Photo by Matthew Elyash
CDFW AV Unit.
Near Conway Ranch CA.

CDFW Seeks Public Comment Related to Tricolored Blackbird

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking public comment on a proposal to list the Tricolored Blackbird as a threatened or endangered species.

The Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) is native to California, occurring mainly in the lowlands of California west of the Sierra Nevada. Small populations can also be found to the south into Baja California and to the north in southernmost Oregon and the Modoc Plateau of northeastern California. Most Tricolored Blackbirds breed in California’s Central Valley, and nest in a variety of habitats including wetlands, blackberries and nettles. In recent years, some of the largest colonies have occurred in grain fields in the San Joaquin Valley, often associated with dairies or feedlots.

Loss of habitat, destruction of breeding colonies and predation have been identified as factors negatively impacting the Tricolored Blackbird; however, climate change, contaminants, shooting mortality, extreme weather events and other factors may also negatively affect its populations.

In August 2015, the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission to formally list the Tricolored Blackbird as a threatened or endangered species. The Commission published findings of its decision to advance the species to candidacy on Dec. 29, 2015, triggering a 12-month period during which CDFW will conduct a status review to inform the Commission’s decision on whether to list the species.

As part of the status review process, CDFW is soliciting public comment regarding the species’ ecology, biology, life history, distribution, abundance, threats and habitat that may be essential for the species, as well as recommendations for management of the species. Comments, data and other information can be submitted by email to wildlifemgt@wildlife.ca.gov. If submitting comments by email, please include “Tricolored Blackbird” in the subject heading.

Comments may also be submitted by regular mail to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Nongame Wildlife Program
Attn: Neil Clipperton
1812 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

All comments received by June 1, 2016 will be evaluated prior to submission of the CDFW report to the Commission. Receipt of the report will be placed on the agenda for the next available meeting of the Commission after delivery and the report will be made available to the public at that time. Following the receipt of the CDFW report, the Commission will allow a 30-day public comment period prior to taking any action on the petition.

CDFW’s petition evaluation report for Tricolored Blackbird can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/publications/.

Media Contacts:

Neil Clipperton,  CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-9753
Kyle Orr,  CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958