Thursday, October 10, 2019

Yellow Headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed blackbird on a cattail perch.
I can remember seeing my first yellow-headed blackbird, now some 40 years ago.  The setting was very much like the scene above with it perched on a cattail on the outside of a pond on the edge of a city.  I haven't seen any since then, and this one was a welcome sight.  In my experience, red-winged blackbirds are much more common than their yellow-headed cousins.  Yellow-headed blackbirds prefer to nest in fresh standing water areas thick with bull rushes.  They stick to the center areas which offer more protection and easier access to insects, their main food source.

I was kayaking in a small pond and saw a flash of yellow.  Although there are many birds in Canada that display significant amounts of yellow, few of them are associated with pond edges and commonly perch on the associated vegetation.  Yellow and Wilson's warblers are often found in forested areas.  American goldfinches are often found in fields, especially if thistles are present.  I was hopeful that my glimpse would prove to be a yellow-head.

I continued paddling around the outside of the pond, keeping close to the reeds and on the watch for another sign.  Sure enough, twenty minutes later I spotted one.  The wind had picked up in the meantime.  It took considerable maneuvering to get the boat in the right position for light and visual access.  The reeds in front of it were thrashing back and forth vigorously; I had to take dozens of shots until everything finally lined up.  I am quite pleased with the end result.

Thanks for reading.

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