Angry bird

When you invade a breeding male Red-winged Blackbird’s territory, he lets you know it, … and know it, and know it.  From every perch, he squawked at me continuously and vigorously.  It was enough to make me leave — which was his intention.

This is not the "kon-kar-ree" call that advertises his availability.  It was more like a honk/screech.

This is not the “kon-kar-ree” call that advertises his availability. It was more like a honk/screech.

He kept it up for several minutes, honking continuously every few seconds.

He kept it up for several minutes, honking continuously every few seconds.

You get the idea.

You get the idea rather quickly.

Even a female got into the act, although she was a little quieter about her displeasure at my presence.

One of probably many females in this male's territory.

One of probably several females in this male’s territory.

Male Red-winged Blackbirds arrive on spring migration as soon as the snow melts. First arrivals claim the biggest and best territories and proceed to collect as many females as their territory can support.  Some males have as many as 15 females on their territory.  While this sounds like a good recipe for spreading the male’s genes, genetic studies have shown that less than half of the nestlings reared in a male’s territory may actually be his progeny!  But one-half of 12 nests times 4 young per nest is still a lot of offspring.

9 thoughts on “Angry bird

  1. Wonderful shots of one of my favorite birds. In my marshland park, I’ve had trouble figuring out the territorial boundaries of the blackbirds and haven’t really encountered the territorial behavior that you describe.

    • Usually, they don’t sit still for me either. This particular bird was unusual in sticking around to try to drive me off. He kept changing positions to yell at me.

  2. Yes these guys make it clear your intruding and have send me packing on a few occasions, I admire their beauty and candor, though I prefer to avoid their scoldings.

  3. Pingback: Heron and blackbird | Mike Powell

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