Yellow-headed Blackbirds are back in numbers

Flock of male Yellow-headed BlackbirdsFlock of male Yellow-headed Blackbirds

Yellow-headed Blackbirds are filling the marshy areas of Utah with their odd mechanical call once again as the males court the females for their annual spring fling. If you have never heard their calls you can listen to it here (about halfway down the page).  I photographed this small flock of male Yellow-headed Blackbirds last April on Antelope Island Sate Park.

Male Yellow-headed BlackbirdMale Yellow-headed Blackbird

The auto tour route at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge is a terrific location to get up close to Yellow-headed Blackbirds where during the peak of breeding season you can see thousand of them flitting about or perched on the top of cattails, grasses and rushes. The males are easily identified by their black bodies and namesake yellow heads.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Thanks for the comments, these Yellow-headed Blackbirds are great fun to photograph

  2. How I’d love to encounter the scene in your first photo! Just beautiful … a window into this vibrant avian community.

  3. Beautiful, my favourite is the first one, superb.

  4. oh, they are GORGEOUS!!!!

  5. So that’s where they’ve all gone:)! They slowly disappear now. From thousands to hundreds to none:)

  6. So cool! Still waiting for my FOY Yellow-headed Blackbird… Living vicariously through your photos is pretty nice though.

  7. Ow wow, the first shot is very cool! Great captures!

  8. What a great-looking group in their environment, Mia. Nice portrait of the individual male as well. They really are very striking birds.

  9. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    We don’t have yellow-headed blackbirds here..just the red-wings…. But the first sounds of their calls sends up great joy as the flocks arrive here for when you hear them you know for sure spring is here… the hard part of winter is over. I don’t know if you have the same joy with the yellow-headed blackbirds. But they surely are beautiful enough to bring joy… all those bobbing spots of sunlight on that ridge. Just lovely.

  10. wow, very nice, it s a good luck to have a group like that, well played mia ☺

  11. Excellent photos, Mia! Yellow-headed Blackbirds are such beautiful birds, I can’t wait for them to return!

  12. What gorgeous birds! I don’t think I’ve ever seen these. Looks like a westward trip is in order. :)

  13. These birds are really lovely! This is the first time I’ve seen/heard them. You’re photographs are beautiful!

  14. Oh my what beauties, I have never seen these ones before. Great photos:)

  15. Wonderful! Love these guys!

  16. Wow! That group shot is amazing!! Have only seen them one at the time.

  17. Very cool! It would be a life for me!

  18. Kathleen Finnerty

    Mia – these are very striking! Your images are always amazing. I wish I could come out west and have you be my photo tour guide!

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