ARTISTS AND BIRDS
"A Lucky Fluke"
While coming home from Salt Lake City, we decided to take a break from driving and turned off the freeway to check out Yuba State Park. This is always a favorite getaway for us, with the beautiful lake and the remoteness of the area. The lake was loaded with rafts of migrating ducks. We got some great pictures. Three miles down the road we spotted power poles and power lines loaded with birds, so we pulled over to get a better look. They were Blackbirds, and the males were practicing their musical scales trying to impress the females. To humans their song sounds like rusty hinges on an old wooden gate. We pulled out our binoculars to get a better view of the Blackbird Choir and what a surprise . . . we were looking at a flock of migrating Yellow-headed Blackbirds!
Gotta get a picture. Gotta get closer. Gotta move the vehicle. No sooner did we roll toward the power poles, than the flock flew away. What a disappointment! The few times we have seen Yellow-headed Blackbirds have always been a 'fluke'. That’s why I never miss a chance to look into a flock of Blackbirds, because I might see a Yellow-headed one. I look for that beautiful yellow head, yellow breast, and white wing patch on a black body.
The Yellow-headed Blackbirds spend their summers
in the Western United States and Canada. The males
are the first to show up. The females follow. When
winter comes, they spend it in Arizona, New
Mexico, and points south. Blackbirds are generally
not found far from water and marshland. They
thrive on seeds and the rich insect life of wet
areas. If you are lucky enough to see a flock of
Blackbirds, look into the flock and search for
that yellow head. And if you do find one, consider
it a 'lucky fluke'.
Marilyn Davis is the artist this week. If you have
questions about Blackbirds or the upcoming Red
Cliffs Audubon General Meeting with Heber Meeks
discussing "The Aspen Regeneration Project" -
Wednesday, May 11, 7:00 - call 435 673-0996.
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