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Red Squirrels Hinder Rusty Blackbird Recovery


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Shannon Luepold had to cross rickety old bridges, endure flat tires and fight off black flies and other biting insects in order to conduct her research on rusty blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus) — a North American songbird that is still recovering from steep population declines in the 1960s and ‘70s. She was even stranded in a remote boreal forest one night after her 4×4 got stuck in the mud. “This made it more exciting along the way,” she said. Luepold is lead author of a recent study published in The Condor: Ornithological Advances that examines the breeding ecology and nest predation of rusty blackbirds in Maine and New Hampshire. As part of the study, the researchers, which include the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Audubon Society of New Hampshire and Stacy McNulty, Luepold’s graduate advisor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, installed motion-triggered cameras at 29 rusty blackbird nests that they found tucked away in the remote forests of northern Maine and New Hampshire. After reviewing the photographs, the team detected a white-tailed deer, a hawk and a blue jay preying on nests, but they mostly detected the rusty blackbirds most prominent [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/red-squirrels-hinder-rusty-blackbird-recovery/

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