Brewer's Blackbird

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Common Name: Brewer's Blackbird

Scientific Name: Euphagus cyanocephalus

Size: 8.3-9.8 inches (21-25 cm)

Habitat: North America; throughtout North America except Artic regions. Common in woods and gardens. This blackbird has adapted well to urban environments.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 35,000,000 Mature individuals. This species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America. •Brewer’s Blackbirds cope well with humans and the development we bring. In the last century, they spread eastward from western Minnesota, taking advantage of agricultural fields, farmhouses, and towns. Where they overlap with the Common Grackle, the grackles take the streets and suburbs, leaving the Brewer’s Blackbirds to the fields and grasslands. Brewer’s Blackbirds are sometimes shot, trapped, or poisoned around agricultural fields in an attempt to protect crops. Although they do eat grains, this species’ appetite for insects makes it more of a farmer’s friend than a pest. Brewer’s Blackbirds are quick to notice new food sources and have been credited with helping to curb outbreaks of insect pests including weevils, cutworms, termites, grasshoppers, and tent caterpillars, among others.

Diet: Mostly seeds and grains, some insects in summer months. In towns, parks, and outdoor cafés, these birds will eat almost anything that’s not closely guarded.

Breeding: Brewer’s Blackbirds are social birds that nest in colonies of up to 100 birds. The first females to arrive choose a nest site to suit them, and later arrivals follow suit. Eggs are extremely variable in color and pattern. Some studies suggest the variability helps the eggs match the background pattern of the nest, helping to camouflage them.

Cool Facts: This bird is named after the ornithologist Thomas Mayo Brewer (1814-1870). The oldest known Brewer’s Blackbird lived to be 12.5 years old.

Most birds fly south for the winter, but a small number of Brewer’s Blackbirds fly west – leaving the frigid Canadian prairies for the milder coastal regions of British Columbia and Washington.

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