The Females Have Arrived

Female Red-winged Blackbird

The males arrive first.  Displaying their scarlet epaulets, they take possession of a high perch, chase off contenders, sing their call, and preen.  The females stay away and wait. Finally, maybe a couple of weeks later, when the time seems right to them, they arrive, and the earnest fun begins.  Here in the park, the females arrived over the weekend, probably on Saturday.  By Sunday morning the northwest area of the park was bird Bedlam, with blackbird males on the fennel tops by the dozen, screaming their heads off, and others up in the air chasing each other.  A female that ventured into the air or onto a path soon had one or several male pursuers.

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