Friday, March 11, 2016

A Change in Seasons

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. 

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