A Red-winged Blackbird came to the backyard on June 14, 2011. I had not seen any Blackbirds here in the yard before. I do know that a small flock lives about a half-mile away along the shore of a small lake. The Red-winged Blackbirds are fond of cattail and often can be seen snacking at the top of the Cattail reeds. The Red-winged Blackbird male is black with very dark brown and has a small red and yellow patch on each wing. The red patch is especially well seen when the male is in flight. The female looks a lot like a large sparrow and is brown with lots of streaks of buff and dark brown. They are about the same size as a Cardinal or a smaller Blue Jay.
The Red-winged Blackbirds eat insects, seeds, nuts, berries, and smaller fruits. The Red-winged Blackbirds can sometimes be a pest to farmers when gathering in extra-large flocks as they eat grains. Red-winged Blackbirds are quite common throughout the United States. I know from personal experience that some male Red-wing Blackbirds can dive-bomb people and snatch strands of hair to add to nests. This seldom happens but did happen once to me when I lived in Northern California many years ago! I do like these birds and think that the males are quite handsome. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.