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Monthly General Meeting – Tricolored Blackbirds
October 17, 2018 @ 6:30 PM - 9:00 PMFree
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. It was downhill from there.
Glossy black with epaulets of red and white, the Tricolored Blackbird once abounded.
In the 19th century, one author stated they were “the most abundant species in San Diego and Los Angeles counties.” Estimates set some colonies at more than a million birds. Since then, though, the population has declined continuously and precipitously. In the last decade alone, the Tricolored Blackbird population has decreased by more than
two thirds, to an all-time low of 145,000. What the heck is going on with these birds?
The short answer is habitat loss, climate change, an abundance of predators, and a lack of protection. But after a decade of effort by conservation groups, in April 2018, the California Fish and Game Commission officially listed the Tricolored Blackbird as “threatened” under the California Endangered Species Act. Meanwhile, California Audubon has collaborated with an alliance of farmers, researchers, governmental agencies, and conservation organizations to implement an action plan to reach a goal of 750,000 birds.
October’s speaker, Dr. Rosamonde Cook, has been at the center of this story since 2004. From Central to Southern California, she has conducted population research and worked closely with efforts to stage the comeback of this once-common species. It’s a complex tale and no one is better able to shed light on the Tricolored Blackbird’s perilous journey.
NPR featured these special birds and their advocates in 2016
Social: 6:30 p.m. Program: 7:00