I've been waking up in the mornings to the distinctive call of the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), breeeeeeeee-you or konk-la-reeeee. Hearing this call is a good indication that spring has returned. Red-winged blackbirds are common throughout the U.S., you can see them perching on fence posts or here in Nevada on the tops of sagebrush, greasewoods and even cattails. The males are shiny-black with a bright red should patch on each wing, but the shoulder patch may be hidden while they're perched. When they want to show off how manly they are, either for aggression or for courtship, they will puff up their wings and show off how big and bright those patches are. It's stunningly beautiful to see one in flight all puffed up and flashing his patches at his potential lover or enemy. Even though these birds are very common they're fun to watch, see and hear. Yay spring!!!!
Another bird I've been seeing quite a bit of and who was here even during the winter months is the white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys), which for some reason I always want to call the white-capped sparrow... silly me. These birds love the trees in our front yard, black locusts. They also love all the grain that gets spilled while Dan's mom "grains" her horses and that we put in a small bowl for Bodie. I learned about these birds in a college class, but I never actually saw one, until now, which seems a bit weird, but here they are. I'm glad I've been reminded of these sweet little birds with their pretty white and black striped heads. They are a joy to watch float down to the ground to gather up some grain then fly back to perch high in the trees.
Scott, S.L. 198s. Field Guide to the Birds of North America 2nd Ed. National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.