They’ve Hatched

Red-winged Blackbird female with bugs in beak to feed chick(s)

Nests of Red-winged Blackbirds should be left alone, which is easy to do since they are almost impossible to find. Only through the unthinking mayhem of a Parks mowing machine were park visitors able to glimpse one such nest two years ago. But there’s a way to tell how far the brood cycle has gone without looking into a nest. The female blackbird shows that at least one chick has hatched by displaying herself briefly with a beak full of bugs.

This particular bird displayed on the “Nursery Hill” I wrote about a little while ago. I saw the same behavior in years past up on the northwest side in the fennel forest, here and here. There may be something in the blackbird culture that drives the females to display what good providers they are much like the males, earlier, display what big studs they are.

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