Bug in Beak

Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Bug in Beak

This Red-winged Blackbird female has a bug in her beak. That’s a clue that she’s got chicks to feed, else she would have eaten the bug herself. The fennel in several spots of the northwest corner of the park has grown tall and dense enough for the birds to feel safe at nesting, although the growth in my estimation still lags by a foot or two what we’ve seen in more abundant years. The number of these birds in residence also seems much less than in peak seasons. Let’s hope it’s a cycle, not a trend.

This female is fluttering and vibrating her wings. I’ve read up on these birds’ behaviors, and while there’s a mention of males doing the wing vibration display, I didn’t find it described for females. Two nearby males paid her no attention, so the wing vibration wasn’t a “come hither” message.

I liked these images because they reveal that the females also have some red feathers on their shoulders. You rarely notice them, but in this image they’re easy to see. So, the “Red-winged” name tag really applies to both sexes.

Red-winged Blackbird female (Agelaius phoeniceus)

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One thought on “Bug in Beak

  • It looks like she has two individual insects (or one insect and one something-else?) in her beak. The one more towards the tip is a grasshopper if the (hind) leg segments are any indication. The large body part hanging out of the rear of the beak seems quite limp, not typical of a (larger) grasshopper, so it’s not clear what it may be.

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