Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-68

Common name:

Rusty Blackbird

Scientific name: Euphagus carolinus
Date: 11/28/17
Time: 10:48 am
Length of time observed: 12 minutes
Number: 1
Sex: male
Location: Boulder Town main pond
County: Garfield
Latilong: 37.9029657,-111.4243271
Elevation: 6700'
Distance to bird: 15-30 ft
Optical equipment: 10x binoculars
Weather: fair, mid-50s
Light Conditions: bright, no clouds
Description:        Size of bird: ~9 in
(Description:)       Basic Shape: blackbird with medium length tail
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: black with rusty head
(Description:)            Bill Type: long, slender, slightly decurved
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
I was alerted to its presence by a flight call that was different than the typical Brewer's calls I am accustomed to here. The solitary bird flew up from the pond and landed in an aspen, and in flight I immediately assumed it was a Brewer's. After landing, I was struck by how rusty the head and chest appeared. The wings and tail were dark and there was a dark patch around the eye. On closer inspection, I felt the decurved bill and rounded tail also fit the description of rusty blackbird.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Flight call that I can only describe as different than that of Brewer's
Behavior: Mostly seen perched in aspens, but briefly observed wading along the edge of the pond in a manner I have seen in other rusty blackbirds
Habitat: Aspens surrounding the reedy pond
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Rustier head than even the rusty-appearing Brewer's photos I could find online. The bill seemed more slender and decurved. The shape of the tail appeared more rounded along the edge.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Not within the past 3 years, but multiple encounters during my years in Pennsylvania, mostly in the fall. Frequent encounters with Brewer's during my 3 years in Utah.
References consulted: Sibley guide, Birding in Utah Facebook group, other internet resources
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Ryan McDermott
Observer's address:  
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 12/5/17
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: The bird was present until I had to go into work, but could not be relocated after work or the following two days.