Spread-eagle Red-winged Blackbird – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/500, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light
Lately I have been seeing people in several groups I belong to on Facebook getting excited because they are seeing Red-winged Blackbirds returning to areas close to where they live after having been absent for the winter, some of the people see the blackbirds as harbingers of spring and I am excited for them.
The last two places I have lived, in Florida and northern Utah, have Red-winged Blackbirds all year long so I don’t really see them as harbingers of spring but at this time of the year the songs and calls of the Red-winged Blackbirds in northern Utah do begin to change and I really enjoy hearing them singing. The numbers of blackbirds increase and I see them perched on the top of phrags, cattails, rushes more often. The marshes surrounding the Great Salt Lake must provide them with enough food to get them through even our harshest winters. The locations where I most often photograph Red-winged Blackbirds here in northern Utah include the marshes at Farmington Bay WMA and Bear River MBR, my local ponds and out on Antelope Island State Park.
In Florida I most often photographed Red-winged Blackbirds at north beach of Fort De Soto County Park where I could reliably find them in the sand dunes, sea oats, spartina and mangroves all year long. I always thought it was wonderful when I could photograph the blackbirds and have the Gulf of Mexico in the background which is the case for the photo above, I photographed this male Red-winged Blackbird as it perched spread eagle on a mangrove with the Gulf behind it not long after the sun had risen at the end of December in 2008. When I look at this photo I can almost hear the waves rushing to the shore along with the calls of all the other birds at the north beach along with the warm sand between my toes.
Life is good.