[CT Birds] Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz Kickoff

James Restivo james.restivo at gmail.com
Sat Mar 1 18:44:23 EST 2014


As many of you have likely seen, The Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz
kicked off today across 23 states. Connecticut's Blitz period begins on
March 15th, and will extend to the end of April. During this period, when
you go out to specifically find Rusties, you can submit your sightings to
eBird using the "Other - Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz" under
"Observation Type."

The International Rusty Blackbird Working Group site is up and running and
has tons of excellent information on how to identify Rusties, where to find
them, and how to submit your data. You can find more info here:


And like us on Facebook!:


Some background on the project:

The Rusty Blackbird is a widespread North American species that has shown
chronic long-term and acute short-term population declines, based both on
breeding season and wintering ground surveys. Of all aspects of the Rusty
Blackbird life cycle, we know the least about migration. Most birds leave
the wintering areas in late March or early April and arrive on the breeding
grounds a mere 2-4 weeks later.

Scientists have been able to identify at least two distinct migratory
pathways used by Rusty Blackbird - an eastern Atlantic flyway, a
Mississippi flyway, and possibly a Central flyway.

Despite these important insights, we still have a long way to go towards
understanding Rusty Blackbird migration. What specific routes do they
travel, and do these pathways differ from year to year? What habitats do
they use along their journey, and where are their major stopover locations?

The point of the Blitz is to help answer these questions and provide more
insight as to how to preserve the species.

If you have any questions on Rusties, how to identify them, or how to
submit data, please feel free to contact me or Greg Hanisek (
ctgregh at yahoo.com), your Connecticut Blitz co-coordinators.

Good birding!

James Restivo
Medford, MA

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