The rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is a widespread North American species that has shown chronic long-term and acute short-term population declines, based both on breeding season and wintering ground surveys. more
Rusty blackbirds are ecologically distinct from other blackbirds, depending upon boreal wetlands for breeding and bottomland wooded-wetlands for wintering.
The decline, although one of the most profound for any North American species, is poorly understood. Moreover, no conservation or monitoring programs exist for this species. See boxes to right to help monitor this bird.
Given the species close association with wooded wetlands throughout the year, it could prove to be an excellent indicator species for environmental processes in these threatened ecosystems.
In February 2005, we formed the International Rusty Blackbird Technical Working Group to develop a cross-seasonal and comprehensive research program to develop the information to understand the causes and ecological significance of the rusty blackbirds' decline.
This information and the future information gathered by long-term monitoring programs are critical to developing on-the-ground conservation strategies and management programs to stem the rapid decline of this species.
The research and monitoring program is designed to obtain critically-needed information in three different areas:
To address these areas we have developed a series of high priority research activities.