I was surprised to see a few Red-Winged Blackbirds here in the last several days. I heard them before I saw them as they have a really raspy, gurgle-like, high-pitched call. They are a about the same size as a blue jay or a robin. The males are black with a bright patch of both yellow and orange on each wing near the shoulders. The Red-Winged Blackbird females are more of a brown streaked buff color without the bright wing color bars. In fact, the females look much like large sparrows. Amazing!
Red-Winged Blackbirds often flock in large numbers but I only saw about five here yesterday. These are likely an advanced scouting group. The Red-Winged Blackbirds eat grains, and seeds mostly but do enjoy insects. They are often seen perched on the seed heads of the Cattail rushes on the shores of lakes, ponds, and river marshes. I took these photographs in my yard on March 2, 2012, and also yesterday afternoon. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!