My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Red-winged Blackbird [video]

red-winged blackbird
Female Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are typically found nesting near water or directly in the cat-tails marshes, large grasses or low trees but the nest can also be found in unexpected areas like upland fields or pastures. I found this perfect blackbird nest in the grasses while looking for butterflies in the “Bobolink field” a few summers ago. Just as I looked down at the nest (with camera in hand) both parents decided to give me a friendly greeting . . . .

Actually, this bird hit me in the head more times that I could count and captured the video part more than 50 feet from the nest where it had finally stopped whacking me. The male just wanted to make sure that I was far enough away from the nest before disappearing! Who said looking for butterflies was a non dangerous sport!

Meadow Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary Summer 2003

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24 responses

  1. Love it! We have a lot of red winged blackbirds here but I rarely see the females. Darn evolution, shutting the pretty colors out of the females of many species!

    Looks like spring is coming around up there in the NE!

    8 February 2008 at 7:37 pm

  2. I didn’t know the red-winged blackbird nested so low. I’m always learning things from this blog. Nice video.

    8 February 2008 at 7:51 pm

  3. wonderful video! it cheered my heart so much. thank you.. nita

    8 February 2008 at 10:55 pm

  4. winterwoman

    Dear me… such vibrant colors. Seems so odd when I look out the window to steel gray.

    9 February 2008 at 7:18 am

  5. We have many RWBs that nest in a swampy area near our home. I looked for a nest, but it was too wet and mucky to get near. I look forward to their return, likely in a month or so.

    9 February 2008 at 7:48 am

  6. Sweet nest – it’s beautiful to see it and the colors this time of year! I can’t wait to see these birdies again – soon!!

    9 February 2008 at 8:37 am

  7. All these posts are whetting my appetite for sure! Can’t wait to see the eggs once again. The butterfly photo is simply exquisite Tom.

    9 February 2008 at 9:19 am

  8. Great video and photos. Last year in late February, a Red-winged Blackbird came to our feeder for a few minutes and then left, maybe early. I look forward to seeing them this summer along the creek.

    9 February 2008 at 10:20 am

  9. Moe Biggs

    For some reason that Fritillary photo really makes me long for the summer months..

    9 February 2008 at 10:47 am

  10. Lisa at Greenbow

    I can just imagine their ire at you daring to get so close to their nest. They got rid of you didn’t they. tee hee… Their eggs are beautiful. I had never seen them before. We often have whole famlies of RWBL at our feeders through out summer. Frist the males arrive then the males and females feed. Then the females are on the nest and don’t show up then the females and young come in to dine together. Aaaahhhhhhhh A bit of summer I am looking forward to.

    And your butterfly picture is gorgeous. It captures the sun like it is shining here today. Of course it isn’t near as warm as when you took the picture. It is just wonderful to see pictures of sunlight during winter. The flowers and butterflies are a bonus.

    9 February 2008 at 2:47 pm

  11. Red-winged blackbirds mob our birdfeeders all the time. They are so pretty that we let them have their fill. They do chase the other littler birds away though. I particularly like their trilling call. Nice to see those summer colors and that beautiful Meadow Fritillary.

    9 February 2008 at 3:29 pm

  12. naturespalette

    Now I have spring fever.

    9 February 2008 at 7:12 pm

  13. I love red-winged blackbirds. In large flocks, they can clean out feeders in minutes. But they are nice. I’m sorry you ran into the dive-bomber! LOL! He had a job to do and did it well. Your video is great and I like the punch line in this post!

    Beautiful butterfly shot!

    9 February 2008 at 9:33 pm

  14. Wow..once again, awesome pictures. It’s so great to see that there truly is a lot of nature left in the world. Sometimes in suburbia it feels as if there arent’ any wild things left….

    9 February 2008 at 9:58 pm

  15. I love the “Attack of the Killer Blackbirds.” It is also a coming attraction as for many of us Red-winged Blackbirds will soon start showing up after being gone for a few months. Here is south centeral PA I will start seeing them the last week of February.

    10 February 2008 at 6:42 am

  16. lvn600

    I wouldn’t have thought that of RW-Blackbirds.-I know Mockingbirds have made their point to me.-I’ve heard some owls and goshawks mean serious business when they go after you.-Nice job!

    10 February 2008 at 7:11 am

  17. Dear Tom,
    I have enjoyed catching up with your stunning videos and poems. Now you treated us with a taste of spring and summer! I enjoyed Brown Creeper, Deer, and Red Winged Blackbirds! All so beautiful but the Meadow Fritillary is my favorite. I miss the butterflies in the Winter.
    Thanks for warming my morning, it is 11 degrees outside.

    10 February 2008 at 7:18 am

  18. In all fairness something very similar happened with me, hubby and a duck’s nest. Only – he got bit in the inseam of his britches. Um…. consider yourself lucky -maybe? 🙂 Birding isn’t always the friendliest of habits is it? I love your butterfly photo – gorgeous colors – your Fritillary looks so contented. I love that I can now recognize a BB nest. Fabulous.. I learn something every day on your site.

    10 February 2008 at 2:14 pm

  19. TR

    Inspiration for a Hitchcock film! Those eggs are stunning. Hope you have a hard head.

    10 February 2008 at 2:50 pm

  20. Glad you survived! Even the teensiest critters can get right brutal when pressed. Cool on the nest. 🙂

    10 February 2008 at 3:09 pm

  21. Great video Mon@rch!!!…I have not seen a blackbirds nest before although we do have them here in great numbers….and they can get very protective as your video shows…hope the camera is OK. (and your head).
    Thanks also for the link.
    We had one bobolink visit us and all of us birders spent days tromping through the bulb fields looking for him…alas I got no pictures. We also had a Tropical Kingbird here. I love your blog and pictures and video sooooo much.

    10 February 2008 at 6:23 pm

  22. @ Misti – the females do go into hiding! Thanks but for sure winter is here!
    @ Linda – they sreu do! Thanks
    @ Nita – thanks and glad you enjoyed it!
    @ Jen – colors are so much needed this time of the year!
    @ Ruth – they can be tricky but when you find it, wear a hardhat!
    @ Pam – Thanks and shouldn’t be too long!
    @ Jayne – Sorry, sometimes I need those signs of warmer temps!
    @ Joan – They are early visitors and shouldn’t be too long before they return to your feeder!
    @ Moe – ya, I just needed to post that picture!
    @ Lisa – Thanks and sometimes you wish you don’t’ find things! Thanks and the butterfly photos/flowers were needed! Thanks
    @ Robin – I just love there calls! Thanks
    @ Naturespalette – LOL! I did as soon as fall was over!
    @ Mary – thanks and when they come in the groups, look out!
    @ Sherry – thanks for your kind words! I know how much you love the butterflies!
    @ aullori – I think so and isn’t for sure!
    @ TR – LOL, maybe Hitchcock is there fave director! Nope, I didn’t have a hard hat!
    @ Lana – sure did and they can for sure! Thanks
    @ Island – thanks and I have seen them a few times before! Never seen a bobolink nest before though! Thanks again for your kind words!

    10 February 2008 at 7:07 pm

  23. I’ve been warned off, but never dive-bombed by RWBBs – nice find of the nest, and hopefully your injuries weren’t too bad… Beautiful shot of that fritillary, btw.

    11 February 2008 at 12:25 pm

  24. @ Marty – they sure hurt when they hit! I guess I found a nasty one! LOL It got me moving along! I was alright, Thanks!

    11 February 2008 at 5:18 pm

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