The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to make amendments in the list of endangered species such as including the tricolored blackbird whose population has plummeted in the Central Valley, in the nine new species to be added to the said list.

Through this verdict of the wildlife officials, the aim to list the tricolored blackbirds as endangered will be subjected to a long process of review, including a public comment phase, which shall run for 90 days. The said process will begin on Friday, Sept. 18 and will end on Nov 17. After the said period, the officials of the agency will review the data before finally deciding whether or not an emergency listing is necessary, said Sarah Swenty, a spokesperson from the U.S Fish and Wildlife.

Once the due processes have been met and the species becomes endangered at the federal level, the U.S. government will then have the authority to prohibit property owners from damaging nests, which is one of the identified rationales for the current drop in the bird population.

The tricolored blackbird has already been included in the California Endangered Species Act under an emergency footing recently. The said designation lasted until June 2015 and was not refurbished by the California Fish and Game Commission. Through the said listing, farmers destroying the nests of the birds were considered illegal.

One of the most significant factors being considered in the decline of the tricolored blackbird population is the recession of wetlands in the Central Valley in the past decades, the wildlife authorities said.

At present, the birds are counting on the dairy farmers to thrive, as most of the species are seen staying around the fields where the cows are being fed. During the fall season, the dairy farmers harvest the feed and rake under lots of nests in the process.

In 2014, an inventory headed by the UC Davis, Audubon California, alongside state and national wildlife offices showed that the population of the tricolored blackbird had plummeted by about 40 percent since 2011. Specifically, the said report was able to note approximately 145,135 species - a number that is far lower than the birds' population in the 1930s, which is estimated at three million in California alone.

Photo: Don Henise | Flickr

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