How Hundreds of Volunteers Protected California’s Tricolored Blackbirds

Three years ago, when Debi Shearwater spied a hayfield peppered with hundreds of nesting Tricolored Blackbirds from her car, she immediately panicked. She was on one of her usual spring drives, wending her way through the sprawling ranches along California’s central coast, on the lookout for the birds’ dense colonies—and this one was in a particularly precarious position. The chicks weren’t quite old enough to leave their nests, and the surrounding farms had all harvested their crops. Shearwater felt sure this field would be next.