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.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Photo Share: Red-winged Blackbird waits for females to arrive

The first sign of spring in Michigan is the return of the male Red-winged Blackbirds in mid-March. Their early arrival can be a life or death decision. Because the wintry weather, with cold snaps and late snowfalls, means some of the early birds will succumb to the elements or to starvation before warm weather arrives. As major bug eaters, their early appearance while it is still cold means they may hit our feeders hard to supplement their diet. Fortunately the rains and then the warming weather will mean more bugs and further migration to nesting territories.

The males who stay in top breeding condition, and manage to choose and keep a good territory until females arrive some weeks later are in the best position to win mates. Redwings are polygynous and one male can accept anywhere from two on up to 15 mates. (Fun fact: Of 278 breeding songbird species in North America, 15 are polygynous; of these, 11 live in marshes or grasslands.)

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