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Red-Winged Blackbirds are Home Again

When I lived in New York, I always looked forward to the return of the red-winged blackbird as it was a sign that spring was coming. The males returned first, set up breeding places, defended these territories from rival males and awaited the return of the females.

I often saw them at the tops of red maple trees along the edges of the wetlands crooning the females with song and displaying their masculinity with brightly colored red and yellow epaulets and flared tails. It is not unusual for one male to attract several females that will stay in his area to build nests and raise young.

Although these blackbirds winter in the south, I don’t often see them in my Florida backyard until late February when they eat the seeds in the bird feeders. Even here in Florida, they still are a harbinger of spring to me.

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