On our excursions around Prince Edward Island recently, we see Red winged blackbirds around the remains of last year’s cattails.
Recently, as we picnicked at the New London Lighthouse, we watched the male blackbirds ward off crows who approached areas with blackbird nests.
Our second encounter involves male and female blackbirds. The females are not black or red winged but can often be seen around the cattails as well. Last week, when we stopped by the side of the road to photograph some ducks, a female blackbird landed in the cattails in front of me. She had food in her beak. I stood to watch and photograph her. Even with her beak full, she managed to make a blackbird equivalent of a bleat, then paused, bleated again, on repeat.
I moved on and returned a few minutes later. Mrs., as I dubbed her, was in a different location. She repeated the same sound. Suddenly, a male blackbird about five meters above and two meters in front of me caught my attention. Mr. sang his best songs, and did aerial acrobatics. I had never seen anything like the dynamics of his movement. Just as quickly he was gone so I looked back for the female. She was gone too.
Was the Mrs. taking the food back to babies in her nest among the cattails? Was the bleat-like sound a call to Mr. to provide a distraction so Mrs. could deliver the food safely? It looked like it. We had seen similar behaviour in a pair of song sparrows too.
The more I watch birds, the more I admire their abilities to work together and as parents. Instinct? Whatever it is, it’s amazing!