Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz: Opening Day

Welcome to International Opening Day of the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz!  The Blitz challenges birders to seek Rusty Blackbirds throughout this species’ entire migratory range, from the southeastern U.S. through the Northeast, Midwest, Canada, and Alaska. It’s easy to participate- bird as you normally do and search especially carefully for Rusty Blackbirds- then report your results to eBird under the “Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz” survey type, even if you don’t find a Rusty.  Or, visit one of our Rusty Blackbird Areas of Interest (visit our interactive map at http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/2015-areas-of-interest/) to help us assess consistency of migratory timing and habitat use during spring migration.

Many Rusty Blackbirds spend the winter in the lower South, so our job is largely to document when Rusties get ready for migration and subsequently leave that region to head north to their breeding grounds.  To give you a sense of when peak migratory activity is likely to occur in our area, we’ve posted a list of suggested target dates for each region: http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/states-and-dates/ .  However, migratory timing can vary annually based on weather and climate, and some Southern states were reporting Rusty sightings into April last year, so any Rusty reports during the Blitz period of 1 March through 15 June will help our effort. 

For more information on Blitz objectives, along with Rusty Blackbird identification tips, data collection instructions, and data reporting information, you can find additional resources at http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/.  

We hope you’ll “get Rusty” with us to help conserve this elusive and vulnerable songbird! Also, follow us on Facebook to hear about Rusty sightings, see Rusty pictures, and get the latest Blitz news: https://www.facebook.com/rustyblackbirdspringblitz

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