March 1, 2011

Return of the Red-winged Blackbirds

Each year I make notes on my calendar when certain events occur... things like the last few frosts in the spring, when the forsythia bloom, the day I eat my first tomato off the vine, the first fall frost, and the date I see the first winter snowflakes. Then, in January, when I put up a new calendar, I make notes on the new calendar when these events are likely to occur.One of the things I note is when the red-winged blackbirds return.

When I flipped my calendar to March today I saw that they are likely to start returning here this week.

Red-winged blackbirds inhabit most of the United States. I think that they stay year round in some states, but here where I live they fly south for the winter. Then they return here in early spring. The females, who are kind of plain looking brown birds, build nests in grassy brushy places. Then the males sit atop taller growth nearby to protect the nest. When they are breeding I see those flashy males sitting on top of every tall bit of growth across the pasture. The bright red marking on their black bodies make spots of red across the whole landscape.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to take a very good picture of this. No picture ever seems to do justice to the real life image.

I hate it when that happens.I took these snapshots last year and they'll just have to suffice for now.

I also see by my calendar that next week the Canada geese are likely to start nesting. It's hard to believe that we might finally be near the end of this long winter!

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