Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Red-winged Blackbirds

If you look carefully at this tangle of last year's cattails you should be able to spot a small nest hiding in amongst them. It's the nest of a Red-winged Blackbird, and it's right next to the bird blind on the West Gaetz Lake.

Like many other birds, the male of this species (left) is much showier than the female (right). Males depend on their bright plumage to help attract mates, but females need to be more camouflaged so that they can safely sit on the nest.

Here's another look at the male:

As always, click on the photo for a larger version.

This time of year it's very important to be quiet while using the viewing decks, and this year it's even more important than usual. The high water levels in the lakes has led to many more nests close to the decks. Noise on the decks may discourage the birds from using these nests, and the extra energy needed to rebuild elsewhere can sometimes lead to nest failure.

Enjoy visiting our birds, but please remember to visit responsibly.

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