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.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Black bird with pale brown tips

Hi, Sarah -- I just saw a couple of birds I didn't recognize under the feeder.  I pulled out the binoculars, & I thought, “Oh boy, Rusty Blackbirds!” When I pulled out Sibley's, I found I was mistaken: they were just last year's male Red-winged Blackbirds, still in 'first summer color'.  (NOT hens.) Isn't this the wrong time of year for that?
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
No, they will probably wear off the paler edging to the feathers by July. First year Red-winged Blackbird males are mainly a dull blackish color with back and wing feathers edged in pale brown. Their epaulets vary from yellow to orange with black mottling.

The blackbirds' varying colors make them fun to watch to see if you can figure out the pecking order, but it can also be confusing.

Related articles:
- Fun Facts on Red-winged Blackbirds: http://bit.ly/q05Bos
- All about the Red-Winged Blackbird: http://bit.ly/qAeiyj
- Red-winged Blackbird info http://bit.ly/yQPs61 
- Blackbird Battle http://bit.ly/xFsHIN
- Red-winged blackbirds attack hawk http://bit.ly/yaudwu

No comments: