Saturday, October 25, 2008

Report Rusty Blackbird Sightings

EBird wants to know if you see rusty blackbirds during their fall migration.

To address this information gap, eBird and the Rusty Blackbird Working Group are calling on birders for help. This fall, look for Rusty Blackbirds on their southward migration. The data collected will help identify important migration stopover locations and habitats for conservation and will help researchers examine whether long-term changes to key migration habitats are responsible for the species' decline.

If you find Rusty Blackbirds, please collect the following information, then submit your data to eBird, taking note of the following:

1. Date, time, location of the observations. Area, traveling and stationary counts are preferred. Be as precise as possible when mapping your location.

2. Rusty Blackbird flock size, including an estimate of number of males vs. females. Answer 'yes' to the question 'do you want to report age/sex or add species comments' at the top of the eBird checklist page.

3. General behavior: flying, feeding, loafing (day), roosting (dawn, dusk, night). Put these in the species comments field.

4. Habitat: agricultural field, scrub-shrub wetland, forested wetland, shores of rivers or creeks, shores of lakes or ponds. Put these in general checklist comments field.

5. If possible please submit a complete checklist of the birds you identified on your outing, and answer 'yes' to the 'are you reporting all the species you saw/heard' question on the eBird checklist page. This will give us an idea of what other birds were in the area, as well as whether or not Rusty Blackbirds were associating with other blackbirds species during migration.
Rusty blackbirds are in steep decline, the causes of which are unclear.