[Tweeters] Have Wings, Will Travel

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign15 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 28 13:08:49 PDT 2021

Lately a new bird has been showing up at my feeder, dressed in black and packing a sharp beak.

Slightly larger than the typical feeder birds here ( Juncos, House Finches, 4 species of Sparrows, Spotted Towhees, 2 species of Chickadees, Nuthatches, and occasionally others), this bird seems to cause all the smaller seedeaters to clear out of my little seed saloon. The bird is a male Red-winged Blackbird. While seemingly not that aggressive it’s hard to tell because it mere presence seems to be enough. The only other feeder visitor that causes a similar reaction is the larger Steller’s Jay.

Normally the feeder hierarchy is within species - juncos hassle juncos,Finches hassle finches,Towhee’s hassle Towhee’s. An exception to this was one day when a Towhee and a Sooty Fox Sparrow (both leaf-kickers) got into it like a couple of barnyard roosters - fighting claw to claw about a foot off the ground. No winner there.

My favorites are the Little Thieve's - the little Chickadee’s and Nuthatches who sneak into the fray and steal a single sunflower seed and fly off with it without being noticed. Sometimes they just drop down into the nearby Japanese Maple, but the Nuthatches typically haul them across the yard, or into the next door yard.

The Blackbird however makes a quarter mile trip down to the waterfront. I just noticed this the other day when I spooked it and watched as it flew high over several yards, over Sims Way, and over some mid-sized firs, then dropping down to the beach where I know there is a small patch of cattails suitable for Red-wings. That crazy blackbird is out there now, braving 20 to 30mph gusts. The Sound loaded with fast-moving whitecaps.

Jeff Gibson
Port Townsend Wa

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