It's a classic conservation problem: weak evidence points to delcining rusty blackbird populations, but there are few data to estimate the scope and severity of the problem. To help address this problem, the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group is organizing a "blitz" during the month of March.
Participation is simple:
- Visit places with good "rustie" habitat
- Log your sightings in eBird (detailed instructions). Be sure to select "Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz" in the Observation Type drop-down menu.
If you are organizing a group trip (or would like to), please let me know and I'll help publicize (and maybe participate!).
If you'd like to spread the word, feel free to use this post from the IRBWG:
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 March of 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, will launch a Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz that challenges birders to scour the landscape for Rusty Blackbirds during this species’ northward migration. 38 states, 9 provinces, and 3 territories will participate in this international effort to find Rusty Blackbirds; each region is assigned a set of target dates during which local birders will seek this elusive species. It’s easy to participate- bird as you normally do during your state’s target dates and submit your data to eBird using the “Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz” observation type.
Interested in learning more about Rusty Blackbirds, or want to learn more about your state/province’s Blitz efforts? Use our Migration Blitz website (http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/) to find out the target dates for your region, learn more about Rusty Blackbird identification, or get more details about Blitz data collection and submission. And stay tuned- we’ll be distributing more information as opening day approaches! Also, follow us on Facebook for the most up-to-date information about the Blitz: https://www.facebook.com/rustyblackbirdspringblitz