We are thrilled to report that 100% of the thirteen Tricolored Blackbird colonies located on agricultural fields across the San Joaquin Valley in California were protected this year!
The trill and white flash of the Tricolored Blackbird is an indelible part of landscapes across California, and especially in the Central Valley. Working closely with dairy producers, Audubon California has protected more than 170,000 birds in 2021.
Historically, Tricolored Blackbird colonies have hosted hundreds of thousands of birds. However, due to continued habitat loss, colonies have declined over the past decades. Audubon's 2019 report, Survival by Degrees found that Tricolored Blackbirds could lose up to a third of their current range even under the least severe climate change scenario. In years of drought, the Tricolored Blackbird's native habitat becomes even more limited, making the success of our program essential to the species' survival. This year, the largest colony detected was estimated to host around 30,000 birds.
Each spring and summer, Audubon California works with landowners and community partners to protect this species across the state. The initiative is a collaboration between farmers, agricultural associations, government agencies, researchers, and conservation organizations that recognize the importance of a multi-faceted and cooperative approach to promote the long-term survival of the Tricolored Blackbird. This program demonstrates the effectiveness of partnerships between conservation groups and agricultural interests to support farmers and protect birds.
We are grateful to our agricultural partners Western United Dairies, Farm Bureau, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and our Audubon community. Together, we've been able to protect 100% of the nesting Tricolored Blackbird colonies.
Thank you for helping us in winning the fight to save the iconic bird!