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Thread subject: Red Wing Blackbird
Name Date Message
Celeste 06/14/05 06:29 am When I saw the RWBB fly low across the nest, I thought I would learn more about the bird.

1. they breed 1-3 broods each season 3-5 eggs ...incubate for 11 days and fledge in 11 days.

2. In states who grow grain they gather in large numbers and commit havoc. They are shot in great numbers and also attacked by hawks.

3. They compensate the farmer by eating grub worms, caterpillars, etc. that are problems for vegetation. They will eat "12 thousand million" in a single season. They also like wild bird seed from feeders.
4. nests are in reeds and grasses in bushes 3-8 ft high.
5. A male RW can hide their red patch when they don't want to draw attention to themselves.

6. Male RW will fly up to "greet intruders into his territory". They have been seen chasing crows, herons, deer, other birds and have struck humans on the heads!
Tim P 06/14/05 08:38 am Like you Celeste I think the RWBB has a nest in the bottom of the osprey nest. I cant think of any other reason why there would be so much torment by this bird.
Anne 06/14/05 11:59 am It is fascinating to see the way small birds mob larger birds and predators. How big is the RWBB? Does it belong to the thrush family?
Cecilia 06/14/05 04:44 pm 7 to 9 inches, Icterids...Cowbirds, Grackles etc.
Birds of North America had this interesting tidbit:

"Although the Red-winged Blackbird varies in size geographically, adults of all populations are sexually dimorphic in size, plumage, and behavior. The male is larger, possesses the more conspicuous definitive adult plumage, and is more conspicuous in his behavior than is the female. In addition to its striking sexual dimorphism, the Red-winged Blackbird is also known for its polygynous social system. Up to 15 females have been observed nesting on the territory of a single male, making this one of the most highly polygynous of all bird species. Recent molecular studies have shown that territory owners do not necessarily sire all of the nestlings on their territories, which demonstrates that females as well as males often copulate with more than one partner during a breeding season and even for a single nesting attempt."

So...maybe what we have here is a Red Winged Blackbird Harem tucked in below the nest with a very defensive "Master" :-)

Marie 06/14/05 09:31 pm I don't think that RWBB would nest in the bottom of a stick nest. Their nest is usually a deep cup of long leaves and stems woven tightly around the upright supports, with a layer of broken plant material and fibres, roots, decayed leaves, and some mud. Also lined with fine dry grasses or thin rushes. They build usually over water in marshes, swamps, or wet meadows, all of which are at Brook Haven. Yes.I would imagine that this RWBB must have a breeding partner very close to the osprey nest in the marsh below.
House sparrows would love the twigs below the osprey nest in which to breed. They do here in Victoria.

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006