Yes, we’ve looked at North American blackbirds before but spring migration is getting under way. And for WC, blackbirds are the very icon of spring migration.
The Red-winged Blackbird is perhaps the most abundant and most commonly studied bird of North America. In Idaho’s limited wetlands, the males’ calls are almost deafening. Idaho shares this species with Alaska.
The call of the Yellow-headed Blackbird would be among the least melodious bird songs in North America. But it is a spectacularly colorful bird. The species has been seen in Alaska but doesn’t breed there.
Among blackbirds, the Brewer’s is the king of sheen. In flat light or low light, it looks drab, but in sinlight it’s pure flash. Another bird that is rarely seen in Alaska but very common in Idaho.
Rusty Blackbird breeds in the boreal forest, including Alaska, but is only accidental in Idaho. This species migration path takes it into the eastern United States. The species is in catastrophic decline, and the reasons are not known.
There’s another North American blackbird, the Tricolored Blackbird. It’s endemic to California. WC really needs to get some photos of the species.
Sorry, but Paul McCartney’s song is pretty lame in comparison with the real thing.