Some of the Red-winged Blackbird moms are moving on from sitting on the eggs to feeding the chicks that have hatched. A good preening and a shaking of the wings after all that sitting is a necessity. Then it’s the bug hunt. The chicks need protein; seeds just won’t do. The moms mostly do their work close to the ground, but from time to time they like to go topside and show the world what a juicy bit of bug they’ve captured.

All this women’s work is not necessarily synchronized. While some have hatched already, others are still finishing the nest:

Red-winged Blackbird female (Agelaius phoeniceus)

The males, meanwhile, guard the tops of the bushes, display their epaulets, dive inside to check on progress, and fight off marauding crows that have an appetite for blackbird eggs. From a distance I saw three blackbirds mob a crow and drive the much bigger bird out of the area.

Red-winged Blackbird male (Agelaius phoeniceus)

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