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Hungry Birds | by joanne clifford
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Hungry Birds

A male Red-winged blackbird feeds his babies, who are eagerly waiting, open-mouthed, for the offerings that he provides. I watched these little guys for some time this morning, both the mother and the father swooping in every few minutes with fresh food offerings for their chicks. The chicks rapidly devoured whatever was brought to them, and waited, open-mouthed for subsequent food deliveries.




"One of the most abundant birds across North America, and one of the most boldly colored, the Red-winged Blackbird is a familiar sight atop cattails, along soggy roadsides, and on telephone wires. Glossy-black males have scarlet-and-yellow shoulder patches they can puff up or hide depending on how confident they feel. Females are a subdued, streaky brown, almost like a large, dark sparrow. Their early and tumbling song are happy indications of the return of spring.


The Red-winged Blackbird is a highly polygynous species, meaning males have many female mates – up to 15 in some cases. In some populations 90 percent of territorial males have more than one female nesting on their territories. But all is not as it seems: one-quarter to one-half of nestlings turn out to have been sired by someone other than the territorial male.


Male Red-winged Blackbirds fiercely defend their territories during the breeding season, spending more than a quarter of daylight hours in territory defense. He chases other males out of the territory and attacks nest predators, sometimes going after much larger animals, including horses and people."




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Taken on June 4, 2019