Redwinged blackbirds return (to a snowstorm)

The blackbirds always migrate so this is the first real spring bird.  Foolish creature, we’re having another snow storm.  I hope the robins aren’t too close; although the blackbirds eat at the feeder so should survive until the thaw, I have never seen a robin feeding except on the ground which is still 20-40 cms deep in snow.

The redwinged blackbirds live next door on the edge of a dugout in the swamp, nesting among the cattails but are usually at the feeder daily throughout the season.  They need to watch out for the snapping turtles which are the nearest we get to alligators.

Redwinged Blackbird
Redwinged Blackbird

He is probably hungry (didn’t see the female yet) after his long journey.  He stayed at the feeder for quite a while, through several changes of species.

Redwinged Blackbird 2
Redwinged Blackbird 2

While I had the camera out, I took a picture of the nuthatch – a year-round resident.

Red-Breasted-Nuthatch

First Pontypool robin of the year

He is listening intently for worms.  Yes, I heard last year of experiments that showed that robins can detect worms just by hearing them.

First robin of 2013
First robin of 2013

I don’t know if there are any to be caught yet but these birds always arrive within days of the first bare patches even though there may still be a layer of ice between them and the first worms.  They were spotted a couple of weeks ago a few miles south, but as we are on top of a ridge, north of Lake Ontario, our climate is a few degrees cooler so a few weeks behind the lake shore in the spring.

The robins don’t eat anything we put out for food, so they will go hungry for several days at least, unlike this blackbird.

Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird

We were in England last week and were delighted to hear the song of the English blackbirds, which are very musical.  I was sad to hear, though, that 80% of the nightingales in England have gone and an important nesting site is facing destruction.

Red-winged blackbirds

Redwing blackbird coming in to land

I’m going to get a good shot of one of these landing with the wings full-on, but meanwhile here are a pair of shots of the male coming in to land while the female is feeding. The two shots were about 1/4 second apart.

Redwing Blackbird landing on feeder
Redwing Blackbird landing on feeder
Redwing Blackbird landing on feeder 2
Redwing Blackbird landing on feeder 2