by Chris Clarke
December 30, 2014 2:15 PM
Though the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided just four years ago that the coastal California gnatcatcher still needs the protection of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the agency is announcing Wednesday that it will consider removing the bird from the list of Threatened species.
The move comes in response to a petition by pro-development groups asking USFWS to consider delisting the coastal gnatcatcher, Polioptila californica californica, which the petitioners claim is not a valid subspecies of the California gnatcatcher Polioptila californica.
We examined that claim, based on a 2013 paper in the journal The Auk, in July, along withsouthern California ornithologist John McCormack's rather devastating rebuttal of the paper on which the petition to delist the gnatcatcher is based.