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Friday, October 14, 2005

New Yard Birds

After a week of rain, it let up a little this morning so I took a walk around the office (160 acre farm) and found a couple new birds for my 2005 yard list. The most expected was a Great Blue Heron. These are common in the area, and we even have a creek on the property, but so far this is the first one I've seen here this year. It was merely flying overhead and didn't stop.

I also found a Winter Wren down in a tangle of multiflora rose, but the best bird was a single Rusty Blackbird. These birds are becoming much more rare, they're population has plummeted. According to recent analysis of Christmas Bird Count records, Rusty Blackbirds have experienced a 5.2% annual decline, a total decline of 86% over 39 years, a loss of nearly 13 million Rusty Blackbirds since 1965/66. They breed in the boreal forests up north, and winter in the SE United States. This one was probably just moving through. Nice way to start the day.

Rusty Blackbirds have a variable plumage depending on age, sex, and time of year. A photo of a bird that looks like the one I saw this morning is online here.

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