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One Quarter of Birds in the U.S. Near Extinction, Many From California

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More than 25 percent of birds in the United States are in danger of extinction, many of those birds call California home. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

One Quarter of Birds in the U.S. Near Extinction, Many From California

(Photo: A Tricolored Blackbird. John White .)

More than 25 percent of birds in the United States are in danger of extinction, many of those birds call California home. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

Here's a sound you may not hear in the future around San Diego or anywhere in the country.

It's the Tricolored Blackbird, one of several bird species in California on a national Watch List for extinction. The most imperiled birds list comes from the Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy .

The society's Gary Butcher co-authored the watch list. He says the birds on the red list -- those at greatest risk for oblivion -- face many threats.

Butcher : Habitat loss, global warming, invasive non-native plant and animal species and many others in addition. All of their names are familiar like the Piping Plover or less-known like the Lesser Prairie-Chicken, these red list birds will continue to decline and eventually fade into extinction if we don't act to make the watch list an action agenda.

Nearly 90 bird species are on the most critical list with another 119 species listed as seriously declining.

Gary Langham is the director of bird conservation for the California Audubon Society. He calls the list a wake up call.

Langham : We need to share our needs as humans to develop land and use the natural resources with the birds and other wildlife that depend on them. And ultimately by protecting those things that the birds depend on we'll be helping ourselves because those same habitats help us -- help prevent floods, give us cleaner air and provide lots of natural resources for us as well.

He says not finding the right balance means the bird species on the list, including the Tricolored Blackbird in California, will continue to plummet toward extinction.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.