Singing male Red-winged BlackbirdSinging male Red-winged Blackbird – D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/200, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Red-winged Blackbirds are found in every state in the lower 48, Alaska and southern Canada. They prefer wetlands, freshwater marshes, wet meadows and saltwater marshes. It isn’t unusual for me to see Red-winged Blackbirds here in Utah foraging along the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake or while I lived in Florida singing from the tops of mangroves in a Spartina marsh, like the male shown above who was attempting to call in the ladies during breeding season at the north beach of Fort De Soto County Park. I don’t know if this male was successful with the female Red-winged Blackbirds but he sure had me mesmerized with his sleek black feathers and his flashing red, orange and yellow epaulets.

Even though Red-winged Blackbirds are common they are fascinating and challenging subjects because it seems they are active all the time and those black feathers are difficult to expose properly and show fine details in their plumage.

The “common” can be uncommonly beautiful in the right light and setting.