The Nike Bird - Red-winged Black Birds bring back good memories

Red-Winged Blackbirds (RWBB) are the harbingers of Spring. But to me, this bird will always remind me of my father, whom we lost about six months ago. This bird was his favorite here in North America, and he called this bird the Nike bird because of the yellow swoosh. I was looking forward to their return this year, as they brought back some beautiful memories of him.

Male RWBBs arrive first to stake out their breeding territories. By early March, I start noticing them in swampy marshes. My heart warms up when I hear the vibrant conk-ka-ree song belted out by a red-winged blackbird sitting on top of a cattail. Here is a photo of the male RWBB defending his territory.

Female RWBBs arrive later, ready to select their mate. Here is a photo of a female RWBB taking a break from building a nest. I think the female RWBBs are very beautiful.

A female red-winged blackbird singing on a male’s territory indicates pairing. While the male sings to defend his territory and attract a female partner, the female makes chit sounds in response to the male song resulting in a duetting. In the photo below, the female was singing a loud teer song to defend her nesting territory from another female nearby.

Male RWBB aggressively defends their nesting territory from other birds like Common Grackles but may share a neutral area. In the photo below, a male Common Grackle was displaying to the females while RWBB was hopping around in the background.

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