Category Archives: red-winged blackbird

First spring arrival of 2007

red-winged blackbird in snowstorm

Nineteen red-winged blackbirds flew in this morning around 7:30, in the middle of a snowstorm, and joined the other birds mobbing the feeders. This marks the first official 2007 entry in our Spring Arrivals and Blooming Dates list (click on list to magnify). Actually, red-winged blackbirds aren’t a particularly reliable species, since they can show up here on the mountain any time between late February and early April, sometimes well after they’ve returned to the area. They don’t migrate far. They almost always show up at the farm on foggy, rainy mornings in early spring; this is only the second time I can remember them making their first appearance in the middle of a snowstorm. Though one of the most common species in North America, they don’t breed on the mountain, so they’re always a bit of a novelty for us. Sometimes we see large flocks of them in the autumn, too, but in general they stick to the valleys.

The snow tapered off by 11:30 a.m. We got six inches of powder in all. Snowy, wintry Marches have become the norm for us in the last ten years or so: winters tend to start in mid- to late-December and continue through March. That’s a shift of at least two weeks from the 1970s, when I was a kid. This is one of the reasons we’ve kept such careful records of spring arrivals over the years — to help document the seasonal shifts associated with global climate change.

red-winged blackbird in snowstorm 2