The bright Spring sun fills the Marsh and I bring the big blue truck to a halt on the edge of the single lane road. The windows hum as they slide down into the doors. I have come specially for the Red-winged Blackbirds and I have a secret weapon to bring them in. A digital recording of a male singing. With the windows down and the volume on 10 I start the playback and quietly sip my coffee. It’s not long before there’s a rustling sound in the cattails to my left.
The marsh is full of Red-winged Blackbirds and I’ve gotten the attention of a female. Like most birds the females color scheme is all about camouflage. Her reply to the song is few chirps followed by a high pitched cackle. She stays low in the reeds for most of encounter. Meanwhile, her boyfriend is not happy about a new singer on his stage and he isn’t shy about challenging the unseen newcomer.
He stays on the tops of the cattails showing his red and calling his long trilling song.
The Female, sensing how close her boyfriend was to ritual combat moved a little deeper into the cattails.
The the male finally zeroed in on source of the strange voice in his marsh. He came in like a fighter jet. He was so quick and agile that I couldn’t get him in frame. At one point I thought that he was coming in the window. But he pulled up short deftly landed on the cattail that was only a few feet from my window.
Male Red-winged Blackbird 41120b
He took several hard looks into the cab of the truck from his perch.
Image Titled Male Red-winged Blackbird 41120c.
I suppose that he couldn’t figure out if I was a really big bird or something else.
Image Titled “Male Red-winged Blackbird 41120cd
Eventually I turned the soundtrack off and that’s when he turned back to his love. In his mind he’d vanquished his rival.
Image Titled “She Waits”
It was only after the male returned to her side that she moved out of the hiding place and back to top of the cattails.
With the lovers reunited it was time for the big blue truck to move on. As I pulled out a final glance into the rearview mirror revealed that the two birds were perched together.
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