News

Emergency Ordinance Threatens Largest Breeding Colony of Tricolored Blackbirds in Los Angeles County

Date: 
2009-01-23

In October, 2008, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved Ordinance No. 2008-00052U, Water Conservation Requirements for the Unincorporated Los Angeles County Area.

According to West Valley County Water District President Mr. John Gaglione, due to this Ordinance, WVCWD is no longer able to pump water into Holiday Lake, and Holiday Lake will be allowed to dry up.

Holiday Lake is located in the Antelope Valley, in the community of Holiday Valley. Many birds and other wildlife species make Holiday Lake their home and the largest breeding colony of tricolored blackbirds in Los Angeles County in 2008 (according to the results of the 2008 Statewide Tricolored Blackbird Survey) occurred at Holiday Lake.

Tricolored Blackbird Portal Highlighted in NBII Access

Date: 
2009-01-05

The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) has supported the development of the Tricolored Blackbird Portal. The NBII publishes a quarterly newsletter, NBII Access, which highlights the Tricolored Blackbird Portal in its Fall, 2008 edition.

April Tricolored Blackbird Survey a Huge Success!

Date: 
2008-07-10

The 2008 Tricolored Blackbird Survey was a great success, thanks to 160 volunteers who donated their time and expertise before, during, and after the survey. Our total count was approximately 402,000 birds, 144,000 more than were counted in 2005. Audubon California thanks all the volunteer whose participation in this survey is an important contribution that will help guide future conservation efforts for this species.

Use the link below to read the entire story.

Cooperative conservation could save tricolored blackbirds

Date: 
2008-06-01

This article appeared in the April - June, 2008 issue of California Agriculture, a University of California peer-reviewed journal.

Audubon California Reaches Agreement to Save World’s Largest Tricolored Blackbird Colony

Date: 
2008-05-01

Tulare County, California – Audubon California today announced that it has reached an agreement with a farmer in Tulare County to safeguard a single colony of about 80,000 Tricolored Blackbirds – nearly a third of the world’s population of this declining songbird.

The estimated global population of Tricolored Blackbirds is approximately 250,000 to 300,000 birds, with at least 95 percent of these occurring in California. Tricolored Blackbirds form just a few large nesting colonies each year, and in most cases these occur in San Joaquin Valley triticale fields. This puts the colonies in grave danger when farmers cultivate the field before young birds are able to fly.

Please visit the link below for the full story.

Sacramento Bee: Dark future is feared for tricolor blackbirds

Date: 
2008-01-09

By Carrie Peyton Dahlberg
cpeytondahlberg@sacbee.com

The Central Valley fixture could be on path to extinction

For tricolor blackbirds that swoop and gather in Central Valley fields, the past breeding season turned unexpectedly into a nearly silent summer.

By the tens of thousands, the birds courted, built nests and waited – then abandoned nests en masse as females failed to produce eggs.

Robert Meese, a UC Davis researcher who tracks the trademark California bird with its blaze of red and white on the wings, hopes biologists are seeing just a temporary setback, fueled by dry weather that depleted a vital supply of insects.

"If this is the beginning of a trend rather than a one-time event we might really be in trouble with the tricolor," said Meese. "The bird is making its last stand, and it's making its last stand primarily in the Central Valley."

Merced Sun-Star: Dark future is feared for tricolor blackbirds

Date: 
2008-01-10

By Carrie Peyton Dahlberg
cpeytondahlberg@sacbee.com

The Central Valley fixture could be on path to extinction

For tricolor blackbirds that swoop and gather in Central Valley fields, the past breeding season turned unexpectedly into a nearly silent summer.

By the tens of thousands, the birds courted, built nests and waited – then abandoned nests en masse as females failed to produce eggs.

Robert Meese, a UC Davis researcher who tracks the trademark California bird with its blaze of red and white on the wings, hopes biologists are seeing just a temporary setback, fueled by dry weather that depleted a vital supply of insects.

"If this is the beginning of a trend rather than a one-time event we might really be in trouble with the tricolor," said Meese. "The bird is making its last stand, and it's making its last stand primarily in the Central Valley."

Stockton Record: Historic effort for imperiled blackbird: Valley top habitat for once-thriving species

Date: 
2007-09-17

By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer

The tricolored blackbird, once so numerous that its flocks were described as darkening the sky, never quite won protection on the federal endangered species list.

But an agreement announced last week by conservationists, farmers and the government might help reverse the songbird's overall decline.

Habitat conservation, research, monitoring and public education are all part of the 15-year plan for the blackbird, which nests primarily in dairy silage fields. During the harvest, eggs and hatchlings are killed.

Some conservationists say the bird once numbered in the millions, declining to 154,000 by 2000.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported a population of 260,000 in 2005.

"This is a real landmark agreement," said Garrison Frost, a spokesman with Audubon California, one of the participants in the plan.

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