Early Birds

This advance party of male Red-winged Blackbirds arrived and announced its presence on Sunday. Their calls are unmistakable. I saw about half a dozen of them perched on the fennel tops on the north and northwest side. There may have been three times as many flying around but hard to identify. In any event, they’re all males, and if past years are any indication, they may leave again after a few days, when it becomes obvious that the females haven’t arrived yet. The females may not arrive in numbers for another month or more, depending on how long it takes the new fennel to get thick and bushy. When the females come, the whole fennel forest in that area of the park turns into a giant mating party (they’re not monogamous) and then into a nursery, with hidden nests deep in the fresh fennel.

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

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