Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz 2014

By Landon Neumann

Rusty Blackbird Photo by Ryan Sanderson
Many of you probably have heard about the Rusty Blackbird. It’s often a bird that birders will search for in blackbird flocks during the spring and fall. What you may not know is that this bird is under a serious decline. According to Ebird in the last fifty years this bird has declined by 85-95%! What can be done to stop this decline? Well, one way for birders is for them to go out this spring, when these birds are migrating through, to specifically look for and report Rusty Blackbirds through the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz that Ebird and the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group are sponsoring. The goal through the blitz is to understand better what the actual population number looks like, so that researchers will be able to stop the decline of this species.

So how can you help with the blitz? Well, it’s pretty easy.  All you have to do is go birding and look for Rusty Blackbirds this March through mid-April. Then, when you get home, go on to submit your birding list. When you submit your list be sure to list the Rusty Blackbird Blitz under the observation type tab.  Pretty simple isn’t it? Just for a tip Rusty Blackbirds tend to like water so look for them around any body of water just as a lake, river, or marsh. There are still some places that you can see large flocks of Rusty Blackbirds in Indiana. Below is a list of those locations.  However, it’s just as helpful for the Blitz if you look for them at your patch, so don’t forget that too!

Kankakee FWA
Muscatatuck NWR
Willow Slough FWA
Gibson Lake / Cane Ridge
Eagle Slough, Vanderburgh Co.
Pine Creek GHA
Indiana Dunes Area (West Beach, Green Tower, Heron Rookery)
Kingsbury FWA
Stillwater Marsh
Big Oaks NWR
Pigeon River FWA

Good luck finding Rusty Blackbirds this spring! 

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