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A Sure Sign of Spring

Even though today is bitterly cold, spring is right around the corner! How do I know? The Red-winged blackbirds are back!

Males arrive before the females to set up and defend their territories. They like wetland areas but can also be found in drier habitats with grass-like vegetation. 

Females are a non-descript brown color and aren't seen very often but males make it a point to be seen and heard. They raise their wings to display their red and yellow shoulder patches and belt out their signature "conk-cha-ree" song. They aggressively defend their territories against other blackbirds, larger birds and even humans!

Females weave intricate cup-shaped nests out of plant material and then line them inside with mud and softer plant material. The nests are usually fairly close to the water or ground but hidden in dense vegetation.

A male Red-winged blackbird is on constant duty, guarding 5 and 15 females, during the breeding season. No wonder they seem cranky!

To learn more about Red-winged blackbirds click here.