Private citizens in California have discovered and used the Tricolored Blackbird Portal, developed and maintained by the Information Center for the Environment, to:
- Report observations of color-banded birds to document surprising movements, and
- Access information that helped them to take actions that may benefit the species.
The Portal both provides information and enables the input of data, thus helping to enlist a virtually unlimited number of "citizen scientists" who may, sometimes unknowingly, make observations that are quite significant.
In December, 2008 the Portal was used by a city councilwoman from Leona Valley, CA (NW LA County) to record an observation of a bird that was color-banded by ICE staff in 2007. This is significant both because it illustrates the use of the Portal by a private citizen but also because this is the first time a bird banded in the Central Valley has been seen in southern California. As more than 77,000 tricolors have been banded over 7+ decades, this is quite surprising. Once informed of the significance of her observation, the city councilwoman put a link to the Portal on the Leona Valley Town Council website (http://leonavalleytowncouncil.org/default.aspx).
In March, 2009 the Portal was used by citizens in the community of Holiday Valley, California to access information that they provided to the LA County Department of Public Works to help to inform the Department of the impacts of a recent drought ordinance on nesting by tricolored blackbirds at Holiday Lake. This information was used by the Department to take action that resulted in the resumption of water deliveries to Holiday Lake, thus helping to conserve the breeding habitat used by the largest breeding colony of tricolors in Los Angeles County last year.