Tricolored Blackbird Refused Protection Review

Posted by ardeidae on February 03, 2005

The California Fish and Game Commission rejected a recommendation — by its own biologists — to temporarily extend endangered-species status to the Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor). Their evaluation cited a 2003 report that stated the bird is “North America’s most rapidly declining songbird.”

The Department of Fish and Game scientists endorsed an April 2004 petition(PDF) by the Center for Biological Diversity to make the Tricolored Blackbird a candidate for the state’s endangered species list, which would have granted the blackbird protection while the year-long study was conducted.

But farmers and landowners opposed the petition, stating that there was insufficient evidence to show that numbers were reaching a critical point. They believed that voluntary conservation efforts were sufficient. And, unfortunately, the Fish and Game Commission sided with them.

The Tricolored Blackbird is on the Audbon WatchList, where numbers are estimated at 233,000. It is critical that the state moves to protect the Tricolored Blackbird, as California is home to 99% of the population.

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