The females are still weeks away, but these Red-winged Blackbird males, about half a dozen of them, are staking out the high points in the fennel forest in the northwest corner of the park, and practicing their calls. Bird researchers say that this particular call serves mainly to impress other males and tell them to keep away. The females apparently pay little attention to the sound and more to the appearance. Males with big, bright epaulets catch the female aye. This individual looks like a prime candidate. But these birds are only loosely monogamous and each nest full of eggs is likely to have more than one father, and maybe several. The action starts when the females arrive, probably in March. Sometimes the density of the fresh new fennel seems to be a factor. The females build the nests, and they like to put them in thick growth that provides lots of privacy. In early February the new fennel has barely got started.
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