It's always exciting for me to come across a bird that is new to me.
[The information below is from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds]
The Rusty Blackbird has undergone one of the sharpest and most mystifying recent declines of any North American songbird. The North American Breeding Bird Survey estimates that populations declined by 4.4% every year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 89%. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 5 million, with 100% spending some part of the year in the U.S., and 86% breeding in Canada. The species rates a 21 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Rusty Blackbird is listed as a Common Bird in Steep Decline on the 2014 State of the Birds Report. Low densities and remote breeding habitat (in the boreal forests of the far north) make clear determination of trends difficult. Scientists have formed the Rusty Blackbird Working Group, which tries to get a better handle on populations by organizing birders to look for and report Rusty Blackbirds during specific dates during the year, particularly spring migration. It's not clear what has caused the population declines, but loss of wet woodland habitat through drainage, clearcutting, and conversion to agriculture is a possibility—particularly in the southeastern U.S. where some 80 percent of the population winters.
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