November 19, 2009
The Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce a collaborative partnership with the City of Walnut Creek and the City of Concord for an experimental raptor perch project. The project consists of installing artificial raptor perches at selected locations throughout the City of Walnut Creek Open Space and the City of Concord Lime Ridge Open Space. The purpose is to encourage raptor predation on certain damaging ground squirrel populations within these areas, as well as, improving raptor and other avian species habitat.
Funds for this project have been provided by the Contra Costa County Fish and Wildlife Committee Propagation Fund and the raptor perches have been provided by Wild Wing Company. The Contra Costa County Fish and Wildlife Propagation Fund is entirely supported by fine revenues which result from violations of the Fish and Game Code and Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations in Contra Costa County.
A total of twenty raptor perches along with other required materials for installation have been purchased for a total of $4,251.89. Six raptor perches have been strategically placed in the City of Concord Lime Ridge Open Space, seven in the City of Walnut Creek Lime Ridge Open Space and seven installed in the City of Walnut Creek Shell Ridge Open Space. Personnel and equipment for the installation of the raptor perches have been provided by the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture, City of Concord and City of Walnut Creek. The project will be monitored by the Department of Agriculture’s biologist’s throughout the year to determine the success of the project. Contact the Contra Costa County Agriculture Department at 925-646-5250 for further information.
Raptor Perch instalation at Lime Ridge in Concord
Installed Raptor Perch at Shell Ridge in Walnut Creek
Kestrel hunting from a perch in Lime Ridge
In Contra Costa County the Ground Squirrel populations are on the rise. With development pushing predators out and the highly adaptive Ground Squirrels moving in to the more residential areas something had to be done. One of the predators of the Ground Squirrel is the Red Tailed Hawk. This California native will reduce the number of squirrels in the area if they have places to perch. This is where we came into the picture. To promote the Red Tailed Hawks in some of the areas that have become overpopulated with Ground Squirrels, Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture, with help from a grant through California Department of Fish and Game, has set up 20 perches through out Lime Ridge and a couple other key areas of the county to see how well these birds can help control the squirrels.
Ground Squirrels have been known to dig around and under structures, they need to be controlled on the levies to prevent them from breaking. Ground Squirrels are also known carriers of many diseases and ecto-parasites.
Some of the local news stations have some footage of the work we have done.
ABC Channel 7 News
CBS Channel 5 News