Red-winged Blackbirds are everywhere at the refuge, with the male birds sporting red and yellow shoulder badges. This time of the year the males fly to find high perches from which they belt out their incessant songs. They show no fear of cars and humans, and are easy to photograh.
The male Red-winged Blackbird is easily recognized by his red and yellow shoulder patches and his propensity to sing for any reason from the top of reeds or bushes. I saw the one pictured below at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland more than a week ago. He was not shy, stood his ground, and continued serenading even as my car came nearer to him.
Going through my files from this past June, I found the following series showing a Red-winged Blackbird dive-bombing a Black-crowned Night Heron that had strayed too close to its nest. This all happened in less than a minute near the Ocean City Welcome Center in New Jersey.
The Red-winged Blackbird, an ubiquitous bird in North America, likes to sing. The other day I saw and heard one belting out a famous aria.
My apologies to Puccini and any opera lover that I may have offended. If you want to hear a human tenor sing E lucevan le stelle from Tosca, here’s the best:
Last September, flocks of red-winged blackbirds were swooping up and down around me at the Abbott Marshlands. A few landed close by and I took the following shot of a juvenile blackbird. Note the more mature bird with more brilliant coloring beyond it.
Many mourning doves live in our area, and here are two examples.
In early October, I was hiking at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge when a skunk crossed the road and scurried toward me, coming as close as 30 ft. Uh, oh! I stopped and squeezed a few shots, including the one below. Fortunately, the skunk went back into the bushes and did not spray anything. However, it was an omen. The following day, I was told that my job had been eliminated.