Doing Right for the Blackbird


Audubon California, the California Department of Fish and Game, and three farmers have all gotten together to give 50,000 tricolored blackbirds a break in Riverside County and Central California, the L.A. Times reports. The farmers were paid to delay harvesting their fields through the birds’ nesting period.

 “When you crunch the numbers, the amount we paid worked out to roughly $1 per bird,” said Audubon California spokesman Garrison Frost.

Tricolored blackbirds once numbered in the millions. Today, the population, which has one of the smallest ranges of any bird in North America, has declined to about 400,000.

“Because tricolored blackbirds nest in just a few large colonies, a farmer harvesting a field unknowingly might wipe out a huge portion of the entire species’ young in just a few minutes.”

And get a lot of feathers stuck in his combine. It’s a happy day when government, naturalists, and the private sector all come out as good guys. Way to go, team.

– J.M.