[Tweeters] Red-Winged Blackbirds question & Intergrade Flicker

Dee Dee deedeeknit at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 3 14:22:01 PDT 2018

For most of this week we have had a varying flock (between 10 and up to ~20, not all necessarily come at the same time) Red-Winged Blackbirds (will use RWBL for brevity) visiting our yard near Edmonds. Their target is a large clump of sunflowers in our vegetable garden approximately 12 feet from the house (planted last winter by a squirrel).
Of interest, I have only seen 1 female occasionally appear in this flock...all of the others appear to be first-year and adult non-breeding males, verified by glimpses of red as they flutter about in the clump. I have watched carefully for individuals not showing red and all but one have had the appearance of males.
Does anyone know if it’s normal for a flock of male RWBL to hang out together at this time of year, or is this just coincidence? My experience with these birds is limited to observing them in a marsh/lakeside habitat; I have no experience with their behavior outside of breeding/nesting season and now am curious.

Besides the blackbirds, we are still enjoying Goldfinches, Juncos, Black-Capped Chickadees, White- and Golden-Crowned Sparrows, Towhees, Bewick’s Wrens, a Song Sparrow, and Flickers. Between the “clingers” and the “ground gleaners” nothing is going to waste. And of course an Eastern Gray Squirrel...frankly, I am happily amazed that there are still any seeds to keep ‘em coming, since the sunflowers have hosted daily banquets all Autumn.

Also want to mention that yesterday there was an intergrade Flicker on the sunflowers. It had orange-red underwings and a red malar but a very distinct red nape crescent band. I got some poor but feature-discernible pictures through the window with my phone showing the malar and nape. We have had intergrades on a regular basis the past several years, sometimes with yellow shafts and varying definition of nape bands but usually with indistinct, brownish malar so this one was interesting to observe.

Edmonds area

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