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 Rusty Blackbird

Status in Michigan
Common Transient

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Rusty Blackbird.

Use the links below to view the Rusty Blackbird reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Rusty Blackbird sightings.
Rusty Blackbird Archives Reports
Fall 2003 156
Spring 2003 393
Winter 02-03 7
Fall 2002 1095
Summer 2002 0
Spring 2002 305
Winter 01-02 8
Fall 2001 240
Summer 2001 0
Spring 2001 197
Winter 00-01 1
Fall 2000 8
Summer 2000 13
Spring 2000 161
Winter 00-99 3
Fall 1999 496
Spring/Summer 1999 3

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Rusty Blackbird

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Rusty Blackbird
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Rusty Blackbird
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Euphagus carolinus (Muller)
Rusty Blackbird

Common transient.

First recorded for Michigan by Sager (1839: 414) : " Scolecophagus ferrugineus."

SPRING.-The Rusty Blackbird is common in southern Michigan from the second week of March or somewhat later, and in the Upper Peninsula from mid-March or the first of April, until the first week in May.

Lower Peninsula.-L. W. Campbell (1940: 159, 209) reported that main flight occurs in the Toledo-Erie marsh area between the third week in March and the first few days of May. On April 1, 1939, he estimated that 2000 were flocking with large numbers of Grackles, Cowbirds, Starlings, and Red-wings near North Cape, Monroe County. Swales found the species in the Detroit area between mid-March and mid-May (12 recorded on March 18, 1905; 3 on May 12, 2023), and J. Van Tyne saw 15 at Ann Arbor as early as March 7 (1919). Walkinshaw noted it in Calhoun County on March 1, 1931, but usually in late March or early April (1930 to 1940), and Barrows (1912: 453) observed it in the vicinity of East Lansing, Ingham County, from about March 10 to early May. Thirty were seen by G. A. Ammann at the Prairie Farm, Alicia, Saginaw County, April 2, 1940, and the species was recorded on Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, by N. A. Wood as late as May 6 in 1929.

Upper Peninsula.-Bryens at McMillan, Luce County, has recorded individuals from the latter part of March to mid-May, noting the larger numbers chiefly in April. He noted 2 on March 24, 1925, 5 on April 11, 1930, and 1 on May 16, 1929; Christofferson has made similar observations at Blaney, Schoolcraft County, where in 1939 he recorded an individual as early as March 18. There are records from a few other places during the spring in the Upper Peninsula: T. D. Hinshaw and R. E. Olsen saw 2 at Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, on May 13, 1934; N. A. Wood recorded arrival at Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, on April 23 and saw over 100 there on May 1 (1933: 723); on Isle Royale, he noted 2 on May 6, 1930.

FALL.-The southward migration of the Rusty Blackbird in Michigan passes through the Upper Peninsula between mid-September and the last of October and through the Lower Peninsula between early October and the middle of November.

Upper Peninsula.-Peet (1909: 363-64) noted large flocks of these blackbirds on Isle Royale from September 15 to 22. N. A. Wood observed 2 there on September 27, 1929, and Laurence Dayton 1 on November 30, 1937. In 1934 Trautman recorded 5 on October 3 near Lake Gogebic, Ontonagon County, and 5 on October 5, at Covington, Baraga County. S. S. Gregory, Jr., collected 3 specimens in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, 1 on September 26, 1919, and 2 on October 9, 1924. Bryens has recorded the species at McMillan, Luce County, commonly in October (100 on October 20, 1939; 75 on October 20,2023), but in 1940 as late as November 25.

Lower Peninsula.-At Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, Trautman observed 15 Rusty Blackbirds on October 10, 1938, and 200 on October 28, 1938. when he collected 2. J. Claire Wood (1913: 17) recorded about 40 in Alcona County, October 11; and Chancy (1910: 275) noted a small flock in Mason County on September 24. N. A. Wood has found the species at Fish Point, Tuscola County (200 seen on October 15, 2023), and on the Charity Islands, Huron County (1911: 99-from September 13 up to his departure on October 11). A late fall specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was secured by F. H. Chapin at Kalamazoo, on November 22, 1879; and A. E. Staebler collected several (U.M.M.Z.) from a flock of over 250 at Ann Arbor on November 15, 1941. At Portage Lake, Washtenaw County, N. A. Wood saw 1000 of these blackbirds on September 3, 1921, and 500 on October 17, 1920. In the Detroit area, Swales recorded 100 on November 6, 1910, and 300 on November 14, 1909, and J. Claire Wood collected 3 (U.M.M.Z.) on November 18, 1906. L. W. Campbell (1940: 196) has noted them in the Toledo-Erie marsh area between the early part of October and the middle of November.

WINTER.-The Rusty Blackbird is found in Michigan only occasionally in winter. Barrows (1912: 453) noted it several winters at East Lansing, Ingham County, and H. A. Atkins (1882: 119) collected 1 near Locke, in the same county, on February 5. Pirnie (1940a: 18) saw 3 at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, Kalamazoo County, on December 24, 1939, and Peter Ward collected 1 there the following day. In the Detroit area, Swales saw 2 on February 24, 1911, and mentioned (1903: 37) a specimen secured by J. Claire Wood on January 25, 1891.

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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