Bringing you stories about California's wildlife, the threats they face, and the value they bring us.
Birds
Tricolored Blackbirds: The Delta's Passenger Pigeon

Tricolored Blackbirds: The Delta's Passenger Pigeon

Birds: The tricolored blackbird used to be California's most common bird. Now, it's unusual to see one in many places where it was once prevalent. And the state of California just decided it doesn't need protection.
Hazing Ravens With Lasers: A Humane Way to Save Baby Tortoises?

Hazing Ravens With Lasers: A Humane Way to Save Baby Tortoises?

Birds: In which a new, revolutionary possibility for humane protection of wildlife is tested, and the writer gets shot with a ray gun.
New Federal Sage Grouse Protection Plan Ignores Threat from Ranching

New Federal Sage Grouse Protection Plan Ignores Threat from Ranching

Commentary: The Department of the Interior announced a new strategy Tuesday to protect habitat of the imperiled sage grouse, but that strategy ignores what many conservationists fear is the main threat to the rare desert bird.
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Repeal of California's Lead Ammo Ban Fails -- For Now

Repeal of California's Lead Ammo Ban Fails -- For Now

Hunting: A bill that would have repealed most of California's landmark ban on lead ammunition won't be passing before the ban begins to take effect.
Feds Won't Be Protecting California Sage Grouse After All

Feds Won't Be Protecting California Sage Grouse After All

Birds: Wildlife advocates say the federal government is kowtowing to cow-country business interests in deciding not to list the Mono Basin sage grouse as Threatened.
Nation's Landmark Bird Protection Law Likely to See Major Changes

Nation's Landmark Bird Protection Law Likely to See Major Changes

Commentary: Changes to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act could give a tool to law enforcement agencies to crack down on the worst environmental violators. But if those changes aren't done right, they could pull the law's teeth -- and consign North American birds to more and more deaths.
Condors Throw Dead Sea Lion Party at Big Sur

Condors Throw Dead Sea Lion Party at Big Sur

Birds: The current alarming die-off of sea lions along the California coast may have a short-term silver lining: offering an occasional meal to California's largest bird.
Pond Turtle, Whole Bunch of Other Species May Win Federal Protection

Pond Turtle, Whole Bunch of Other Species May Win Federal Protection

Agencies: A whole lot of California species are being considered for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Reward Offered for Info in Shooting of Brown Pelican

Reward Offered for Info in Shooting of Brown Pelican

Birds: Someone shot a brown pelican in Southern California recently, and a bird rehab organization is offering $5,000 for information that leads to the shooter's capture.
Veterinary Drugs Hurting NorCal Turkey Vultures

Veterinary Drugs Hurting NorCal Turkey Vultures

Birds: Turkey vultures are turning up comatose in wildlife clinics in northern California, and a widely used veterinary euthanasia drug seems to be the culprit.
Put Away Your Bird Feeders to Save California's Native Pigeons

Put Away Your Bird Feeders to Save California's Native Pigeons

Birds: California's only native pigeon species is dying, and the state's wildlife agency has suggested putting away bird feeders for the winter to help slow the spread of the disease responsible.
Bill Would Gut Major Bird Protection Laws

Bill Would Gut Major Bird Protection Laws

Commentary: A bill that would seriously curtail the reach of two major federal bird protection laws has been introduced in the House of Representatives, and its sponsors clearly intend the measure as a boon to the renewable energy industry.
Mystery Goo Injuring Hundreds of Seabirds in San Francisco Bay

Mystery Goo Injuring Hundreds of Seabirds in San Francisco Bay

Birds: An as-yet unidentified substance is fouling the feathers of hundreds of birds on the east shores of San Francisco Bay, and at least 25 of the affected birds have died, reports a California bird rescue organization.
Feds May Strip Protection from Rare SoCal Bird

Feds May Strip Protection from Rare SoCal Bird

Birds: Though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided just four years ago that the coastal California gnatcatcher still needs the protection of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the agency is announcing Wednesday that it will consider removing the bird from the list of Threatened species.
New Wildlife Laws Taking Effect on New Years' Day

New Wildlife Laws Taking Effect on New Years' Day

Legislation: Come New Year's Day, new wildlife laws going into effect include a number of procedural matters, refinements and clarifications of earlier laws, and a few important new wildlife protection measures. We've described the most important here.
Citing Declines, Groups Want California Spotted Owl Protected

Citing Declines, Groups Want California Spotted Owl Protected

Birds: Logging has seriously hurt the California spotted owl, say two wildlife groups who want the bird protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Wilder Condors At Greater Risk of Lead Poisoning

Wilder Condors At Greater Risk of Lead Poisoning

Birds: Turns out being independent-minded is a double-edged sword for the critically endangered California condor. According to a new study, condors that find their own food run a high risk of lead poisoning.
Mine Near Red Rock Canyon State Park May Get No Environmental Review

Mine Near Red Rock Canyon State Park May Get No Environmental Review

Agencies: Kern County is ready to approve an open-pit mine complex next to Red Rock Canyon State Park without reviewing the mine's environmental impact.
The Salton Sea is Crucial Wildlife Habitat. Here's Why.

