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Critter of the Month - FEBRUARY

Rusty Blackbird

Euphagus carolinus

One of the most rapidly declining songbirds in North America, the Rusty Blackbird are uncommon winter residents across Tennessee. They arrive in early November and depart in early April. Primarily found in wet woods, swamps and pastures rusties many times associate with other blackbird species in large flocks. This handsome bird, with it's rusty tipped feathers and yellow eye can be easily distinguished. Although care should be given when identifying it only by it's eye color as both Common Grackles and Brewer's Blackbirds have yellow eyes as well.

Mostly eating acorns and fruit, Rusties have also been known to dine on frogs and insect during their winter stay here in Tennessee.

The best places to view the Rusty Blackbird in Tennessee are flooded hardwood forests with a good deal of leaf litter as it is their habit to "flip" leaves looking for food.