Tuesday 20 February 2018

Blackbird Bonanza!

This morning started like any other school day. I got up, went and ate breakfast, then walked to my bus stop. On the walk, I couldn't help but notice just how mild it was. I made a mental note to go look for blackbirds after school, because I just knew that today would be the day they started their advance into my neighborhood.

I waited at the bus stop for five minutes, completely alone. I waited a bit longer before getting a text from my mom saying that the buses had a two hour fog delay. I guess I would get to go look for blackbirds sooner than I thought!

Not 10 minutes into my search I heard it. Off in the distance I could hear one of my favourite sounds of early spring...the distinctive "Conk-a-REE!" of a Red-winged Blackbird! I tried locating the bird, however I had to abandon the search because it started to rain quite heavily. I figured I could go back after school and try to get a visual and maybe some photos.

As soon as I got home, I was told that buses hadn't been delayed...they were cancelled! I have no idea why, as it was completely clear out where I was, but I wasn't complaining...now I could spend the whole day looking for blackbirds!

The rain didn't give up until about twenty after ten, but as soon as it stopped I was out the door (without a camera...whoops!). Almost immediately four Red-winged Blackbirds flew over, followed by two more. I found a seventh male loudly singing at the top of a tree. Awesome!

I returned about an hour later with a camera, and although I was only able to find two Red-wingeds, I was happy to watch them singing and interacting with each other.

Long story short, I spent the next few hours riding my bike around, finding Red-winged Blackbirds everywhere I went.

Late in the afternoon, as I was heading home I happened across a group of six flyover Red-winged Blackbirds. Cool, I thought, and decided to stop and see if anymore flew over. Shortly after, I saw about 12 fly over. I realized that they had come from the direction of a marsh which serves as a congregation spot of sorts for blackbirds in spring and fall, so I went to check it out.

I came across a single male Red-winged on a wire.

As I was watching him I noticed a flock of Common Grackles had just taken off from a nearby tree! I looked over and realized that there were more of them! All in all, I counted a total of 41 Common Grackles and 43 Red-winged Blackbirds, exceptional numbers given the date and location.

Common Grackles and European Starings

Although I was thoroughly soaked, it was a great day of birding! I'm sure the Killdeer aren't far behind!


  1. Very nice! Keep up the good work Quinten.

  2. I thought you were MIA for not posting in a couple of weeks. Lol!
    Yes, the blackbirds sure arrived in numbers yesterday.
    Some Tundra Swan here too.

    1. Lack of content! Hopefully now that the weather is "warming up" I will be able to get out more. I would expect Tundra Swans here is a couple weeks. Spring is coming!

  3. This is so cool! I love seeing Red-wings for the first time after a long winter. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It is always exciting! You tend to grow somewhat tired of them by May though :-P