The Salton Sea is Crucial Wildlife Habitat. Here's Why.

Birds: The Salton Sea as we know it is doomed unless the State of California takes action, and that's bad news for wildlife. To understand why, we have to talk about the formation of the Grand Canyon.
Imperiled Bird Gets Emergency Protection

Imperiled Bird Gets Emergency Protection

Birds: A songbird that was once considered the most common bird in California was granted emergency protection Wednesday under the California Endangered Species Act.
Citing 'Science,' Republicans Force Delay on Habitat for Rare Bird

Citing 'Science,' Republicans Force Delay on Habitat for Rare Bird

Commentary: Yielding to pressure from conservative interests, the lead federal agency charged with protecting endangered wildlife has reopened public comment on proposed habitat for a western bird recently added to the list of Threatened species.
Group Seeks State Protection For Imperiled Tricolored Blackbird

Group Seeks State Protection For Imperiled Tricolored Blackbird

Birds: Citing alarmingly steep declines in the species' population, a conservation group is asking the State of California to list the tricolored blackbird as Endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.
Imperiled California Bird Gets Federal Protection

Imperiled California Bird Gets Federal Protection

Birds: After waiting more than 15 years for the federal government to decide on whether it merits protection, the western population of the yellow-billed cuckoo will be listed as Threatened Friday under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Arid Land Birds in Steep Decline

Arid Land Birds in Steep Decline

Birds: A new report reveals that birds of America's deserts, chaparral, and sagebrush lands are in more trouble than those in other habitats.
Report: Inaction Way More Expensive Than Fixing Salton Sea

Report: Inaction Way More Expensive Than Fixing Salton Sea

Aquatic: A new report says that despite the daunting price tag fixing the Salton Sea, doing nothing could cost at least $10 billion more, and perhaps $50 billion.
Researchers Untangle Secrets of Bird Migration

Researchers Untangle Secrets of Bird Migration

Birds: A new study of a small migratory bird that passes through California might offer a way to fine-tune our understanding of bird migration. And that's important, because migratory birds are in trouble across the continent.
Logging Green Lit for 52 Square Miles of Rim Fire Burn Area Near Yosemite

Logging Green Lit for 52 Square Miles of Rim Fire Burn Area Near Yosemite

Agencies: The U.S. Forest Service has issued a tentative decision on its controversial plan to log tens of thousands of acres of forest burned in 2013's Rim Fire, and that decision will not please wildlife preservationists.
Spotted Owls Using Burned Sierra Forest Slated for Logging

Spotted Owls Using Burned Sierra Forest Slated for Logging

Birds: More than 250,000 acres of Sierra Nevada forest land burned in the 2013 Rim Fire is turning out to be pretty good habitat for California spotted owls, and a group of wildlife protection organizations is asking the U.S. Forest Service to rethink plans to log the burned areas.
Feds Propose Habitat for Imperiled Bird

Feds Propose Habitat for Imperiled Bird

Birds: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to declare more than 850 square miles of stream banks and floodplains in the western U.S. as critical habitat for an increasingly rare bird, the agency announced Thursday.
California Warns of Bird Botulism Outbreaks

California Warns of Bird Botulism Outbreaks

Birds: As California's lakes and ponds grow ever smaller in this third year of drought, the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife is warning that wild birds are likely to fall victim to a fatal disease linked to stagnant water, and they're asking for your help tracking down victims.
Dead Birds Prompt Renewed Pesticide Spraying in Bay Area

Dead Birds Prompt Renewed Pesticide Spraying in Bay Area

Invertebrates: A Bay Area county not usually known as a hotspot for West Nile virus has undertaken a second round of pesticide spraying this year after finding mosquitoes infected with the virus, according to public health officials.
Group Blasts Plans to Keep Rare Bird Off Endangered List

Group Blasts Plans to Keep Rare Bird Off Endangered List

Birds: The federal government's management plans to protect the greater sage grouse don't go nearly far enough to regulate the single greatest threat to the increasingly rare bird, according to a report released this week by the Western Watersheds Project.
Groups Sue Over Logging In Sierra Nevada Fire Areas

Groups Sue Over Logging In Sierra Nevada Fire Areas

Birds: Plans to log over 5,000 acres of burned trees in the Tahoe and Sierra national forests poses a serious threat to wildlife that depends on burned over forests. That's according to two environmental groups that sued the U.S. Forest Service Thursday to stop the cut.
Biologist: Petition to Remove Protection From Bird Based On Questionable Science

