
  • Resident birds
  • Sonoran desert
  • Video cameras
  • Water developments
  • Xeroriparian washes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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