Where We Work

We work at a variety of urban parks and nature reserves. Please read on to learn more about some of the places where we work!


You may find us monitoring nests at parks in Davis, West Sacramento, and Woodland. Each city has a unique layout and history, so working in several cities gives us greater insight into how urban conditions affect Black Phoebes and other birds.

We also study Phoebes at Sacramento Regional Parks, including Dry Creek and American River Parkways. These large green spaces within the urban matrix, in combination with our other study sites at smaller urban parks and natural areas, will help us understand how different levels of urbanization affect Phoebes.

Historically, Black Phoebes built their nests on sheltered banks and rock faces, but this adaptable little bird has adjusted well to nesting on human-made structures, including buildings and bridges. Keep an eye out for their mud cup nests under building eaves!

A grass field shaded by scattered trees. Several picnic structures can be seen in the background. Past the lawn, there is a row of houses.
John Ferns Park in Woodland, CA. Sage Madden
A wide, grassy lawn with tall, old trees along the edges. Picnic structures and a bridge are barely visible behind some trees.
Discovery Park along the American River Parkway in Sacramento, CA. Sage Madden
An asphalt path runs through a grass lawn with scattered trees. Some mulch is visible in the bottom left corner. In the distance, a playground and picnic area are visible.
Community Park in Davis, CA. Sage Madden
A view from the top of a stone stair case. In the forefront, there are several brick planters with trees and hedges. Past the planters, a sidewalk runs through a grassy lawn scattered with trees. A large river is visible past the lawn.
River Walk park in West Sacramento, CA. Sage Madden
A creek runs through the image, with trees and grass to either side. Some of the leaves have turned yellow.
Dry Creek Parkway in Sacramento, CA. Ian Ramshorn

Natural Areas

To understand how Phoebes respond to urbanization, we compare city-living birds to birds living in nature preserves and rural areas. You may see us monitoring nests in riparian habitats at Putah Creek Riparian Reserve, South Fork Preserve, and Cache Creek Preserve. We expect Phoebes at these sites to nest on human structures and sheltered banks.

A view low to the ground of a narrow creek with yellow and green reedy vegetation to either side. A line of trees are visible in the background.
Cache Creek Preserve. Ian Ramshorn.
A view of sunset over a wide, slow moving river. Red and orange clouds reflect on the water. Dense trees can be seen across the river.
Sunset over Putah Creek. Ian Ramshorn
A view of a wide, slow moving river with mats of algae floating on the surface. Dry, brown plants can be seen in the foreground of the image, and dense trees can be seen along both sides of the river.
Putah Creek at South Fork Preserve. Sage Madden

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