Please Join Me in Spotting Rusties!
I have been fascinated with Rusty Blackbirds for a long time, I think since I started birding over twenty years ago. Last year, though, was the first time that a Rusty came to my feeder in Caissie Cape, NB, and I was able to take photos of this mysterious bird.
The word is out this year that interest in Rusties and counting them wherever you may find them is of paramount importance, given that there is a drastic decline in numbers in this particular species.
Please help us with the Rusty Blackbird Migration Blitz as birders from the US states and the Canadian provinces combine forces to “blitz” out the records for this species. We need your reports and any details you can gather when you submit your sightings on eBird, which is a global effort online to keep track of all birds, not just Rusties. See below for a list of other birds of interest.
Dr. Judith Scarl, Vermont Center for Ecostudies, serves as the International Coordinator of the Spring Migration Blitz.
“Rusty Blackbird migration remains a big mystery,” said Scarl. “Without an understanding of stopover locations, migratory timing, or migratory hotspots, we cannot even begin to design conservation strategies to protect this species during one of the critical periods in its annual cycle.”
The premise of the Blitz is simple: You can help scientists gather much-needed data during the Rusty Blackbird’s migration period by birding during the target weeks for your state and submitting your findings to eBird, even if you don’t see a Rusty. It’s just as important to better understand where Rusty Blackbirds occur as it is to know the locations where they have not been found.
For more information go to: http://rustyblackbird.org/
Our Provincial Participation
The month of April is fast approaching and I can't wait, because that's the target month for New Brunswick, Canada, for our migration blitz. I have volunteered to be the contact for the province so feel free to write and ask questions or help with submitting, etc. I’ll be happy to help.
Collecting data is easy and will greatly help this very worthy cause. Go out and count the birds you see, paying special attention for black/brown birds. If you are not sure how to identify a Rusty Blackbird or its lookalikes, the Cowbird, Grackle or Brewer’s Blackbird, then hop on over to the rustyblackbird.org website and download the helpful guides to help with identification.
When you are ready to record your observations, go to
and on the first page after Submit Observations, when you choose your “Observation Type,” click on “Other” and scroll down for the “Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz” option and read the instructions.
The blitz is a two-fold effort to find out as much as we can about where Rusties ARE seen and where they are NOT seen during the migration. That’s why it’s important to use, if you can, the Rusty Blackbird Blitz 2014 Datasheet when gathering and submitting your observations online. The Datasheet provides space also for your records of the Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Common Grackle and European Starling. All these birds are usually found together, and with the Rusty Blackbird, so we want to know their numbers as well.
Target Dates for New Brunswick, remember, is the whole month of April this year, so join me in helping gather valuable information on this interesting species.
Help us Record the Rusties! This is my contact information:
For my other social media venues, please go to: