Yellow-headed Blackbird and a Midge

Yellow-headed Blackbird male about to grab a midge from the airYellow-headed Blackbird male about to grab a midge from the air – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

This Yellow-headed Blackbird and a midge image was taken this past Monday at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge in northern Utah. The midges have hatched and are flying around near the auto tour route. I’ve written about the importance of midges before in a post titled  Midges and Birds – Food for Thought.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) can perch on cattails, reeds, rushes or mounds of vegetation and snatch midges right out of the air. Capturing it with my camera was a treat on Monday, that is a midge to the right of the blackbird’s bill.



  1. Julie Brown April 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Great timing! Yellow-headed blackbirds are so striking.

    • Mia McPherson April 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Julie, I did click the shutter button at a wonderful time! Thank you

  2. Laurence Butler April 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Wow Mia nice shot! He seems to eat so luxuriously, the food almost flying into the bird’s mouth.

    • Mia McPherson April 21, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Laurence, the midges are so thick in places that birds don’t have to fly to get them, they just snag them from the air! I am really glad midges do not bite. Thanks very much for your comment.

  3. Carol Mattingly April 20, 2012 at 7:44 am

    We have red winged blackbirds here who have a very distinct call but I’ve never seen yellow headed blackbirds. Beautiful. Carol

  4. Debbie Miller @HooootOwl April 20, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Gorgeous bird! Looks like a beautiful song to hear 🙂

    • Mia McPherson April 21, 2012 at 10:31 am

      It is a very different, mechanical sound and at times it seems the males just can’t stop themselves from singing. Thanks!

  5. Dan Huber April 20, 2012 at 5:26 am

    Great capture Mia; he almost looks too big for that reed.

    • Mia McPherson April 21, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Dan, they are heavy on the reeds and cattails. Fun birds to watch! Thank you.

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