[CT Birds] Blitzing for Blackbirds: Year 2 of the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz

Scott Kruitbosch skruitbosch at rtpi.org
Mon Feb 23 23:29:37 EST 2015

Have you heard a squeaky-hinge song lately, or seen a flash of 
rust-tipped feathers under a bright yellow eye? Although occasionally 
overlooked as “just another blackbird,” Rusty Blackbirds face an 
unfortunate and remarkable notoriety: this species has endured a decline 
more severe than that of any other once-common landbird. In 2014, the 
International Rusty Blackbird Working Group, in partnership with the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, 
eBird, and many other state, federal, and local partners, launched a 
three-year Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz that challenged 
birders to scour the landscape for Rusty Blackbirds during this species’ 
northward migration.  Between 1 March and 15 June, 4750 birders 
submitted 13,400 checklists containing Rusty Blackbird observations to 
eBird, a hugely successful first season that has allowed us to start 
looking at potential Rusty Blackbird migratory hotspots, habitat use, 
and potential migratory pathways.

We hope you’ll consider participating in Year 2 of the Blitz this 
spring!  It’s easy - bird as you normally do during the Blitz window (1 
March through 15 June) and submit your data to eBird using the “Rusty 
Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz” observation type.  To help you figure 
out when Rusties might be passing through your area, each region is 
assigned a set of target dates found here: 

In Connecticut we are focused on the mid-March through April period, but 
any and all observations from 1 March through 15 June are wanted. We’re 
collecting Blitz data from anywhere within our target states and 
provinces, but this year, we’d also like birders to revisit Areas of 
Interest identified from 2014 data to assess the consistency of Rusty 
Blackbird habitat use and migratory timing. Check out our map of Areas 
of Interest for 2015 at 

To learn more about Rusty Blackbirds and the Blitz effort, please visit 
our Migration Blitz website 
(http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/), or check out our 
Blitz Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/rustyblackbirdspringblitz).

We hope you’ll join us to Blitz for Blackbirds this spring!

Thank you, and more to come soon!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator
Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History
311 Curtis Street
Jamestown, NY 14701
716-665-2473 x224
skruitbosch at rtpi.org
rtpi.org <http://www.rtpi.org>
Celebrating Wild America 2015

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