October Red-wing

Red-winged Blackbird male (Agelaius phoeniceus)

We’re used to seeing Red-winged Blackbirds in the park in the spring. The colorful males occupy the fennel tops in the northwest corner and belt out their assertive “I’m the king of this bush” whistle that you can hear many yards away. The females meanwhile quietly do all the hard work of nest building, egg laying, bug hunting, and raising the brood until they’re ready to fly. around the time of the Summer Solstice.

Last year we saw a flock of dozens of red-wings, including females, visiting here in September (“September Blackbirds,” Sept 26 2020). If that repeated this year, I missed it. I was completely surprised by this October visit. He didn’t seem interested in the fennel seeds, and there weren’t any females in sight. I guess he’s aware that mating is not on the agenda, and that he doesn’t have to assert his dominance against rival males. So his melody now has a mellow, nonthreatening temper. He almost sounds like a sparrow or a finch. He didn’t get any answer. I watched him for a while, holding forth on the high twigs. Then he dove low into a bush and I lost sight of him.

Red-winged Blackbird male (Agelaius phoeniceus)

More about them: Wikipedia Cornell Audubon In Chavez Park

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