Red-winged Blackbird

Photo by Michael A. Del Monaco

The Red-winged Blackbird is a handsome blackbird, with red and orange epaulets on his shoulders. The males return first in the spring, and a little while later, followed by flocks of dingy, brown, streaked females.

Flat out courting takes place shortly after and every red-wing in a uniform chooses one of the plain birds for his mate. By the first of May, all have settled down to home life.

Their song is a rather poor affair, consisting of two or three oft-repeated notes, and is apt to grow wearisome when one hears nothing else in a lonely field.

Red-winged Blackbird Nest

The nest is generally placed in a juniper or other low bush, or among cattails. Both it and the eggs resemble those of the blackbird, excepting for the fact that they are smaller.

The parent birds both protest loudly if you near their little home. They scold loudly against your intrusion.

The male will sometimes fly straight at you as if he intended to strike you on the head - which he has done to me, as I jogged past on a trail.

His excessive devotion to his family is quite short-lived. In July, the restless baby birds flock with their mothers, but the now indifferent fathers keep apart by themselves.

Baby Red-winged Blackbirds

If a twig should shake near the babies' nest, every head is thrust high in the air and each little mouth is opened wide in request of a tit-bit. Return from Red-winged Blackbird to A Home For Wild Birds Home

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