The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Survey finds significant decline in blackbird species found mostly in Central California

  • Print

FRESNO, Calif. - A blackbird species found mostly in the Central Valley of California has experienced a major decline in its population over the past several years due in part to farming practices, researchers say.

The tricolored blackbird now numbers about 145,000 in the state, down from millions less than a century ago, a survey released Wednesday shows.

Robert Meese, a University of California, Davis, researcher who led the study, said Californians must act to reverse the decline.

"It's our responsibility because it's our bird," he said. "We're going to have to take an all-hands-on-deck approach."

Meese conducted the survey with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Audubon California.

It found the tricolored blackbird population has fallen 64 per cent since 2008. The decline is blamed at least in part on the harvesting of feed crops on dairy farms where the bird has come to nest.

The Central Valley had been a stronghold for the birds, but the survey found that their numbers plummeted in Kern and Merced counties, and only six were found in Fresno County. No birds were found in Kings County, Meese said.

Tricolored blackbirds historically nested in wetlands but with those areas increasingly drying up, bird colonies moved into fields where a wheat-rye hybrid is grown and used to feed dairy cattle, researchers say. However, those fields are often harvested before the young birds leave the nest.

Meese is working with land owners in Yolo and Yuba counties to provide habitat for the birds. He is also working with the University of California, Merced, to provide a nesting reserve at the Central California campus.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What should the city do with the 102-year-old Arlington Street bridge?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google