Springtime Yellow-headed Blackbird Male

Springtime Yellow-headed BlackbirdSpringtime Yellow-headed Blackbird – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yellow-head Blackbirds made their presence known at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge two days ago by displaying and because of their odd mechanical calls that sound like a rusty metal gate opening and closing. These blackbirds show up at the refuge in large numbers in early spring and start competing with their slightly smaller relatives; Red-winged Blackbirds, for the prime nesting territories in the marshes. Male Yellow-headed Blackbirds are quite flashy with their bright yellow heads contrasting against their dark bodies and the prominent white patches on their wings, the females are much duller in comparison.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds are easy to see at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge from the auto tour route  where they can be found in the cattails, rushes and phragmites or in the grasses next to the road. I saw a couple of these blackbirds snatching midges out of the air two days ago and a few males displaying on the muddy road.

When I saw just the head and chest of this Yellow-headed Blackbird partially hidden in the phragmites two days ago I felt I had to take this photo because this is how I frequently see these blackbirds, nearly hidden in their marshy environment. The flash of bright yellow catches my eyes though.

Spring is always an exciting time at the refuge because of the birds I find there.

Life is good.


In my post yesterday I forgot to mention that I also saw my first of season swallows at the refuge, I don’t know how I forgot to mention that.



  1. Patty Chadwick March 29, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Wish we had these beautiful birds…glad we can see them on your photos…phragmites give us an indicator of their true size…interesting!

  2. Elephants Child March 29, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    What an absolutely glorious splash of sunshine.

  3. Ken Schneider March 29, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Very nice photo in habitat! At Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico I saw a tree absolutely covered by Yellow-headed Blackbirds. It was an amazing sight.

  4. Bob mcpherson March 29, 2018 at 7:18 am

    Beautiful photo,Mia.

  5. Liz Cormack March 29, 2018 at 6:30 am

    When you mentioned the Yellow-headed Blackbirds yesterday, I was hoping that you would post photos. And you have. Thank you. Such a beautiful bird.

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