Tuesday 9 October 2012

In Search of Rusty

The Spit: Burnaby Lake Regional Park Oct 2, 2012
It wasn't hard to find the Rusty blackbirds, all one had to do was follow the steady stream of photographers and "birders" who had congregated at the lake's boardwalk. It had been several years since a Rusty had been seen in Vancouver so the birds have been drawing a steady stream of visitors all Thanksgiving weekend.
I'm not too sure why, but even passersby using their iPhones were snapping pix, what they'll do with the images is anybody's guess. Perhaps they didn't want to feel left out!
I digress, The two birds were very obliging, feeding on grain and insects at close range. The key was waiting for the little sun to break through the morning fog so as to illuminate their colourful plumage.
The Rusty blackbird (Non breeding female)

 The Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) is a medium-sized blackbird, closely related to grackles (Rusty Grackle is an older name for the species).

Note the rusty crown and prominent pale supercilium of the Fall famale.


Their breeding habitat is wet temperate coniferous forests and muskeg across Canada and Alaska. The cup nest is located in a tree or dense shrub, usually over water. Birds often nest at the edge of ponds/wetland complexes and travel large distances to feed at the waters edge. Emerging dragonflies and their larvae are important food items during the summer.
These birds migrate to the eastern and southeastern United States, into parts of the Grain Belt, sometimes straying into Mexico.
Much of the time is spent in the water feeding on aquatic insects and plant matter.

Ever on the lookout for a tasty morsel, the Rusty blackbird poses for the camera at Burnaby Lake.

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