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Help Decipher the Mysteries of Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration!

Chris Merkord

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Although scientists have made huge strides in understanding Rusty Blackbirds on their breeding and wintering grounds – partly thanks to the original Rusty Blackbird Winter Blitz  – we know surprisingly little about the migratory requirements and habits of this species. Are there hot spots where many individuals congregate during migration?  Are similar migratory stopover areas used by Rusties each year?  Are stopover areas protected, or might availability of these areas be limiting Rusty Blackbird survival?
Join us for the second year of this effort to address the following objectives:

  • Determine important migratory stopover sites (and characteristics of those sites) for Rusty Blackbirds traveling back to their breeding grounds;
  • Assess the consistency of numbers at different stopover locations and the consistency of timing of stopover occurrence; this will be achieved by repeating the Blitz for three consecutive years. In 2015, we’ll be revisiting Areas of Interest that supported large flocks in 2014 to evaluate whether these locations support Rusties during migration for a second year;
  • Leverage the Blitz process and communications to strengthen relationships with state, federal and private conservation organizations and personnel. This will include collecting data to inform State Wildlife Action Plans, Joint Venture implementation strategies, and other conservation efforts with the ultimate goal of promoting Rusty Blackbird conservation;
  • Use the Blitz to better engage the birding community and create increased awareness and engagement regarding Rusty Blackbirds and their conservation.

Download this handout to learn more: Rusty Blackbird Fact Sheet 03-15
Looking to support these objectives?  Contact your state/provincial coordinator or the overall Migration Blitz Coordinator, Judith Scarl, to get involved!

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