Rusty Blackbirds

This afternoon a large flock of blackbirds arrived with a great deal of commotion in the trees around our back yard, and in the woods that stretch downhill, beyond the yard. Hundreds of blackbirds perched in the trees and dropped down to forage on the leaf-covered floor of the woods. The flock included Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds and Rusty Blackbirds, at least a thousand birds in all, a very rough, conservative estimate. A good many American Robins were mixed in with them, probably here before the blackbirds flew in.

The flock stayed around for almost an hour. The day was chilly, half-sunny and very windy, so the pines were tossing and the hardwoods creaking in the gusts. Although the blackbirds all were constantly moving from tree to tree and trees to ground, it was still possible to get some beautiful views through a scope set up on our back deck. The best view was of a group of several Rusty Blackbird males foraging together in a sunny spot, where the yellow eyes, buffy eyestripe and rusty stippling on the back and chest showed up unusually well.

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