Thursday, June 26, 2008

Urban Birdwatching: Red-winged Blackbird

The Birds is one of my favorite Hitchcock movies (apparantly it's being remade in 2009). Bird attacks aren't that uncommon, particularly if you live in a nesting area for the Red-winged Blackbird. This common species (IUCN: Least Concern) inhabits grassy areas, both dry and wetlands. The males of the species (pictured) have distinctive red shoulders, giving the bird its name. Females are a brown-black colour and lack the distinctive red markings. If you live or commute near a Red-winged Blackbird nest, watch the skies: During nesting season, as some of our readers can tell you first hand, the males become fiercely territorial and will swoop down and peck at unsuspecting pedestrians or cyclists if they should wander too close. Nesting season runs from late May to mid-July.


8 comments:

Anonymous Coward said...

I grew up near a marshland that had tons of these birds and was never pecked. I wonder if the city birds aren't more stressed and more aggressive...

Anonymous Coward said...

They aren't even scared of predators !

kamel said...

According to the Chicago Tribune article (linked above) you can scare them off by barking like a dog.

Anonymous said...

They may be scared off by a barking sound, but I can tell you for sure that high-pitched girl screams have no effect.
-Big Red

Cheyenne said...

We don't seem to have this problem with our redwings up here (Canada). They're very well mannered.

Unless you're a crow.

Anonymous said...

do you think the bayblab could be more patriotic? what country are these yahoos from anyways-i say the original four compete for the best display of nationalism in the form of original posts (try and omit overt facism of course)by July 4th-i mean 1st

kamel said...

Cheyenne,

It's funny you should say that since this post was inspired by red-wing attacks on some of my friends here in Ottawa. I guess Canadian birds aren't necessarily more polite.

The Doc said...

Anonymous,

I'm not Canadian... but next time Waitangi day rolls around, I'll post something good and patriotic about the best country in the world.