In 2006, New Hampshire Audubon initiated surveys of documented Rusty Blackbird breeding sites in Pittsburg, the State’s northernmost township, where the highest density of documented breeding sites occurred. This effort documented Rusty Blackbirds at only three (13%) of the 23 historic sites surveyed. Birders observed the species at four additional New Hampshire locations that year, for a total of seven occupied sites. In 2008, surveys in the White Mountains yielded two additional occupied sites. A 2009 survey of historical and potential Rusty Blackbird breeding habitat in New Hampshire documented 57 active breeding areas, including a concentration of pairs in the upper Androscoggin watershed, and collaboration with other researchers enabled collection of tissue samples from 20 New Hampshire Rusty Blackbirds that are contributing to research on diet, genetics, blood parasites, and mercury levels. The present study focuses on the population in the Androscoggin watershed to collect detailed information on habitat use throughout the breeding and early fledgling periods.
Project Report: Identifying Rusty Blackbird Foraging Habitat in New Hampshire