Photographer Phil Rowntree captured these shots of male Red-winged Blackbirds on January 7. That’s a good three weeks earlier than last year, when an exploratory party of these birds showed up on the north side on January 29. They didn’t stay. Another small party showed up in the middle of February, and again departed shortly. The main body of these birds didn’t show up until March.
The Red-winged Blackbirds’ schedule is just the opposite of most other birds we see here. Most of them come in winter and leave in March for points north to go reproduce. The blackbirds spend the winter elsewhere and come here in March for a wild and noisy season of mating, breeding, and raising fledglings. They stay until about the Summer Solstice. For extensive coverage of blackbirds past, click this.