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Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds establish roadblock

Cresting a small hill the other day I see a large dark mass across the road. It took me a few seconds to realize exactly what it was – a congregation of Red-winged Blackbirds. There were hundreds, probably thousands, of them there. This image only represents about a third of what was on the road and on each side of it. It was pretty nuts. During the winter these birds will gather like this in these massive flocks, oftentimes segregated by sex. In this case, the majority of these were females (brown colored).

Red-winged Blackbirds congregate on a road in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-winged Blackbirds congregate on a road in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-winged Blackbirds congregate on a road in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-winged Blackbirds congregate on a road in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-winged Blackbird sings the song of spring

The seasons are changing and one sure sign is the singing of these common birds. These birds can be found across much of North America. Here in Colorado they are very common on the plains, usually found near spots with water. Their very distinctive call almost guarantees you will hear them before you see them.

The males, like this one here, are black and have the gorgeous red / orange / yellow accents. Females are brown and quite plain looking. This guy was hanging out near a pond in Thornton, Colorado a couple of days ago making a lot of noise.

A Red-winged Blackbird sings along a pond in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-winged Blackbird sings along a pond in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A massive Blackbird gathering

If Alfred Hitchcock’s movie ‘The Birds’ gives you nightmares, then these images might not be to your liking. 😉 Taken yesterday in rural Adams County, Colorado, I happened across an incredible number of Red Winged Blackbirds along a dirt road.  They perched on a barbed wire fence for a bit and then took flight on one huge flock – literally blocking the view of the mountains.

During the winter, Blackbirds will gather in these huge congregations, often segregated by sex, and sometimes numbering in the millions.

Feel free to count them if you would like – haha. In the case of these images, the flock was composed mostly of females (the brown colored ones), although there were a few males as well (black).

Red Winged Blackbirds gather on a barbed wire fence in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red Winged Blackbirds gather on a barbed wire fence in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A mass of Red Winged Blackbirds takes flight in rural Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A mass of Red Winged Blackbirds takes flight in rural Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A mass of Red Winged Blackbirds takes flight in rural Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A mass of Red Winged Blackbirds takes flight in rural Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A mass of Red Winged Blackbirds takes flight in rural Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A mass of Red Winged Blackbirds takes flight in rural Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Random bird pictures for the day

Certainly my camera is usually focused on raptors or large mammals but every now and then other birds grab my attention. These four are some that I captured images of over the past couple of months.

Great Blue Heron aborted landing. This heron was attempting to land on a very small island at a pond in Longmont, Colorado. Its speed was too great through and it missed the target, splashing its feet in the water for an instant before circling around for another attempt.

Great Blue Heron aborts a landing. (© Tony’s Takes)

Great Blue Heron aborts a landing. (© Tony’s Takes)

Sleepy female Red Winged Blackbird. This little lady was hanging out with a couple dozen of her lady friends in Adams County recently. While the others were raising quite a ruckus, she seemed quite disinterested.

A female Red-Winged Blackbird appears to be catching a nap. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Red-Winged Blackbird appears to be catching a nap. (© Tony’s Takes)

Crow closeup. This Crow was hanging out at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, making lots of noise as they oftentimes do. I suspect it was used to visitors feeding it and it was simply looking for a meal. It certainly was rather tame allowing me to get a nice closeup.

Closeup of a crow in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Closeup of a crow in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Downy Woodpecker hunts for a meal. While out for a walk I heard some light tapping sounds coming from a nearby tree. Investigating I found this nice looking fellow pecking away at a cottonwood tree.

A Downy Woodpecker looks for a meal on a cottonwood tree. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Downy Woodpecker looks for a meal on a cottonwood tree. (© Tony’s Takes)

One of these does not belong

Yellow-headed Blackbirds take flight but among them, a slightly “off color” Red-winged Blackbird. I was lucky enough to find a nice sized group of these this past weekend. Unfortunately they didn’t really want to pose for pictures so I have to be happy with the few shots I got.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds are relatively common although here in Colorado, the Red-winged Blackbird seems to outnumber them. They are usually found in wetland areas so finding them in a dry field of stubble means this group was likely just making a quick stop on their migration route.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds (and one Red-Winged Blackbird) take flight.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Yellow-headed Blackbirds (and one Red-Winged Blackbird) take flight. (© Tony’s Takes)

Male Red-winged Blackbird sounds off

These birds can be found across much of North America and are very common.  Here in Colorado they are very common on the plains, usually found near spots with water.  Their very distinctive call almost guarantees you will hear them before you see them.

The males, like this one here, are black and have the gorgeous red / orange / yellow accents.  Females are brown and quite plain looking.

A male Red-winged Blackbird calls out in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Red-winged Blackbird calls out in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Breakfast is served: Osprey enjoys a meal of fish

My plan was to find some bald eagles in northern Colorado where I had luck last weekend.  Today they were more elusive and nowhere to be found so I found a few other subjects including a hungry osprey.

The goslings, great blue heron and red-winged blackbird are quite common in Colorado this time of year.  The heron, as usual, proved to be the most difficult to get close to and as usual, I ended up with only a parting shot.

The osprey is the male of a pair that nests at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.  She was sitting on her eggs while he had the opportunity to roam around.  He flew off soon after I arrived but returned with his breakfast – a fish.  It was fun watching him eat but I do wish he had cooperated for some good flight shots.

An osprey enjoys his breakfast on a light pole.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An osprey enjoys his breakfast on a light pole. (© Tony’s Takes)