Historical trends in rusty blackbird nonbreeding habitat in forested wetlands

  • Authors: Hamel, Paul B.; De Steven, Diane; Leininger, Ted; Wilson, Randy.
  • Publication Year: 2009
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: Tundra to Tropics: Connecting Birds, Habitats and People. Proceedings of the 4th International Partners in Flight Conference, 13-2016 February 2008, McAllen, TX.

Abstract

Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) populations have declined perhaps 95% in the recent past, creating legitimate concern that the species may become endangered. During the nonbreeding period the species occurs predominantly in southern U.S. forested wetland habitats, with concentrations in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and in the southeastern Coastal Plain of the Carolinas and Georgia. Both these areas have experienced substantial historic conversion of forested wetlands and bottomland hardwood forests to other land uses. We review available information on the status of forested wetlands in the southern U.S. and estimate the proportion of potential Rusty Blackbird habitat that may have been lost. Substantial areas formerly covered in forested wetlands in the region are today devoted to land uses incompatible with the bird’s known habitat. Especially in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, an area of intensive agriculture, land use may change annually with commodity price fl uctuations and can affect existing forest lands. In recent years, in response to changing economic conditions, federal Wetland Reserve and Conservation Reserve Programs have converted marginal agricultural lands back to forest lands and wetlands. These conversions, as well as current interest in afforestation and forest restoration for purposes of carbon sequestration, suggest a future increase in Rusty Blackbird nonbreeding habitat.

  • Citation: Hamel, P., D. DeSteven, T. Leininger, and R. Wilson. 2009. Historical trends in rusty blackbird nonbreeding habitat in forested wetlands. In: T. Rich, C. Arizmendi, D. Demarest, and C. Thompson, eds., Tundra to Tropics: Connecting Birds, Habitats and People. Proceedings of the 4th International Partners in Flight Conference, McAllen, Texas, 13-2016 Feb 2008. p. 341-353.
  • Keywords: bottomland forest, Christmas Bird Count, forested wetlands, Mississippi alluvial valley, southeastern coastal plain
  • Posted Date: April 22, 2010
  • Modified Date: October 18, 2010
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.