We calculated the home ranges and core areas of 13 adult Rusty Blackbirds (Euphagus carolinus) in Maine to determine (1) the area requirements of breeding adults, (2) whether area requirements of the sexes and of colonial and noncolonial individuals differ, and (3) the proportion of the home range and core area that would be protected by a buffer of no logging of 50–100 m around occupied wetlands. Mean home ranges (37.5 ± 12.6 ha) and core areas (11.1 ± 2.8 ha) were large in comparison to those of other breeding icterids, and adults often foraged in multiple unconnected wetlands. Rusty Blackbirds that were part of a loose colony had home ranges and core areas three times larger than those of pairs that nested solitarily, which we speculate may be due to adults following one other to feed on unpredictable emergences of aquatic insects. Home ranges and core areas included a surprisingly small amount of wetland habitat, only 12% and 19% respectively, but adults often foraged in small wet patches (<16 m2) in otherwise upland habitat. The 75-m buffers around wetlands that we recommended in a concurrent study may help protect the Rusty Blackbird's nesting habitat, but such buffers contained less than half the average home range, suggesting that they may be of only limited benefit as a conservation strategy for protecting foraging habitat.
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Vol. 112 • No. 4