Calling all birders and bird enthusiasts! Have you ever seen a Rusty Blackbird? I haven’t, which is why there’s no photo in this post, but we have them in Loudoun! When they’re here, we see them in the late fall and later in late winter but it’d sure be great to find some during this winter blitz! We’re thinking that the most likely areas for them would be around Horsepen Preserve and Algonkian due to the habitat found there.
Anyway, if you can get out and bird during the Blitz, let us know if you find any! The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a great identifaction page on Rusty Blackbirds (complete with photos and sounds of their calls).
Following the success of the 2009 Blitz, the 2010 Rusty Blackbird Winter Blitz will take place from January 30th through February 15th across multiple states in the bird’s wintering range.
Coordinated by the International Rusty Blackbird Technical Working Group out of the Smithsonian, the Rusty Blackbird Blitz is a citizen science-based effort to document Rusty Blackbird (RUBL) locations across their wintering range in a centralized database, thus providing groundwork for researchers to conduct their work in the future. This work is indeed vital as the declining Rusty Blackbird is considered Vulnerable by the IUCN and is currently listed by the National Audubon Society as an A1 Species of Conservation Concern at the Global Level.
In Virginia, the Rusty Blackbird Winter Blitz is being brought to you by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia Society of Ornithology and the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory. Essentially, we need all available birders to go birding as much as possible during the Blitz period and record their results (including habitat information and the presence or absence of RUBLs) through the Virginia eBird portal at http://ebird.org/content/ebird/va in addition to sending the sightings in to our Bird Atlas Coordinator, Spring Ligi: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important Blitz protocol information and more can be found at http://nationalzoo.si.edu/ConservationAndScience/MigratoryBirds/Research/Rusty_Blackbird/protocol.cfm.
Also, please visit http://www.vabci.org/rusty-blackbird.asp to find more information on the Blitz and on the status, distribution and ecology of the Rusty Blackbird in Virginia.
Finally, if you have any questions please feel free to contact Sergio Harding, Virginia’s Blitz Coordinator, at email@example.com.