First 2014 Red-winged Blackbirds to arrive

First 2014 Red-winged Blackbirds to arrive

Feels like just yesterday the first Red-winged Blackbirds had just arrived. I can still see them struggling to survive the last few frigid winter days as they progressively monopolized the bird feeders.

Male Red-winged BlackbirdMale Red-winged Blackbird

The males are the first to arrive. They brave the last few days of winter for a chance to have first bid on prime nesting real-estate. The females can take up to a month before they show up.

Female Red-winged BlackbirdsFemale Red-winged Blackbirds

Once the ritual courtship and nest building done, it’s all up to the female. Although I’ve once seen a male feeding chicks in the nest, it’s extremely uncommon and out of character. The males however do team up to protect the territory from predators and can chase after large birds of prey, crows and even large mammals.

Male Red-winged Blackbird gathering foodMale Red-winged Blackbird gathering food

I was lucky enough to run into a tree that was totally devastated by caterpillars. It was so spooky it looked like an Halloween decoration. As I walked away I heard the chirp of a female Red-winged Blackbird. I turned around and at the very top of that tree, I could see two little heads sticking out as they were being fed by their mom.

She went back and forth returning to feed the chicks every 2 to 3 minutes. In this video she even dropped a dragonfly which she promptly flew to the ground to recuperate. For some reason a male stood perched in an adjacent tree but never bothered me or showed any interest in me.

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