decline of the yellow-billed cuckoo is a signal that western
rivers and streamside forests can not sustain the current
impact of dams, water diversions, agribusiness, livestock
grazing, sprawl, and pollution.
must be done.
save the yellow-billed cuckoo, the Center for Biological Diversity
is employing scientific research, environmental litigation,
coalition building and public education to protect and restore
western rivers. Healthy rivers are the key to healthy songbird
and human populations.
yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) is often
called the raincrow because its kakakakakakakaka ka ka ka
ka ka ka kow kow kow kow kow kow kow song
heralds the coming of rain. But the yellow-billed cuckoo is
heard less and less often in eastern North America and has
been entirely eradicated from most areas west of the Continental
Divide. If its habitat is not soon protected, the cuckoo may
soon disappear forever from western North America.
cause of the cuckoo's demise is the same threat facing most
endangered species- habitat loss. In the West, cuckoos are
closely associated with streamside forests. Unfortunately,
logging, cattle grazing, dams, water diversions, water pumping
and pollution have decimated the West's rivers and riparian
forests, causing over a hundred species of birds, fish, amphibians,
and mammals to be listed as endangered
species. Between 60 and 95% of the riparian forests have been
destroyed in most western states. The climate east of the
Continental is generally more humid, allowing cuckoos to tolerate
greater levels of habitat loss, but the species is declining
there as well.
best available scientific information indicates that
cuckoo populations are declining at an alarming and
increasing rate throughout much of North America ....
Endangered Species Act listing of the cuckoo, as a species,
subspecies, or distinct population segment is necessary
to arrest the current trajectory toward extirpation
in large portions of the species' range."
from twenty-two scientists to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
save the cuckoo and its habitat, the Center for Biological
Diversity's scientists prepared a comprehensive status review
of the species' habitat needs, population trends, taxonomy,
and management status in 1997. In 1998, the Center authored
signed by twenty two environmental groups to protect the cuckoo
under the federal Endangered Species Act. We requested that
the western population be listed as an endangered species
and that streams and rivers from Washington State to Texas
be designated as"critical habitat" for it.
petition resulted in a July
25, 2001 finding by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service that the western yellow-billed cuckoo warrants protection
under the Endangered Species Act as a "threatened" species.
Rather than issue a proposed listing rule, however, the agency
exploited a loophole in the Endangered Species Act that allows
an indefinite delay of federal protection. Meanwhile, western
rivers continue to be dammed, diverted, polluted, paved, and
grazed. Neither they nor the cuckoo can sustain the current
rate of exploitation much longer.
Center for Biological Diversity is committed to protecting
the western yellow-billed cuckoo and its habitat throughout
the western North America. Its number have plunged so rapidly
that it could well go extinct in the next several decades
if riparian forests are not soon restored. We will continue
to employ scientific research, environmental litigation, and
public education to save the raincrow for future generations