Southern Sierra Research Station

...conserving biological diversity through research

Yellow-billed Cuckoo Workshop Information


Thank you for registering for the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo survey training workshop. Please review the survey protocols, survey forms and Yellow-billed Cuckoo vocalizations. Bring a copy of the protocols and review it before the workshop, so that we may answer any questions. Please download and listen to the Yellow-billed Cuckoo vocalizations to become familiar with them prior to the workshop.



Kern River Valley Workshop

July 11 & 12, 2017 in the Kern River Valley, CA

Day 1: 1pm to 5pm at the South Fork Woman's Club (6488 Fay Ranch Rd, Weldon, CA 93283, on the corner of Fay Ranch Road and Highway 178, across the street from the South Fork Elementary School)


Day 2: 6am to 10am. We will meet at at the Audubon Kern River Preserve Headquarters.

The Kern River Valley classroom portion of the workshop will be held at the South Fork Woman's Club, located at the intersection of Fay Ranch Rd and highway 178 in the Kern River Valley. The Woman's Club is located on Hwy 178, approximately 1 mile east of Kern River Preserve entrance road. Presentation topics will include: Cuckoo Distribution and Status, Cuckoo Habitat Preferences, Cuckoo Breeding Ecology and Cuckoo Survey Protocol. On day 2 of the workshop we will meet at the Audubon Kern River Preserve (KRP) Headquarters at 6 am. We will then carpool and walk to various locations in the valley to practice field survey protocols, view examples of suitable cuckoo habitat, and find some cuckoos. Cuckoos breed on Audubon's Kern River Preserve and at the adjacent USFS Wildlife Area and should be present for our field visit.

In July, the daytime temperatures are typically in the 90s and the nighttime temperature is in the 60s or 70s. Please be prepared for both hot and cold temperatures. Also, bring the following gear with you to the workshop: notepad, pen, binoculars, hiking boots, sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Coffee, tea, water, soda and snacks will be provided during the workshop To help reduce waste, please bring a water bottle and coffee mug.

For more information about the Kern River Valley Yellow-billed Cuckoo workshop please contact John Stanek (jrstanek.ssrs AT gmail.com). Quality hotels can be found in Lake Isabella (Paradise Cove) and in Kernville. The Kern River Audubon Preserve (KRP) does not normally allow camping, but will do so for this event. Camping space is limited at the KRP, so please call us (760-378-3345) or email us to reserve a spot for camping (suggested $10 donation). Camping is also available at various locations around the lake.

Please download (and read) the Cuckoo Natural History and Survey Protocol pdf before attending the workshop.



Blythe, CA Workshop

Tentatively scheduled for June 16 & 17, 2017 in Blythe, CA

Day 1: The location for the presentation section of the workshop has not been finalized. The presentations are normally scheduled for 1 to 5 pm.


Day 2: 6 am to 10 am. We will meet at the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve (PVER, 8.5 miles north of Blythe off CA 95 N, map/directions will be provided).

The first day of the workshop we will present information on current YBCU survey protocol, YBCU ecology, as well as information on our current research.

The second day of the workshop will be held in at Palo Verde Ecological Reserve (PVER), located by the Colorado River approximately 8.5 miles (17 min) north of Blythe. PVER currently supports arguably the largest western cuckoo breeding subpopulation in California (24 confirmed and up to 39 possible breeding territories estimated in 2012); it currently comprises over 160 hectares (400 acres) of multi-structured 2-7 year-old planted riparian cottonwood-willow forest, jointly managed for wildlife habitat by the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Cuckoo arrival times vary, but visiting the site in late June practically ensures that all participants will hear or see cuckoos. We will demonstrate the call playback protocol, and let participants practice until they feel confident.

In June, the average morning temperature at 6 am is 74 degrees, rising quickly to 100 degrees by noon. Night time temperatures are rarely below 67 degrees. Please be prepared for both cool and hot temperatures. Sunrise occurs at approximately 6:20 am. Also, please bring the following gear with you to the field portion of the workshop: binoculars, sunhat, sunscreen, and water. If you would like to practice the survey protocol you should also bring your GPS and compass. We will provide data sheets and clipboards. Surveys will be conducted from dirt roads so wear appropriate footwear. After the workshop you can continue to bird at the site if desired.

For more information about the Lower Colorado River Yellow-billed Cuckoo workshop please contact SSRS (760)-378-3345.

Please download (and read) the Cuckoo Natural History and Survey Protocol pdf before attending the workshop.