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 21, 2015

Female migratory birds tend to arrive after males

I have seen a lot of male red-wings but no females. Do you know where they are?

Female Red-winged Blackbird
In migratory birds, males tend to arrive first on breeding grounds. The two most common explanations are males arrive early to compete for breeding sites and improve their prospects of mate acquisition. I saw a couple females at my feeder this week along with a female cowbird. Migration is still underway and I'm sure you'll see some female red-wings soon.

The Red-winged Blackbird male is unmistakable for most Michigan residents. The pure black bird with bright red shoulder patches edged in yellow is hard to miss. The female and juvenile are less obvious. They have heavily streaked under parts and mottled brown upperparts and can look like large sparrows.

Male & female Red-wings from Wikimedia Commons
As one of the most common, widespread, and numerous birds in North America, little is done to protect red-winged blackbirds from the effects of development. They thrive in wetland areas but it is likely that this species will begin to feed more at bird feeding stations with the loss of natural habitat.

When they are not breeding, they tend to gather in flocks of all male or all female birds. Northern populations will begin to migrate south to the southern United States and Central America as early as August.

Related Articles:
- Red-winged Blackbird facts http://bit.ly/yQPs61
- Blackbird Battle http://bit.ly/xFsHIN
- Red-winged blackbirds attack hawk http://bit.ly/yaudwu

- Watch for the Red-winged Blackbird to announce spring http://goo.gl/ADQLp3

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