Biologist: Petition to Remove Protection From Bird Based On Questionable Science

Birds: A petition on behalf of two real estate developers' trade groups to remove the coastal California gnatcatcher from protection under the Endangered Species Act is based on questionable science, according to an expert on bird genetics at Occidental College.
Pioneering California Bird Researcher Dies

Pioneering California Bird Researcher Dies

Birds: Peter Marler, a UC Davis-based ornithologist who discovered that regional populations of songbirds can sing in distinct dialects, has died at age 86 of pneumonia.
Crash In Tricolored Blackbird Population Has Biologists Worried

Crash In Tricolored Blackbird Population Has Biologists Worried

Birds: A bird sometimes called "California's passenger pigeon" is in worse trouble than some wildlife advocates suspected. According to a new survey, the population of tricolored blackbirds has dropped by 44 percent since 2011.
Condor Visits San Mateo County for First Time in 110 Years

Condor Visits San Mateo County for First Time in 110 Years

Birds: The first confirmed California condor visit to San Mateo County in 110 years took place in late May, when a condor visited near the coastal town of Pescadero 40 miles south of San Francisco.
5 Species You Might Have Mistakenly Thought Were California Natives

5 Species You Might Have Mistakenly Thought Were California Natives

Invasive Species: Did you know that all of these animals are exotics that were introduced to California? Some of the entries on this list may surprise you.
Rat Poison Company to Discontinue Household Products

Rat Poison Company to Discontinue Household Products

Agencies: A company that sells rodent poisons that have been implicated in the deaths of a wide range of wildlife is agreeing to remove some of those products from the over-the-counter market, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday.
Irrigators Sue to Block Water For Salmon, Wildlife Refuges

Irrigators Sue to Block Water For Salmon, Wildlife Refuges

Commentary: A agency that represents 22 irrigation districts and other water providers in the Central Valley is asking a judge to block the U.S. government from releasing water to benefit other water users, including wildlife refuges.
Drought Shrinking Mono Lake: Water Exports To L.A. Near-Certain To Be Cut

Drought Shrinking Mono Lake: Water Exports To L.A. Near-Certain To Be Cut

Aquatic: Mono Lake is being seriously affected by the ongoing drought, with water levels dropped so far that any further decline will force LADWP to drastically reduce water exports from the Mono Basin.
Endangered Species Day: 4 Inconspicuous California Species Worth Noting

Endangered Species Day: 4 Inconspicuous California Species Worth Noting

Commentary: While other websites celebrating Endangered Species Day are concentrating on the big and dramatic, we thought we'd celebrate by mentioning a few species that aren't big and flashy and glamorous. They're beautiful, but they don't flaunt it.
Bridge Construction May Still Be Taking Toll on Swallows

Bridge Construction May Still Be Taking Toll on Swallows

Birds: In January, Caltrans agreed to use safer methods to exclude nesting swallows from a highway construction project in Sonoma County, but the alternative measures used may still be affecting wildlife populations in the long term.
Oakland Heron Tragedy Underscores Need to Pay Attention To What You're Doing

Oakland Heron Tragedy Underscores Need to Pay Attention To What You're Doing

Commentary: A grisly blunder Saturday by a tree-trimming crew in Oakland resulted in the deaths of black-crowned night heron chicks, and though the culprits are saying they didn't mean to cause any harm, I'm not buying it.
California's Next Generation of Birds Needs Protection -- in Canada

California's Next Generation of Birds Needs Protection -- in Canada

Birds: Nearly half of California's birds migrate north each spring to forests that are under threat from climate change and development. A new report on what has been called "North America's bird nursery" says at least half of Canada's boreal...
Condor Territory Could Expand to California's North Coast

Condor Territory Could Expand to California's North Coast

Birds: a Native tribe that lives along the Klamath River in Northern California is collaborating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore California condors to the North Coast.
Genetic Discovery in Golden Eagle May Have Implications For Wind Turbines

Genetic Discovery in Golden Eagle May Have Implications For Wind Turbines

Birds: For the first time ever scientists have charted the genome of the golden eagle, and what they've found may shoot down one proposed way of making wind turbines safer for the huge birds of prey.
Drought to Hit Central Valley Wetlands Hard

Drought to Hit Central Valley Wetlands Hard

Birds: The California agency that manages the state's massive State Water Project has released a drought management plan for the summer, and it includes bad -- but not particularly surprising -- news for the Central Valley's wetlands.
Feds Want More Public Comment On Protecting Rare Bird

Feds Want More Public Comment On Protecting Rare Bird

Birds: A striking bird that's been waiting more than 15 years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide whether to list it under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) just got handed another minor delay. USFWS has announced that it's reopening public comment on its October, 2013 proposal to list western populations of the yellow-billed cuckoo as Threatened under ESA.
6 Cool Animals That Live Only in California

6 Cool Animals That Live Only in California

Guides: Our state has a lot of what ecologists call "endemic species," meaning species found in California and nowhere else. Here are some of the coolest ones.