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Returning Red-winged Blackbirds Announce the Arrival of Spring

3-10-15  red-winged blackbird IMG_3155Regardless of the deep snow that remains on the ground and the frigid temperatures we’ve had recently, spring has announced itself with the arrival of red-winged blackbirds this week. Most redwings that breed in New England migrate approximately 500 miles further south to spend the winter. In the spring, males begin migrating first, flying north in flocks during the day to their breeding grounds. (In the fall, females depart first.) While they eat primarily insects during the breeding season, redwings subsist mainly on seeds and grain this early in the season. Before you know it, females will return, and up to fifteen of them will be nesting on the territory of each male (though he doesn’t sire all of the nestlings).

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7 responses

  1. “…up to fifteen of them will be nesting on the territory of each male (though he doesn’t sire all of the nestlings)…” Please say more… How does this work? Are there a lot more females than males? Does he “protect” the females & their kiddos within his territory?
    I love hearing and seeing the redwings when they return! Definitely a welcome sign of spring for me!

    March 10, 2015 at 9:25 am

    • I’m afraid all I really know is that they have found up to 15 females nesting on one male’s territory, but that the male was not the father of all of the nestlings…DNA studies revealed that.

      March 12, 2015 at 8:21 pm

  2. Kathie Fiveash


    March 10, 2015 at 9:35 am

  3. Rainie Kelly

    Another sign of spring: visits by three yearling cubs to the neighborhoods near Cole Park and Chambers Park in Lebanon. First visit was on the evening of March 5 with a return last nght. Even though feeders are down, they are interested in the seed left on the ground.

    March 10, 2015 at 9:38 am

  4. robertwyatt

    You are right! Spring has sprung so put on your dancing shoes! kh

    Robert Wyatt


    March 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm

  5. I haven’t heard them yet, but I think I will take a walk to the spot where I first hear them (Mar.9 last year). It would make my day!

    March 10, 2015 at 4:33 pm

  6. Pingback: What Are You Doing Reading This? | dUVdive

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