BIRD OF THE WEEK — RUSTY BLACKBIRD — BYE, BYE BLACKBIRD — PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD group

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BIRD OF THE WEEK

Rusty Blackbird

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Euphagus carolinus

POPULATION: Estimates vary widely, from less than 1 million to more than 5 million.

IUCN STATUS: Vulnerable

TREND: Decreasing

HABITAT: Breeds where boreal forest meets wetland. Winters in wooded wetlands.

Rusty Blackbird lost between 85 and 95 percent of its population, making it one of the fastest declining North American landbirds. The only North American blackbird more troubled is the Tricolored Blackbird, a localized and declining bird of West Coast wetlands.

usty Blackbird_Paul Roedding, Shutterstock

At first blush, the Rusty Blackbird’s growing scarcity makes no sense. After all, much of the bird’s breeding range in the boreal forest is remote and roadless, so human impact seems a less likely factor than in areas with cities and suburbs.

For now, scientists strongly suspect a few factors at play in the bird’s decline:

  • Climate change, which may cause wetlands to dry up more frequently, and also may throw off peak times for aquatic and other insects, affecting blackbird breeding.

  • Destruction of wetlands for agriculture in the United States wintering range, combined with degradation of remaining habitat.

  • A combination of these and other threats, including the poisoning of blackbird flocks and infiltration of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles into degraded habitats, where these birds likely compete with Rusty Blackbirds.

Top Contributors

DansPhotoArtHawkeye2011DiegojacklittlebiddleS C photos

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For ID (Done): Rusty Blackbird ♂ - Quiscale rouilleux ♂ - Euphagus carolinus (D72_6582-1F-20171003)//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

110418177561asmweb//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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Sunday Photo Magazine — 12/16/2018

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BIRD OF THE WEEK — AUDUBON’S ORIOLE — PLANET EARTH BIRD WORLD group

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BIRD OF THE WEEK

AUDUBON’S ORIOLE

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Icterus graduacauda 
POPULATION: Fewer than 5,000 in U.S., but most of range is in Mexico.
TREND: Decreasing 
HABITAT: Riparian and live-oak woods.

Formerly known as the Black-headed Oriole, the flashy but furtive Audubon’s Oriole is one of North America’s two yellow-and-black orioles. (The other is Scott’s Oriole, also found in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico.) Audubon’s Oriole, like the Green Jay, is a species sought after by birders visiting Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Although as brightly colored as a Green Jay or Painted Bunting, this large oriole can be a challenge to spot. Bright yellow is often difficult to distinguish amid green foliage, and unlike the more familiar Baltimore Oriole, Audubon’s Oriole tends to remain deep under cover, where it is more often heard than seen.

 

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Sunday Photo Magazine — 12/9/2018

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