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Content tagged with "migratory bird"

Ruby-throated hummingbird in flight

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Archilochus colubris
Although a few western hummingbirds are occasionally seen in Missouri, this is by far the most common in our state and throughout the entire eastern United States.

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Ruby-throated hummingbird in flight

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Photo of a ruby-throated hummingbird in flight.

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Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird

Euphagus carolinus
Missourians most often see rusty blackbirds during spring and fall migration, though in southern Missouri they sometimes stay through the winter. Look for them foraging in pastures and fields near water.

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Photo of female rusty blackbird perched on small branch.

Rusty Blackbird (Female)

The upperparts of the female rusty blackbird are dark gray-brown, with a pale yellow eye. In fall and early winter, they have a large buffy eyebrow and buffy underparts. Also note the gray rump, which contrasts with the rest of the back.

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Photo of female rusty blackbird perched on small branch.

Rusty Blackbird (Female)

In spring, rusty blackbirds migrate north into Canada for breeding; they are not known to nest in Missouri. In Canada, female rusty blackbirds lay a clutch of 3–6 eggs that are bluish green to pale gray with brownish markings. Their bulky nests of twigs, grass, and other plant matter are built in trees and shrubs near water.

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Photo of male rusty blackbird, mostly black, foraging in shallow water.

Rusty Blackbird (Late Winter Male)

Like most other blackbirds, rusty blackbirds have only one molt a year, in late summer. The fresh new feathers have rusty tips, and in fall and winter these make the bird look rusty. By late winter, those brownish tips have worn off, so only the black breeding plumage shows. Judging by the predominance of black on this bird, this photo was probably taken in late winter, before rusty blackbirds fly north to breed in Canada.

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Photo of male rusty blackbird in snow.

Rusty Blackbird (Male)

The decline of many species, including, apparently, the rusty blackbird, is caused by destruction or fragmentation of their native habitat, which happens as humans alter the environment. As responsible stewards of the earth, we must keep in mind that our actions affect many species that cannot speak for themselves.

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Photo of male rusty blackbird on snowy ground below birdfeeder.

Rusty Blackbird (Male)

Rusty blackbirds are sometimes seen at birdfeeders on snowy winter days and during migration.

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Photo of male rusty blackbird on snow, looking at camera.

Rusty Blackbird (Male)

Of all the blackbirds in Missouri, the rusty blackbird is most closely related to Brewer’s blackbird. Both are transients or winter residents, though Brewer’s blackbird is rarer and is mostly seen only in west-central Missouri. Rusty blackbird males usually have rusty plumage during the time of year they’re found in Missouri, while adult male Brewer’s blackbirds, year-round, are black with a purplish sheen on the head and greenish sheen on the body.

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Photo of male rusty blackbird hunkered down amid small snowy tree branches.

Rusty Blackbird (Male)

Across North America, rusty blackbird populations have been declining sharply: 94 percent between 1966 and 2010. Causes for the steep decline are unknown, but researchers suspect loss of wet woodland habitat in the southeastern US wintering grounds (via drainage, clearcutting, and conversion of land to agriculture) as one possible cause.

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