Autumn Red-winged Blackbird at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

/, Birds, Box Elder County, Red-winged Blackbirds, Utah/Autumn Red-winged Blackbird at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Autumn Red-winged BlackbirdAutumn Red-winged Blackbird – Nikon D810, f11, 1/200, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Last week I photographed this male Red-winged Blackbird on the top of a cattail from the side of the road. I was only able to get a few images before this blackbird flew away. I like the autumn colors in the background, how the light fell on the blackbird and how I can see the brownish tones of his iris. I also like this composition because of the straight line created by the cattail and the softness created by the curves of the blackbird.

There are large flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge right now feeding on the seeds of the common sunflowers that are found along the road and out in the fields. They also appear to be feeding on the seeds of the thistles that are mixed in with the sunflowers. Although most of the Yellow-headed Blackbirds have migrated I will be able to see some of the male Red-winged Blackbirds throughout the winter, the females seem to disappear until spring but research has shown that the females and hatch year birds migrate about 140 miles further than the males do.

Life is good. Embrace it today.


(I messed up, originally I said this was taken at Farmington Bay WMA, it was actually taken at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge)


  1. Mia McPherson October 30, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Thank you all for your comments!

  2. Deedee OBrien October 30, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Okay. Photography help, please. What were the distances between you and the bird AND between the bird and the background. I would have thought F11 would have a detailed background.

    • Mia McPherson October 30, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Deedee, the vegetation in the background was a long way from the bird, if it had been closer to the bird then there would have been much more detail visible at f11.

  3. Utahbooklover October 29, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    I love this image. In addition to what you mentioned, the metallic feathers stand out.

  4. Elephant's Child October 29, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Such a beautiful bird, that I will probably not see for myself. Megathanks.

  5. Jane Chesebrough October 29, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I thought the detail was nice in my inbox but on-site this is WOW!

  6. Patty Chadwick October 29, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Glad to see you posting! I like this image for all the reasons you do. He certainly is one sleek, shiny, handsome dude!

  7. Bob Mcpherson October 29, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Beautiful image, Mia. Love the Blackbirds. Song too.

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