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USFWS updates blackbird depredation order; removes Yellow-billed Magpie

Fern Davies

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On 5 November 2014, the USFWS updated the regulation that allows the take of  blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, crows, and magpies (50 CFR 21.43)  allows take when individuals of an  included species are found ‘‘committing or about to commit depredations upon  ornamental or shade trees, agricultural  crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when  concentrated in such numbers and manner that they are a health hazard or other nuisance.’’


The update removes the Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli), a species endemic to California, because the species has suffered 

substantial population declines. It is considered by the USFWS to be species of conservation concern. From this time on, a depredation permit will be necessary to control the species. 
In addition, the regulation has been changed to allow the public to take (without a permit)blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, crows, and magpies in order to protect 
(1) a species recognized by the Federal Government as an endangered, threatened, or candidate species, in counties in which 
the species occurs, as shown in the Service’s Environmental Conservation Online System (http://ecos.fws.gov);
(2) species recognized by the Federal Government as endangered or threatened, in the species’ designated critical habitat; and
(3) species recognized by a State or Tribe as endangered, threatened, candidate, or of special concern on State or tribal lands. 
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