The tricolored blackbird is currently being evaluated for a place on the federal endangered species list. Its numbers have taken a nosedive and now very few exist as compared to those extant in the past.
It is called the tricolored blackbird and its total population has gone down in recent times. The Central Valley has seen the species dwindle and now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to put it on the endangered list.
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In fact, it may get its name transferred to the federal endangered species list. This would give the United States government a chance to stop farmers and landlords from killing off the bird by destroying its habitat. Especially by ruining its nests, many landowners are causing the bird population to take a downward spiral.
Furthermore, the wiping out of wetlands is the main reason behind the decline in the numbers of this bird. These avian populations are currently dependent upon the dairy farmers of Central Valley.
Whole groups of the birds are to be found in the fields and meadows where the dairy farmers grow the crops from which fodder is made for their cows. When the fall season comes along, the farmers begin the harvest-work and the result is that many baby birds are decimated underneath the blades of the plough.
Even though it is against the law to destroy the nests of these rare birds in California, the careless destruction has gone on unabated, nd no one seems to care.
“Tricolored blackbirds once formed massive nesting colonies of millions of birds in California’s Central Valley but are now suffering declines comparable to the extinction trajectory of the passenger pigeon,” said Jeff Miller of Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Endangered Species Act protection is needed to safeguard their vulnerable breeding colonies, especially since the state of California has inexplicably delayed protection for tricoloreds despite warnings by biologists that we could lose this species entirely.”
In the last half decade or so, the tricolored blackbird populations have been slashed by 44%. In the years between WWI and WWII, approximately 3 million of the diminutive birds filled the Californian skies. But now there are only 145,135 of the birds left.
Getting the environmental agencies to do their job has been a tall order. But efforts are underway and tricolored blackbirds may show a resurgence in numbers once the safety net of environmental protection is put in place.
However, the first step in all this would be to place them on the endangered species list. Only then can these birds be rehabilitated from near extinction. A long process of paperwork and legislation needs to be traversed before the act of conservation is final.
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Until then the farmers are continuing to destroy these birds in the name of necessity. Among some other species that are to be put on the endangered list include: the California spotted owl, the Panamint alligator lizard, the southern rubber boa and several species of salamanders.