It’s About Her

Red-winged Blackbird female (Agelaius phoeniceus)

The Red-winged Blackbird males get all the attention with their flashy epaulets and their piercing whistles, but it’s all meaningless unless they impress a female. It’s all about her. She’ll decide on her mates — typically, several — and she’ll build the nest and brood the eggs and feed the chicks. The breeding frenzy in the northwest corner of the park looked and sounded kind of slow in mid-April. The dense young green fennel that provides the privacy where the females like to build their nests is barely knee high now (on a human scale). Waist high would be better. The very dry winter we’ve had is probably holding back the new growth. If the vegetation doesn’t pick up soon we may see a very quiet blackbird breeding season. Let’s wait and see.

Any one or several of these males may pair with a female if she likes them.

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