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Signs of Spring: New bird at the feeder

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I spotted this fellow today, and if I hadn't gotten a picture, I could never have identified it. It appears that this is an immature male Red-Winged Blackbird!

The male red-wings come north about two weeks before the females, to establish territories. I've seen a marsh alive with the males, down in Massachusetts, in the third week of March. Still, with temperatures in single digits last night, winds gusting to 20 mph, and an inch and a half of new snow, it would seem that he is, as they say Down East, "a mite previous"!

Perhaps last night's storm brought him farther north than intended (most small birds migrate at night) - or maybe they're just a hardy breed, in which case I should soon see some more. Meanwhile, this fellow's going to need to put in a molt before he tries to claim a territory!

[One of the interesting things about the new cameras allowing easier "close-ups" is that you see enough detail to confuse matters. The bird is described in one of my bird books as "black body", which it would appear at a distance, since the delicate herringbone pattern of the feathers wouldn't be visible. On the other hand, you'd have to be mighty lucky to see the "brown edge on the feathers" even through binoculars.]
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pkin38

It is nice to see the birds coming back ... You know then spring is almost here .... Beautiful photo...

dondi

I thought of doing an inset of the front view (I got many pictures, and chose this one for the best view of the identifying features, including bill shape and brown edge to the flight feathers), but decided that, since it's more of the same herringbone speckling, it didn't add anything which couldn't be seen in this picture, and would require making the bird smaller in this image. The one interesting thing which I couldn't show is how striking the double eye-stripe is when seeing it straight on. The bird in the apple tree showed that in the binoculars, but when I opened the window, the doves flew from my feeder, and the red-wing changed position in response, to the side view shown in the next picture.

warbler

Over the years, I've had a few stray juveniles come through early and a few females also. It's a great photo-I wish it showed the breast more but you can't get it all. Consequently its a great showing of the back.

pumpkinhead

Being able to take pictures of birds sure does help in identifying them. Well done.
The birds are a bit confused, I think. We had a bluebird in the yard earlier this week, and a friend around the corner has seen 2 of them.

cinderfire

Terrific photo dondi. And always like the information you give for us. Hope this little one doesn't get frozen in this darn cold.

jyl

Great information and great capture! Thank you. He looks very similar to the adult female and only a pic as good as yours shows the differences.

Songbird, those are Mourning Doves. Very common over much of USA, and southern Canada

smllpkg101

Very pretty in it's immature state. Lucky he found your feeding station!

songbirdj

and are those pigeons beside him?

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