Photo credit: William J. Hamilton
About 95% of all Tricolored Blackbirds in the world have made California their home. Now, with much of the state’s wetlands gone, California’s Tricolored Blackbirds have established colonies across Central Valley farms – in particular in fields of grain dairy producers use to feed their cows.
The grain’s harvest season coincides with this songbirds’ nesting season, and as grains are mowed, so are thousands of baby blackbirds, greatly contributing to a population decline. Today, only about 145,000 of these birds are left in California, with the population falling 64% since 2008 and 44% since 2011.
Sustainable Conservation is excited to partner with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Audubon California, Western United Dairymen, Dairy Cares and California Farm Bureau Federation to continue efforts to protect the Tricolored population. The alliance has previously worked with dairy owners to delay harvests until after the baby birds are born and ready to take flight.
A new grant from the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) is poised to bolster efforts to protect one of California’s most majestic, and at risk, species. Funding will help address factors that challenge dairy farmers and threaten Tricolored colonies, in addition to finding ways to encourage the birds to make their homes in nearby wetland easements.
Learn about our past efforts to protect Tricolored Blackbirds here. And head on over to the Dairy Cares and NRCS websites for more details about this key partnership and our collective efforts to protect this imperiled bird.