From Birding

Lifebird #14 – An Unusual Yardbird

Red-winged BlackbirdWhen Joann and I saw a Red-winged Blackbird in our yard in the fall of 2003, we didn’t realize how unusual this would be for us. As I write this several years later, we haven’t seen another.[1] Seen another in our yard, that is. There is no shortage of this species, and during breeding season, they can be found near just about any semi-hospitable drop of standing water in the country. But there isn’t even a semi-hospitable spot of habitat in our yard, and October is a little late for this species in our part of the state to boot. But there he was (it was a male), taking a brief respite in the trees near our feeders, no doubt pointed in a southerly direction.

The photo at the top of this page was taken much later, on a trail at the Bass Ponds unit of the Minnesota River Valley National Wildlife Reserve in Bloomington, Minnesota. This male wasn’t very happy to see me approaching his territory, and was warning me away vocally and with an aggressive display of the wing patches that gives his species its name.

Species  Red-winged Blackbird / Agelaius phoeniceus
Where Home, Little Canada, MN
When October 2003
Who Joann
Number 14

See lifebird index.

Red-winged BlackbirdFemale Red-winged BlackbirdA male Red-winged Blackbird


  1. This has proved to not be true of our Shoreview yard. Here, where we have lived since the early fall of 2011, our backyard is lousy with these birds every summer since they first found our feeders and birdbath in the late summer of 2013. They are a mixed blessing. [^]