As I was watching some Canada Geese foraging in open water at Huntley Meadows Park on Saturday, I noticed a smaller, darker bird in the middle of the group. Clearly it was not a goose, but it too was wading in the shallow water and periodically pulling out tasty pieces of vegetation.
It looks to me like it is a Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus), a cool-looking species that I don’t see very often. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the “Rusty Blackbird is one of America’s most rapidly declining species. The population has plunged an estimated 85-99 percent over the past forty years and scientists are completely puzzled over what is the cause.”
Rusty Blackbirds often gather in small flocks, but I observed only this single individual. I kept an eye on the blackbird and was fortunate to get some shots as it moved in and out of the light on a frigid day at the marsh.
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.