Habitat loss is harming genetic diversity of Ridgway's Rails in San Francisco Bay

Ridgway's Rail. Photo: Steve Valasek

It's no secret that habitat loss has put a number of sensitive birds at risk in San Francisco Bay. Center stage is the endangered Ridgway's Rail (formerly known as the California Clapper Rail). A new study from the USGS, co-authored by Audubon California's John Takekawa, notes that habitat loss has so isolated different populations of rails that it is impacting the species' genetic diversity. This puts this imperiled species at even great risk. The good news is that, thanks to the voters of the Bay Area, a serious effort to restore wetland habitat in San Francisco Bay will be launched in the coming years.

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