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Rusty Blackbird Blitz 2016

Posted on Feb 10, 2016

Citizen scientists – the 2016 Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz is coming to a state near you! I am the statewide Connecticut coordinator for the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz, running from March through mid-June across the continent and focused in Connecticut from mid-March through April. This effort to save the one of the fastest declining once-common landbirds in North America needs your help. You can see more about the species in the below two-page informational document about the Rusty Blackbird (PDF downloadable here) and on the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group’s website, including dates for the Blitz in your state.


The Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz has four key objectives:

1. Determine important migratory stopover sites (and characteristics of those sites) for Rusty Blackbirds traveling back to their breeding grounds;

2. 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 (2014-2016). We’ll revisit Areas of Interest that supported large flocks in 2014 and 2015 to evaluate whether these locations support Rusties during migration for a third year.

3. 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;

4. Use the Blitz to better engage the birding community and create increased awareness and engagement regarding Rusty Blackbirds and their conservation.


Male Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) visiting a feeder in the winter

More information will be coming in the next few weeks, but for now, please keep eBirding all the Rusty Blackbirds that you can wherever you may live at any time of year. Thank you very much, and good birding!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator