Bird Identification – Rusty Blackbird – Thrush Blackbird

This cousin of the red-wing, whom it resembles in size, flight and notes, is a common migrant in the United States. Nesting is done farther north. In spring, the rusty blackbirds come from the South in pairs, already mated, whereas the red-wings and grackles travel then in flocks. At that time the males are a uniform glossy, bluish-black, and their mates a slate gray, darker above than below; but after the summer moult, when they gather in small companies, both are decidedly rusty. You might mistake them for grackles in the spring, but never for male red-wings then with their bright epaulettes. Notice the rusty blackbird’s pale yellow eye.