The 2017 Tricolored Blackbird Statewide Survey will be conducted from April 7 through April 9. This year's statewide survey is especially important to document the status of the species due to its recent rapid decline in abundance and because the results of this year's statewide survey will help the Department of Fish and Wildlife to make a recommendation to the California Fish and Game Commission on whether to list the species under the California Endangered Species Act. As with the 3 prior statewide surveys, this year's statewide survey is being coordinated by local experts who act as county coordinators and are responsible for assuring coverage of all known Tricolored Blackbird colony locations in all counties within the range of the species. Your participation in this year's statewide survey is encouraged and much appreciated.
This story, by Capital Public Radio's Melody Stone, discusses the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's status review of the tricolored blackbird for possible listing under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).
At its December 10, 2015 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted 3-1 to advance the Tricolored Blackbird to candidacy under the California Endangered Species Act, triggering a 12-month period during which the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will conduct a status review to inform the Commission’s subsequent decision on whether to list the species as threatened or endangered. As a candidate species, the Tricolored Blackbird receives the same legal protection afforded to an endangered or threatened species (Fish & Game Code, § 2085).
Today the California Fish and Game Commission voted 2-1 to allow the emergency protection of the tricolored blackbird to expire by not recommending a full review by the Department of Fish and Wildlife of the status of the species.
Today, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced a 90 day finding of a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity to place the Tricolored Blackbird on the Endangered Species List.
The finding states: "Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the petition, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for the tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) based on Factors A, C, D, and E. However, during our status review, we will thoroughly evaluate all potential threats to the species. Thus, for the tricolored blackbird, the Service requests information on the five listing factors under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, including the factors identified in this finding (see Request for Information for Status Reviews, above)."
The public may submit comments to the Service by midnight November 17, 2015 regarding the status of the tricolored blackbird by one of two methods:
Today the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Secretary of the Interior to list the tricolored blackbird as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Center cited the recent steep population decline as documented in the most recent statewide surveys conducted in 2008, 2011, and 2014 as evidence for the need for federal protection.
This morning, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to grant emergency protections to the Tricolored Blackbird. The Commission's action grants a 180-day period for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine whether to make the protections permanent.
The Commission was responding to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in October, 2014.
The Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 filed an emergency petition to protect the tricolored blackbird as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The Center cited the numerous threats faced by tricolored blackbirds and the dramatic decline documented most recently in this year's Statewide Survey. The Center's petition listed losses of native habitats, including wetlands, grasslands and shrublands, to agriculture, urbanization, market hunting and shooting in autumn when tricolors forage in mixed flocks on ripening rice with red-winged blackbirds, pesticide use, and harvest of grain fields while eggs and young are in the nests as among the factors resulting in the decline. The losses of native habitats and widespread pesticide use are the most likely causes of the chronic low productivity of the species, and the continuing severe drought is likely further stressing the species.
The 2014 Statewide Survey Final Report was released on July 31, 2014.
This report contains the results of the 2014 Statewide Survey, comparisons to past statewide surveys, and conservation recommendations.