Ray Duffy reports seeing four Rusty Blackbirds at DeKorte Park's Kingsland Overlook this morning just before 9:30. (Thanks, Ray!)
This bird is especially noteworthy because, as New Jersey Birding points out:
The Rusty Blackbird has been steeply declining with estimates of an 85-99% population drop over the past 40 years.
The cause for this alarming decline is not known and the increasingly sparse and patchy winter distribution of the Rusty Blackbird makes it challenging to learn more about distribution, abundance, and ecology as a basis for conservation efforts.
A "Rusty Blackbird Hotspot Blitz" begins in nine days.
More info follows.
The Rusty Blackbird Hotspot Blitz will be repeated for the last time in 2011 to locate more hotspots and determine how stable known hotspots are from year to year.
The Blitz will occur, January 29th – February 13th, 2011, throughout the Rusty Blackbird winter range in over 20 midwestern and southeastern states (including NJ).
To participate, all you need to do is visit locations where you have previously sighted or would expect to encounter Rusty Blackbirds and submit your observations via e-Bird.
You can go wherever you like, whenever you like, and as often as you like anytime between the dates of Jan. 29 and Feb. 13.
Locations where there are larger concentrations of Rusty Blackbirds are of particular interest. If you are unfamiliar with areas which may support Rusty Blackbirds in your region, contact your state's Blitz Coordinator for ideas.
As a result of these efforts, the Rusty Blackbird Technical Working Group (RBTWG) will create maps of wintering Rusty Blackbird "hotspots" that will help direct research, monitoring and conservation attention.
Information and instructions will be available soon on Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's e-Bird site: http://ebird.org
The Rusty Blackbird has been steeply declining with estimates of an 85-99% population drop over the past 40 years. The cause for this alarming decline is not known and the increasingly sparse and patchy winter distribution of the Rusty Blackbird makes it challenging to learn more about distribution, abundance, and ecology as a basis for conservation efforts.
Collaborating with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's and National Audubon Society's e-Bird project, the RBTWG needs your help to find local, but predictable wintering concentrations of Rusty Blackbirds by participating in the 2011 Rusty Blackbird Hotspot Blitz.
If you don't use eBird regularly, please consider entering all your observations of Rusty Blackbirds (even outside the Blitz period). Your observations of will be used by researchers currently studying their steep long-term population decline.
Results from the past year's Blitzes, instructions and information on identification, habitat preferences, etc., are available on the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center's Rusty Blackbird Blitz website: