Saturday, April 25, 2015

The birds that left and came back

In the morning of March 10th I heard a New Sound that had joined the regular morning calls of chattering sparrows, goldfinches and bluejays. I couldn't figure out what it was even though it was right outside my house. Then I looked out at the feeder, and there it was. "A Grackle!" I yelled to anyone who might be around. He had just arrived to my frozen and snowy backyard.

The first flock were about four males. Noisy, conspicuous, gorgeous looking.

This individual had a white spot on his forehead. Later on I also saw another with a white tail feather. 

 A display to deter other males - the females hadn't arrived yet.

 And now the grackles are nesting again in the same conifer tree in my yard for the third year in a row. I don't know if it's the same pair or if it's their descendants, but I've learned to expect them now.
Next to arrive was the redwinged blackbirds. Their loud song is a wonderful spring sound. I felt bad though, since we still had very cold nights and quite a lot of snow left.
My new camera gave me the opportunity to see a new pattern on the back of the blackbird that I'd never seen before.
 And right then came the male brownheaded cowbirds. For a few days they were hanging out around my porch feeder, eating and bickering in the tree.

This little guy stumped me at first. In early morning it came, wet, tired and ravenously hungry after a long night flight. Eventually I learned it was a female cowbird. After eating and resting she was on her way, while the males still hang around for a few more days.

Three kinds of blackbirds in one photo!

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