Friday, October 7, 2016

Brewer’s Blackbird

We stayed the night of 14 September in Gillette, Wyoming. As I walked to check in to our motel, I noticed Brewer’s Blackbirds strolling through the lawn. My photo was not quite in focus, so, the next morning, I went out and looked for another. Brewer’s Blackbirds are common across western North America and I have other photos. But these days I am collecting photos to paste into my eBird lists. I had no trouble finding a dozen blackbirds.

In a previous post, I wrote about this blackbird’s interesting nomenclature and range extension. Bird ranges are not static. Beginning in the early 1900s, Brewer’s Blackbirds moved east along the boarder states and provinces to Michigan and eastern Ontario. The birds followed highway, train, and utility corridors to reach newly created agricultural land (Martin 2002). Meanwhile, grackles have expanded west, at least to Colorado’s Front Range. Where Brewer’s Blackbirds met Common Grackles, the two species competed. In the countryside, the smaller Brewer’s Blackbirds displace grackles. Common Grackles, however, hold their own in urban situations. 

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