Morning Surprise

This morning, a single red-winged blackbird was feeding with the morning doves on the ground outside my bedroom window.

rwbbI noticed him right away, but since I didn’t have my glasses on, I had to get the binoculars to confirm. Yup. Red-winged blackbird.

It’s the first one I’ve seen since the fall, though they are one of the earliest to arrive of the spring migrants. It’s even more unusual to see just one.

In checking the distribution records, it’s noted that red-winged blackbirds winter here, and this little blackbird sitting in the snow illustrates to me how interesting it is to see the changes in bird distributions.

When I was a kid, growing up just 10 miles from here, we never saw red-winged blackbirds in the winter. In fact, they were one of the true harbingers of spring, and one of the first migrants to return from places unknown, and far to the south.   And now that I think about it, it’s only in the past 25 years or so that they have drastically changed their winter range.  We didn’t find any redwinged blackbirds in the winters of banding at the original RRBO either.  Instead, their loud, boistrous calls were an early sign of Spring.

A lot can happen in 40+ years! Yikes, to think species distribution has changed in your adult lifetime either says there are climate changes going on bigtime – or your just getting old!  I’m going with the climate changes….

Posted in Birds. 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Morning Surprise”

  1. Laura Says:

    I had one at my feeders in the last few days also, but discounted it as strange because it’s almost March.

    I also had a pretty big group of male cowbirds the last two days – isn’t it early for them here in NJ?

  2. Mary Says:

    When I lived in Central Delaware two years ago, the most common bird I saw during the winter (outside of the doves) were red winged blackbirds. Flocks of thirty or more would clean out a feeder quickly, nearly every day. Since moving to NC, I have not seen one and this is my second winter here.

  3. Mary Says:

    During my three winters in Central Delaware, the most common bird (other than doves) were red-winged blackbirds. They arrived daily to clean out a feeder very quickly. This is my second winter in NC and I have not seen one yet.

  4. Lynne from Hasty Brook Says:

    Red-winged blackbirds will be our first migrants in MN. I so look foreward to their songs!

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