The Crane and the Blackbird


An adult male Red-winged Blackbird weighs about 60.5 grams, with a wing span of about 120 mm.

An adult male Sandhill Crane can weigh 4.8 kilograms, and often has a wing span of 2 meters.

Red-winged Blackbirds nest in clumps of reeds. Sandhill Cranes forage in reeds, and think a Blackbird egg or chick is a pretty tasty meal. You’d think it would be no contest. You’d think the Crane always wins.

You’d be wrong.

Sandhill Crane foraging, Centennial Marsh

Sandhill Crane foraging, Centennial Marsh

Sandhill Crane foraging, Centennial Marsh

The Red-winged Blackbird decides the Crane is too close to the nest

The Blackbird strikes the Crane's butt hard enough the Crane reacts

The Blackbird strikes the Crane’s butt hard enough the Crane reacts

The Blackbird strikes the Crane again

The Blackbird strikes the Crane again

The Crane bugles as the Blackbird comes around again

The Crane bugles as the Blackbird comes around again

The Blackbird strikes the Crane's head, very close to that dangerous bill

The Blackbird strikes the Crane’s head, very close to that dangerous bill

One more strike on the butt to encourage the Crane to keep moving

One more strike on the butt to encourage the Crane to keep moving

The Crane briefly thinks about going back but gives up instead.

The Crane briefly thinks about going back but gives up instead.

The Sandhill Crane was eighty times bigger than the Red-winged Blackbird, but the Blackbird succeeded in driving the Crane away. You see why WC finds birds endlessly fascinating?

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