On a Shorebird ID fieldtrip to Hayward Shoreline on September 16, 2007 we encountered a USGS researcher with a directional antenna. Melissa, the researcher, told us she was tracking Clapper Rails that had been fitted with transmitters. She said they have very restricted ranges, not traveling far from the site where they were trapped and outfitted with transmitters.
This study 1 is aimed at understanding the impact of invasive spartina on the Clapper Rails. This smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) is from the Atlantic Coast, and competes with our native Pacific cordgrass (Spartina foliosa), changing the habitat of the rail's home.
Earlier studies2 on the rails in SF Bay showed that only about 65% of the eggs were viable, and only 45% of nests hatched at least one egg, even though there was an average of almost 7 eggs per nest.
The California Clapper Rail, Rallus longirostris obsoletus is on the federally endangered list. One of the best places to see this bird in our area is at Martin Luther King Shoreline, near the Oakland Airport. Going at high tide usually brings results.
2 Steven E Schwartzbach, Limited Reproductive Success for California Clapper Rail in San Francisco Bay