Red-winged Blackbirds Sing for Spring

Spring is coming early this year after a relatively short and mild welcome winter. And while we could still get zinged with another storm or two, the Red-winged Blackbirds don’t expect any major setbacks. They’re back in force, setting up territories and waiting to welcome the females when they make their leisurely way up from the warmer south. Everywhere along Lake Ontario that I’ve visited this week, I’ve seen male Red-wingeds singing, even though the official start of spring is still over a week away.

Photo of Redwinged Blackbird in Pussywillow A on NaturalCrooksDotCom
This bird didn’t perch at the top of a tree like the often do; he barely could fit between all the twigs.

Male Red-winged Blackbirds Flaunt Their Epaulettes

An important part of a male Red-winged Blackbird’s display is showing off the red and yellow patch on his “shoulders.” I remember reading a study when I was a teenager that said if the (mean) scientists used black dye to cover the red and yellow markings the males were much less able to defend a good territory and attract a female.

Photo of Redwinged Blackbird Male in Pussywillow B on NaturalCrooksDotCom
With bright big colour patches like this, this bird should do well if he can get out of that bush!

Pussywillows Getting Fuzzy

I noticed the Red-winged Blackbird was perched amongst a bunch of pussywillow branches and stopped to admire the opening buds in the area.

Photo of Pussywillow Stalk on NaturalCrooksDotCom PussywillowStalksonNaturalCrooksDotCom

Photo of Redwinged Blackbird Male in Pussywillow C on NaturalCrooksDotCom
He really didn’t have much room to sing!

Photo of Redwinged Blackbird Male in Pussywillow D on NaturalCrooksDotCom
I’m not sure turning around changed that much.

Soon the other spring birds will start arriving and setting up their homes. The Song Sparrows were already singing around Colonel Sam Smith park in Toronto. Can the Warblers be that far behind?


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Are the Red-winged Blackbirds back in your neck of the woods? Please share your spring sightings with a comment.

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