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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Spring migration phenology and habitat use of red-winged blackbirds in eastern South Dakota


We conducted studies from 1994 to 1999 in eastern South Dakota to determine the best strategy for baiting spring-migrating blackbirds. From 26 March to 14 April, male and female red-winged blackbirds made-up 61% and 17% of the roost population, respectively. After the 14th of April, the population consisted of 32% male and 49% female red-winged blackbirds. Blackbird migration in eastern South Dakota generally ended by late April. Habitat use studies conducted in March and April 1994, 1995, and 1998 showed that blackbirds used corn stubble for foraging and woodlots/shelterbelts for loafing. We concluded that bait plots located in corn stubble adjacent to wooded areas could attract large numbers of red-winged blackbirds during spring migration.

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