Tricolored blackbirds are being banded as part of a statewide effort to identify and document movement patterns and fidelity to breeding colonies. The banding of tricolors began in 2007 and has continued annually, with over 47,800 tricolors banded by autumn, 2011. Thus far, all birds have been banded during the breeding season at sites adjacent to breeding colonies.
The recapture of banded birds has demonstrated strong fidelity to breeding sites and a high degree of colony cohesion, with birds breeding together at one location tending to move as a group to breed together again at a different location. Previously-banded birds tend to be recaptured in groups, a phenomenon that requires an explanation while suggesting that birds are not only breeding site faithful, but that breeding birds may recreate spatial relationships established in one location at subsequent breeding colonies.
Tricolored blackbirds have been banded each year since 2007. As of the beginning of 2012, a total of just under 48,000 tricolors has been banded. From 2007-2009, most of the banded birds (nearly all adults) received both USGS aluminum bands as well as two color bands, one color indicating year, and the other indicating site of banding. Sightings of these color-banded birds are especially important, and the Tricolored Blackbird Portal enables you to enter records of observations ("resightings") of color-banded birds.
Resightings of color-banded tricolored blackbirds enable investigators to document spatial and temporal patterns of tricolor movements and have been extremely helpful in identifying new colonies from previously unknown locations. We urge you to record your observations of color-banded tricolors here:
Primary support for the development of this website was provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, with additional funding provided by the National Biological Information Infrastructure, a federal agency that was discontinued in January, 2012.
Collaborators on this website include the Information Center for the Environment (U.C. Davis), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Audubon California, the California Department of Fish & Game, Sustainable Conservation, PRBO Conservation Science, and Ted Beedy.