Air Defense

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) and American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Apart from stud service, the male Red-winged Blackbirds have limited usefulness. The females do all the work of building the nests, laying and brooding the eggs, and feeding the hatchlings. One service the males do provide, and provide with boldness and courage, is to defend the nests against marauding egg thieves like these American Crows. Although they’re much smaller than the attackers, the blackbirds don’t hesitate to rise up like missiles with their needle sharp beaks pointed at the aggressor. The crows, for their part, know when they’re not going to get an egg breakfast. They don’t even try to counter-attack. They hover for a little bit and then leave the scene. For now. They’ll be back. But the blackbirds’ air defense teams will be on the alert and will rise to meet them again.

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) and American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

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3 thoughts on “Air Defense

  • I love your narrative Marty! “apart from stud-service” –LOL!
    Go Red-wing blackbirds!
    Btw, that name of the bird, only seems to pertain to the males, since the females don’t have red shoulders, right?

  • Wow! Dramatic! I’ve seen American Crows take on Red-tailed Hawks in a similar manner. A hawk sometimes perches at the top of a tall tree, but it doesn’t last long there. Several crows will circle menacingly around it until it finally gives up and leaves. Good for the Red-winged Blackbird! He was doing his job well.

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