A Bird Comes out of Hiding to Mark the Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act

A new mural in DC highlights the Black Rail and the need to preserve legislative protections.
Two-story tall painting of a Black Rail bird on the side of a red brick building on a city street.
Photo: Mariah Miranda

There’s a new bird in Washington, D.C. --  a 12-foot tall, 16-foot wide mural of an Eastern Black Rail in LeDroit Park, painted by local artist Yulia Avgustinovich. The secretive Mid-Atlantic marsh bird was celebrated as part of this year’s 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The mural was commissioned as part of the Audubon Mural Project, in partnership with the Endangered Species Coalition and Friends of the Park at LeDroit. Community members turned out September 13 to see the unveiling, including brief remarks by Avgustinovich, Audubon Mural Project coordinator Jennifer Bogo, and Jesse Walls, Audubon’s senior director for government affairs.

The ESA is one of our nation’s most important environmental accomplishments. It has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the species under its care, including the Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Brown Pelican, and Kirtland’s Warbler.  

Populations of the Eastern Black Rail have declined more than 90 percent since the early 1990s, as sea-level rise associated with climate change continues to pose an existential threat.

Audubon’s science and restoration efforts have helped protect the Black Rail and other bird species around the country. But the Endangered Species Act -- and Audubon’s broader efforts to fight the climate change -- are also critical to ensuring the survival of millions of birds around the world.

Audubon is pressing the federal government to move forward with rules to restore ESA protections rolled back by President Trump, working to head off Congressional rollbacks to the law and its protections, monitoring attacks on the Act, and fighting to fund the ESA so it can work the way it was intended.

Proactive conservation can keep birds off the endangered list. But we also need legislation like the Recovering America's Wildlife Act and the Migratory Birds of the Americas bill. We need to protect and improve the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. And we need to fund these bills properly.  

Birds like the Eastern Black Rail need a strong ESA to continue to protect wildlife for future generations. You can help -- please urge Congress to protect this bedrock law. https://bit.ly/3R4YCgB