California dairy families strive to be good environmental stewards for the plants, animals, and micro-organisms co-habitating on their farms. For more than a decade, they have worked with conservationists to protect the tricolored blackbird.
“It’s a small contribution, but we’re going out of our way to do it. We as dairymen do that. We care about the environment and the animals and species that are around us.”
-FRANK HOMEN, MERCED, CA
As the state’s natural wetlands disappear, tricolored blackbirds are losing suitable nesting places. The tricolored blackbirds have been turning to fields of dairy feed crops to make their nests, beginning each February. The nesting birds lead dairy farmers to delay harvesting their winter crops. Working with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Audubon California, Western United Dairymen, Dairy Cares, California Farm Bureau, and Sustainable Conservation, dairy farmers have helped save more than 200,000 birds in the past four years. Last year alone, dairy farmers helped save more than 55,000 tricolored blackbirds (more than one third of the entire population).
For more information, read the January 2017 newsletter, Dairy families step up preservation efforts as tricolored blackbird nesting season nears or read the August 2017 press release from NRCS.
"I think it’s important that the tricolors survive, and I’d like to be part of that in some small way."