Although the Red-winged Blackbird is one of the most abundant birds in North America, the sight of the male with its glossy black plumage and brilliant red and yellow shoulder markings, perching atop a cattail in a riverside swamp, is a welcome sight. Perhaps this is one of my favorite sights because I know that very soon the vegetation within the bird’s habitat, wetlands of many types, is just beneath the surface and ready to burst through the soils, and into the warmth of the spring sun, within a few short weeks.
The boldness of the male can be fascinating to watch as long as you are not the target of a dive-bombing bird when you’ve wandered too close to a nest! The males can be fiercely territorial and defensive of nesting sites and their general territory. Males typically have multiple female mates to protect, with the females nesting low and out of sight in marshy vegetation. Its surely something to be watching for as the days get longer and warmer, and as we carry on into the next season.