I watched this bluebird making repeated trips in and out of a man-made birdhouse. A closer look at the photo revealed food in her beak, and the chirping of her baby chicks could be heard from inside the nest.
These graceful, long-legged cranes may stand over four feet in height, and can often be found sauntering through fields in search of food near shallow marshes. Coloration is technically pale gray, but they often have a rust color from preening themselves with muddy bills. A red head crest along with an unforgettable mating call makes them easily identifiable.
My grandfather was a farmer who used to get up early to irrigate in his field, and when he’d come in for breakfast he’d talk about the meadowlarks and red-wing blackbirds he’d seen. Their song reminds me of him when I hear them singing in the Springtime.
I have a favorite spot I often pass when I go biking in the country west of town where I always look forward to seeing (and hearing) Red-winged blackbirds perched on cattails, trilling their sweet summer songs.
A male will defend his territory and attract a mate by perching on a high stalk and singing. They fluff their feathers and lift the leading edge of their wing so the red shoulder patches are prominent. Red-winged blackbirds are dimorphic, that is to say, the males and females have a completely different appearance. Females have mottled, heavily banded plumage lacking the distinguishing red and yellow shoulders the species is known for.