Agency: Southwestern songbird to retain protected status
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal agency says a migratory songbird that breeds in vegetation along rivers and streams in Arizona and New Mexico will remain an endangered species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement Thursday says the Southwestern willow flycatcher will keep the protected status following a review of a 2015 petition in which industry groups argued the bird isn’t a valid subspecies under the Endangered Species Act.
The announcement says an “exhaustive review” of scientific information reached the conclusion that the flycatcher is a protectable subspecies.
It also says some flycatcher populations “have made considerable progress toward recovery” but that threats still exist and warrant protection.
A 2012 assessment estimated a population of only 1,629 breeding territories. Those are places where a male sings to attract a mate.