In the same walk that netted me these deer photos I also apparently wandered into the breeding territory of a male Red-winged Blackbird. Unfortunately for the bird and its offspring it had chosen rather marginal turf to try to breed in, in little tiny patches of cattails along a path. Needless to say, he was not happy with my intrusion. I was happy though, as I spent a couple minutes getting close-range flight shots of him as he circled me me while raising a ruckus.

Red-winged Blackbird

I’ve noticed that Red-winged Blackbirds don’t do their “honk-a-rhee” territorial song when trying to drive away an intruder that they perceive as a potential predator. Instead they make a bunch of clucking sounds and often belt out a three-part, high-pitched whistle.

Red-winged Blackbird

When I continued past the bird he settled down and went back to the good old standby, “honk-a-rhee!”

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.