The Blackbirds of Summer

By josh • Nature, Wildlife • 19 Jul 2012

I will admit occasional disdain for red-winged blackbirds. ┬áSure, their ebullient “chick-o-ree” is among the most welcome sounds of spring in these parts, but by midsummer I’ve tired of their dominance of our marshes, their visual and auditory clutter that makes it difficult, say, to hear the mutterings and rustlings of the least bittern you’ve been stalking for months.

Even the males’ gaudy epaulets, so striking in spring, have faded and frayed by June and July. ┬áThe males are difficult to photograph as well; their jet-black plumage becomes a muddy, noisy mess without significant exposure compensation (note the blown highlights on the otherwise well-exposed image below, which I’ve left unedited for illustrative purposes, or because I’m lazy and short on time).

So here, in mid-July, I spare a few moments for the noble red-wings, who probably deserve more goodwill from me than they’ll ever get.

Red-winged blackbird

Red-winged blackbird, West Rutland Marsh, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 400

Red-winged blackbird

Red-winged blackbird, West Rutland Marsh, Canon 400mm f/5.6L at f/7.1, 1/400s, ISO 400

 

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2 Responses

  1. Ron Payne

    Looks like the female caught an Army Worm. Very praise-worth.

  2. She did! The male had just polished off a beautiful little damselfly (some sort of bluet I think) though, so maybe they even out.

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