On the Decline of the Rusty Blackbird and the Use of Ornithological Literature to Document Long‐Term Population Trends

On the Decline of the Rusty Blackbird and the Use of Ornithological Literature to Document... Abstract: Unlike most North American blackbirds, Rusty Blackbirds ( Euphagus carolensis) have shown steep population declines. Declines of approximately 90% are indicated for three recent decades from the Breeding Bird Survey, Christmas Bird Counts, and Quebec Checklist Program. Analyses of abundance classifications in bird distribution books and annotated checklists reveal an overlooked but long‐term decline dating back to at least the early part of this century. Rusty Blackbirds were described as very common to abundant in 56% of the pre‐1920 published accounts, 19% of the 1921–1950 accounts, and only 7% of the post‐1950 accounts. Rusty Blackbirds were described as uncommon in none of the pre‐1950 accounts, 18% of the 1951–1980 accounts, and 43% of the post‐1980 accounts. A similar pattern was found for analyses based on local checklists. Destruction of wooded wetlands on wintering grounds, acid precipitation, and the conversion of boreal forest wetlands could have contributed to these declines. Systematic analysis of regional guides and checklists provides a valuable tool for examining large‐scale and long‐term population changes in birds. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

On the Decline of the Rusty Blackbird and the Use of Ornithological Literature to Document Long‐Term Population Trends

Conservation Biology, Volume 13 (3) – Jun 1, 1999

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0888-8892
eISSN
1523-1739
D.O.I.
10.1046/j.1523-1739.1999.97478.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract: Unlike most North American blackbirds, Rusty Blackbirds ( Euphagus carolensis) have shown steep population declines. Declines of approximately 90% are indicated for three recent decades from the Breeding Bird Survey, Christmas Bird Counts, and Quebec Checklist Program. Analyses of abundance classifications in bird distribution books and annotated checklists reveal an overlooked but long‐term decline dating back to at least the early part of this century. Rusty Blackbirds were described as very common to abundant in 56% of the pre‐1920 published accounts, 19% of the 1921–1950 accounts, and only 7% of the post‐1950 accounts. Rusty Blackbirds were described as uncommon in none of the pre‐1950 accounts, 18% of the 1951–1980 accounts, and 43% of the post‐1980 accounts. A similar pattern was found for analyses based on local checklists. Destruction of wooded wetlands on wintering grounds, acid precipitation, and the conversion of boreal forest wetlands could have contributed to these declines. Systematic analysis of regional guides and checklists provides a valuable tool for examining large‐scale and long‐term population changes in birds.

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Jun 1, 1999

References

  • Relationships of bird community structure and species distributions to two environmental gradients in northern boreal forest.
    Welsh, Welsh; Lougheed, Lougheed

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