Yesterday (October 17) marked our official last day of fall banding here at Petit Manan Point, and though we’re sad to be done we’re also happy to have had such a productive season, collecting data on over 2200 individual birds. As we mentioned in our first blog post, the data amassed each season helps shape management strategies and allows for a better understanding of bird population trends. As an example, the alarming decline in Rusty Blackbird numbers (approximately 90% since the mid-twentieth century) was discovered via formal survey techniques including breeding bird surveys and banding data.
It seems fitting to conclude this season’s blog with a photo of a young male Rusty Blackbird caught here on October 13. Among other challenges, habitat loss has played a large role in the precipitous decline of this and many other species, underscoring the importance of public lands like wildlife refuges in maintaining and enhancing vital ecosystems across the country.