US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1422, 255 p.


Published in Perry, M.C., ed.


I first learned about the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (Patuxent) in Laurel, MD, while attending high school in the mid-1950s. Patuxent wildlife biologists Brooke Meanley, Chandler (Chan) S. Robbins, and Robert (Bob) E. Stewart, Sr., visited me at my parents’ home in Norfolk, VA. I was the compiler of the Norfolk County Christmas Bird Count (which included the eastern portion of the Virginia sector of the Dismal Swamp). As part of that count, we had for several years been estimating populations of red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) in the millions. Patuxent was beginning studies of blackbird depredations on agricultural crops.