Thursday, July 1, 2010

Red-winged Blackbird

I have fond memories of red-winged blackbirds from my childhood. They remind me of making the drive to my Grandma and Grandpa's farm in Chisago County. I remember staring out the car window at the wash of golden farm land and being thrilled to see their bright colors as they perched on the cattails growing in marshy ditches.

When I first saw one at my feeder I was so excited! And since that first visit I only need to hear them sing to know one is in my yard. It's a distinct call; very different from the ongoing medley of finch and sparrow song.

I have a pair of red-winged blackbirds who visit my feeder, most often just the male.  Sometimes his girlfriend stops by, but it's almost never a "date" as they usually visit the feeder solo. I've read that these birds are polygynous (meaning, one male bird mates with many females), so the female I see might be one of several girlfriends. Out for a quick meal away from the sister-wives. Kind of like the Big Love of blackbirds.

From the photo below you can hardly see any red on his shoulders, it's mostly hidden by black top feathers.

But when he's air-borne his color pops (as you can see from the blurry blob at the top of this picture!). 

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