Rusty Blackbird: Zoom It
A very recent discovery is that the dark cheek feathers, behind the eye, glow in the ultraviolet spectrum. Scientists have yet to discern the reason for this.
The rusty blackbird gets its name from the rusty-edged plumage in the nonbreeding season.
You can see bits of the food (see below) adhering to the birds' beaks when you zoom way in.
Rusty blackbirds are extremely wary, more so than any other blackbird. The slightest change in the environment (a moved branch on the ground or a rearrangement of twigs) causes members of this species to stay away. Moreover, they love to feed on aquatic prey in wetland forests—not the easiest habitat to work in. To get close enough to photograph them, Gerhard used a specially-formulated bait he created consisting of hard-boiled eggs and corn meal (the egg shells were especially popular). Then he waited in a camouflaged blind until the birds were accustomed to the feeding location. It took almost a month to get this shot.
For use of this, or other photos, contact Gerhard Hofmann at:
About This Bird
You are looking at one of the most strongly declining birds in North America, once abundant, the rusty blackbird has been declining precipitously for the past 30 years.
No one knows for sure why this decline is occurring.
Breeding in the boreal forests of Canada and the northern United States, it has experienced a loss of about 95 percent of the population that existed when the Breeding Bird Survey was initiated in 1966. In winter, it is found locally in the forested wetlands of the southeastern U.S.
Learn more about the Rusty Blackbird: