A Red-winged Blackbird arrives with a beak full of carefully selected grasses that she will artfully weave into a nest cup, creating a nursery for her future family.
You can read more about Red-winged Blackbirds here at my "Wild & Free Montana" website.
Behind the lens.
As kids, I think every one of us has made a mustache of grass or moss or some such item. And that's what this photograph reminds me of -- I smile every time I view it.
Female Red-winged Blackbirds are pretty easy to identify, as long as they're in the marsh where you'd expect them. But move them into a different habitat and it gets surprisingly hard.
I was leading a flock of people on a bird walk once when I noticed a group of mottled brown birds perched in the branches halfway up a tree. Seeing a chance to make mischief, I pointed out the birds and asked my birders to identify them. Gasp -- no one could, but only because they'd never seen them in a tree before.
I knew this would happen because, a few days earlier, the same female blackbirds had fooled me.
birdblackbirdRedwinged BlackbirdnestnestingMontanaJohn Ashley