Rusty Blackbird

Yesterday I received a call from Stan about a different looking bird that had visited his driveway on Lakeview Drive late that morning (before being chased off by Steller’s Jays) as well as around the same time the day before. He thought it might be a Rusty Blackbird, but wasn’t absolutely sure. Rusty Blackbirds are less than annually reported in Sitka (though I suspect small numbers move through in most years without being reported), and I had only seen them twice before. I walked around Lakeview Drive on my way to the middle school, and heard a Steller’s Jay but did not see the Rusty Blackbird.

On my way back from the middle school I once again walked around the loop and did not see the blackbird before I saw Stan. While we were visiting (talking about the birds of the neighborhood as well as a squirrel that he’s trying to keep out of his attic and crawlspace), the blackbird showed up just where he had seen it before.

I was able to get some photos of the Rusty Blackbird as it worked its way down along the side of the road. It stayed mostly on the pavement or in the gravel while I watched, and in a couple of pictures it’s possible to see it has something in its mouth. My best guess at this time is that it was finding seeds, probably from of the abundant crop of spruce cones that have started releasing seeds.

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