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Birds and Mammals

The Department of Birds and Mammals offers a unique combination of resources and experience and a wide variety of services available by contract.

  • Complete reference collection of skins and skeletons of birds and mammals of California, Arizona, and Baja California.
  • Reference specimens and skilled personnel enabling all birds and mammals of these areas to be identified to species and subspecies.
  • Personnel qualified, by both experience and permit, to collect and preserve all California birds and mammals authorized by state and federal agencies.
  • Resources and expertise for preparation and preservation of voucher specimens. Personnel skilled in field survey techniques for all California birds and mammals, including banding and radio-tracking.
  • Personnel skilled in organizing seminars and teaching classes on bird and mammal identification and biology.
  • Personnel skilled in technical writing and making scientific subjects enjoyable reading for the lay public. Personnel qualified, by both experience and permit, to use mist nets in studies of birds and bats.
  • Experience, equipment, and permits necessary for surveys and studies of bats.
  • Experience, equipment, and permits necessary for surveys and studies of the Pacific Little Pocket mouse and other sensitive rodents.
  • Reference collection and experience necessary for identification of mammal scat and tracks, often critical to wildlife-corridor studies. Permits and experience necessary for surveys and studies of the California Gnatcatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Bell's Vireo, Least Tern, and Snowy Plover.
  • Personnel qualified to identify and analyze animal bones from archaeological sites, including conduct of metric, butchery, ageing, and seasonality studies.
  • Over 30 years cumulative experience in studies of southern California wildlife. Background and experience necessary to qualify for further permits required by government agencies.

Personnel available to perform these services:

Philip Unitt, Curator

Thirty years experience with birds, including many sensitive species, throughout southern California. Author of The San Diego County Bird Atlas, The Birds of San Diego County and editor of Western Birds, the regional journal of ornithology for western North America. Author of the study central to current understanding of the endangered Willow Flycatcher. Specialist in subspecies identification of California birds.

Scott Tremor, Mammalogist

Fifteen years experience surveying for and identifying southern California mammals. Originator of the San Diego County Mammal Atlas. Project manager for several research projects involving mammal response to the regional fires of 2003. Specialist in subspecies identification of southern California mammals.

Susan Arter

Ten years experience in North American and 13 years experience in Near Eastern archaeological and zooarchaeological research. Specialist in the identification and analysis of animal skeletal remains from archaeological sites for reconstructing prehistoric ecology and document past systems of human subsistence. Research Collaborator with the Center for Archaeobiological Research, Smithsonian Institution, and zooarchaeological consultant for the Department of Archaeological Research, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

In addition, we have a wide network of contacts and cooperative relationships enabling us to build larger teams with expertise in almost every aspect of wildlife biology.