Rebecca Thomas - Nature Notes column head format newest

Red-winged Blackbirds are back. These birds are native to Ohio. Most abundant in wetlands, their range spans across the entire United States. The males are easy to recognize. They have been coming to our feeders, suet and seed. I have not seen a female yet, but they should be back soon. These blackbirds are a sure sign that unofficial spring is here. They are one of the first songbirds that return to breeding grounds after overwintering in the South. Red-wings are one of North America’s most common birds.

These “Spirits of the Marsh” are medium-sized birds with medium-length tails. They have a stocky body and a slim bill. Red-wings can walk, hop, and run. They fly. Males have glossy black feathers all over their bodies. Bright red and yellow epaulets grace their wing tops. Cornell University knows that as males get older, their black feathers get shinier. Their red wings also get brighter.

NN50 - male Red-winged blackbird

male Red-winged Blackbird

NN50 - female Red-winged blackbird

female Red-winged blackbird

NN50 - Blackbird flock

A blackbird flock

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