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