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Rusty Blackbird

Main Project Information
Where United States

The Rusty Blackbird project needs volunteers to help researchers study the distribution and abundance of rusty blackbirds.

The rusty blackbird 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. 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.

There are two ways you can help:

1. Submit rusty blackbird observations, particularly information related to breeding sites
and concentrations of birds during winter (Dec-Mar).

2. Join the rusty blackbird feather and blood donor project. If you regularly band rusty blackbirds, researchers could use feathers for isotope analysis and blood for genetic research, contaminant studies, and disease screening.

How to Join

Please submit sightings at Include the following information: date, location, habitat, number, sex of birds, activity (for example roosting or feeding).

For more information on feather collection, contact Russ Greenberg at

Social Media
Required Gear

Feather collection involves pulling an inner primary or secondary. Blood samples for genetics work should be stored in lysis buffer. Blood samples for contaminants work should be frozen.

Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity On a walk, run, On a hike, At home
Tags birds
Project Updated 04/12/2017