Bird Lore: Red-winged Blackbird

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Red-winged Blackbird
Photo by LeRoy VanHee

The Red-winged Blackbird is widely distributed throughout North America. In summer it can even be found in parts of Alaska. It is considered to be one of the most abundant birds in North America with an estimated population of 190 million. The male has its characteristic red shoulder patches or epaulets that are trimmed with yellow. Although its population seems to vary a bit from year to year, this species is a consistent resident of the Edmonds Marsh and surrounding areas that host cattails. While this blackbird is closely associated with farmland, its preferred breeding habitat is cattails. Thus, it can usually be seen in the cattail sections of the marsh on either side of Edmonds Way, as well as around the pond at the end of the Point Edwards public path. The Red-winged Blackbird will come to feeders, particularly in rural areas. During the winter in Edmonds, a small population can be seen using feeders at a condominium on Second Avenue near the eastern section of the marsh.

Carol Riddell, author of our new “Bird Lore” feature, manages the bird education displays, on behalf of Pilchuck Audubon Society and Edmonds Parks & Recreation, at the Olympic Beach Visitor Station.

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