U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

January 1978


Vol 49, No.I; Red-winged blackbird Movement. Permission to use.


From 1924 through 1974, about 11,000 recoveries accumulated from the banding of over 700,000 Red-winged Blackbirds(Agelaius phoeniceus) in North America. A few studies have examined some of these data for specific localities during certain times of the year; however, no attempt has been made to examine the total recovery data to compile a general picture of continental movement and migration patterns. Increasing attention is being given to blackbird (Icteridae) and Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) populations in North America because of their reported crop depredations, health hazards, and nuisance aspects, especially when congregating in large roosts (Meanley,1975;Graham, 1976). Solutions to these problems are difficult to find because the problems are widespread and the populations are highly mobile. Management measures necessary in one area may have effects in areas far removed. Thus, effective management requires a thorough knowledge of the overall movement and migration pattern of each species. The objectives of this study are to: (1) determine the general continental movement and migration patterns of the Red-wing during the annual cycle, and (2) examine banding and recovery numbers in relation to population numbers on a regional basis to pinpoint areas where additional banding and/or recovery effort is needed.