Outdoor Radio: Red-winged Blackbirds "A True Sign Of Spring"
Birdwatchers know that when they see the Red-winged Blackbird return, spring is on its way. These birds are numerous and everywhere. The males are stark-black with a red epaulette, a striking flash of color on their wings, that they use to attract mates and ward off other competing males.
In this episode of Outdoor Radio, we join Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra on a spring day in Quechee at Dewey's Mill Pond watching for and listening to the Red-winged Blackbird. Even though these birds are numerous and easy to find, we still need to pay attention. Since the 1970s the population of the Red-winged Blackbird has declined by 30 percent. Also, these harbingers of spring have been arriving earlier and earlier as the climate has been changing.
Listen to the calls and responses of male Red-winged Blackbirds guarding and setting their territory. Discover the meaning of the term "territorial polygamy" and how it relates to the reproductive practices of Red-winged Blackbirds.
Check out these links to learn more:
- See images and observations of Red-winged Blackbirds on the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist and add your discoveries too by joining iNaturalist.
- Learn more about Red-winged Blackbirds from Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds and the Vermont Atlas of Life Breeding Bird Atlas.
- Check out images, sounds and a map of Red-winged Blackbird sightings on Vermont eBird.