About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blackbird Battle

Some people don’t like having the Red-winged blackbirds at their feeder in the spring because they are loud and messy and eat a lot. While there’s some truth to that, Red-winged blackbirds also consume large numbers insects and weed seeds, so they have their good points as well. And with all the heavy rains this month, the bugs are sure to follow and then we’ll be happy they eat so much.

The first ones to arrive are the males with various levels of red on their wings. Yesterday at the East Lansing store I watched a show as two older males with large red patches battled over feeder time. The smaller one fluffed out its red feathers and gave a loud "
konk-a-ree". The one with the larger red patches puffed up huge and gave a long, low “KONK-AH-REEE”! But that wasn’t the end. The smaller guy didn’t give up so fast. The battle continued back and forth for a couple minutes until senior male decided he was done and just turned his back and began eating at the feeder. Little guy looked around as if to see if anyone was looking and then took a perch nearby to wait his turn. I enjoyed the display and will miss them when they leave the feeders as nesting season begins.

Red-winged Blackbirds produce a wide variety of sounds. They are most famous for their "konkalee" call, but scientists have discovered more! For an English/Redwing Dictionary go to The Journey North website.

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