Will You Accept the Rusty Blackbird Challenge?
Rusty Blackbirds have experienced an 85-99% population drop in the last half-century. Over the last 15 years, research on Rusty breeding and wintering ecology has allowed us to develop conservation strategies to protect this vulnerable species. But many questions still remain, and Rusty Blackbird migration habits are largely a mystery. Are there hot spots where many Rusties congregate during migration? Are similar migratory stopover areas used by Rusties each year, and are these areas protected? The International Rusty Blackbird Working Group, in partnership with eBird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Smithsonian, and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, is launching a spring migration Blitz. The objectives of the Blitz are:1. Identify migratory stopover sites; 2. Determine consistency of numbers/timing of Rusty Blackbird migration;3. Strengthen relationships with state and federal agencies in order to advance Rusty Blackbird conservation;4. Engage the birding community and create increased awareness and excitement about Rusty Blackbirds
Help OOS while you Shop with Amazon Smile!
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support OOS every time you shop, at not cost to you. Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. How do I shop at AmazonSmile? On your first visit to AmazonSmile, using smile.amazon.com
, you will need to select OOS as your charitable organization before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation to OOS.
Looking for a birding festival this summer? Visit the Bird Watcher's Digest "Festival Finder" page to have look for festivals around the country. This is a great way to get to find birds with local guides and field trips to hotspots in the area, and a fun way to get to know other birders too!
Passenger Pigeons in Ohio
Historian Caleb Atwater observed in 1838 that passenger pigeons still passed through Ohio in huge numbers in the spring and fall, adding that "[f]ormerly the pigeons tarried here all summer, building their nests, and rearing their young, but the country is too well settled for them now; and so, like the trapper for beaver, and the hunter, they are off into the distant forests, where their food is abundant, and where there is none to disturb them in their lawful pursuits." Actually, large nesting colonies survived in a few spots in the state after the middle of the century, even though there were growing numbers of humans who continued to persecute them.
By 1882, Wheaton, born in 1840 and author of Report on the Birds of Ohio, observed it had become "much less abundant and irregular." Less than twenty years later its extinction in the wild was complete. Lawrence Hicks in 1935 summed up its former abundance in “immense numbers in every section of the state and presumably breeding generally, though usually locally and in very large colonies,” citing confirmed large nestings historically in rural Licking, Pickaway, Morrow, Huron, Wayne, Medina, Columbiana, Portage, Trumbull, Ashtabula, and Geauga counties.
Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:
Still extant is a mounted specimen, now at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, collected in the state in 1900, thought for many years to have been the last pigeon verified in the wild. Martha, a pigeon kept at the Cincinnati Zoo until her death in 1914, is considered to have been the last of all her kind.
Learn more »