Weekend Birding: Red-winged Blackbirds Have Returned
While walking on the nature trails last week I could hear the unmistakable call of the male Red-winged Blackbirds. They migrate south of Chicago for the winter but return every spring.
The males were down in the marshy grass making a lot of noise and showing off their bright red and yellow shoulder patches which presumably makes them desirable to the females.
The females were hanging out in the trees watching them. Their coloring is very different from the males. Their brown feathers blend in with the colors of the wetlands where they nest. Soon they will make a decision, choose a mate and the nest construction will begin.
Every year I go back a few months later with my camera hoping to get a photo of the nestlings. I have never been able to get close enough, even with my long lens. The blackbirds are fiercely protective and will first try to distract by calling from a nearby tree, when that doesn’t work the male swoops down at my head and at that point I get the hint and move on. I always wear a big hat when I am trying to photograph nesting birds!
Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.
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