- McNulty, Stacy
SUNY ESF Adirondack Ecological Center
Although the Rusty Blackbird (RUBL) was once common, the species has declined by an estimated 90% since the 1960s (Greenberg et al. 2010). It has since been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and the US Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the RUBL as a Focal Species of Birds of Management Concern. This study is the first research to focus specifically on foraging habitat suitability in areas used by breeding RUBLs, which primarily prey on aquatic invertebrates during the summer (Avery 1995). In recent years, research has been conducted on RUBL nest success, predation and habitat but information on the species’ foraging ecology is scant. Understanding wetland prey availability during the breeding season will enable land managers to identify high-quality foraging sites and in the future potentially determine mechanisms behind the RUBL decline and potential for recovery.