|An early morning Red-winged Blackbird (11 March 2016)|
The calendar may say that Spring does not begin for another 9 days, but the Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) beg to differ. On Saturday (05 March) I began to hear them in the Lansing area. By Wednesday (09 March) they were everywhere in Mid-Michigan. To be more exact, male Red-winged Blackbirds are everywhere. They are busy trying to impress each other and jockeying for territory. It may take a couple of weeks to sort out which bird ends up with the best places in the landscape. In the meantime, the females should find their way north to Mid-Michigan. They will then set about choosing their own territories (within those of a male). A dominant male bird may have several females living in his territory and will mate with each of them. The females select a mate based on territory - a male with a good territory will more likely have good genes to pass on to his offspring. So it doesn't bother them that their mate may have other mates.