Rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus
) populations have declined dramatically since the 1970s and the cause of decline is still unclear. As is the case for many passerines, most research on rusty blackbirds occurs during the nesting period. Nest success is relatively high in most of the rusty blackbird’s range, but survival during the post-fledging period, when fledgling songbirds are particularly vulnerable, has not been studied. We assessed fledgling and adult survivorship and nest success in northern New Hampshire from May to August in 2010 to 2012. We also assessed fledgling and adult post-fledging habitat selection and nest-site selection. The likelihood of rusty blackbirds nesting in a given area increased with an increasing proportion of softwood/mixed-wood sapling stands and decreasing distances to first to sixth order streams. Wetlands were not selected for nest sites, but both adults and fledglings selected wetlands for post-fledging habitat. Fledglings and adults selected similar habitat post-fledging, but fledglings were much more likely to be found in habitat with an increasing proportion of softwood/mixed-wood sapling stands and were more likely to be closer to streams than adults. No habitat variables selected during nesting or post-fledging influenced daily survival rates, which were relatively low for adults over the 60-day study periods (males 0.996, females 0.998). Fledgling survival rates (0.89) were much higher than reported for species of similar size.
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