Bird Watchers digest says:It's a sure sign of spring here in Northwest Indiana when you hear the conk-a-ree of the male red-winged blackbird. As he gives his call, announcing himself loudly to rivals and potential mates alike, he spreads his shoulders just so, showing bright red and yellow epaulets against his black wings. Redwings are medium-sized (8 3/4 inches long) blackbirds with an all-black body, and orange-red and yellow patch on the shoulder and nearly conical black bill. Females are streaky brown overall, but their longer bill helps separate them from the sparrows. Wet meadows, cattail marshes, upland grasslands and pastures are all breeding habitat for the redwings and we have all of those habitat terrains here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast here in Northwest Indiana. Songbird Prairie is a certified wildlife Habitat. The redwing's diet is mostly plant matter-weed seeds, grain, sunflower seeds, and tree seeds-along with some insects, all of which are gleaned from the ground. They will also visit a feeding station, and they do just that here at Songbird Prairie. The nesting habits start early for the red-winged blackbird, with males singing from an exposed perch on their territories as early as April in Northwest Indiana. Females choose a nest site on a male's territory and build a cup-shaped grass nest that is suspended from vertical supporting vegetation. Mud forms the foundation of the nest and soft grasses are the inner lining. Clutch size is three to four eggs, and the female alone incubates them for 10-13 days. Both parents care for the nestlings for about two weeks, until they are ready to leave the nest.
Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast located in Northwest Indiana near the Dunes National Lakeshore. www.songbirdprairie.com