Photo by Martin Myers
In a joint effort of Audubon California and Cornell Lab of Ornithology (eBird), a winter Tricolored Blackbird survey was piloted in an effort to better understand winter distribution of the species. Most Tricolored Blackbird survey data is collected in the spring when the birds gather in colonies for breeding throughout the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley, Sierra Foothills, Central Coast, and Southern California. This winter pilot survey filled in important gaps about Tricolored Blackbird distribution outside of the breeding season. With Tricolored Blackbirds recently listed under the state Endangered Species Act, this data about distribution and potential threats is more critical than ever.
During the 2017 Tricolored Blackbird winter survey, which took place November 17th – 20th, a total of 4,089 ebird checklists were submitted, 60% more checklists than for the same period in 2016. Of those submitted checklists in winter 2017, 2.6% had observations of TRBL. In total 8,507 TRBL were counted during the survey period.