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Evidence of Spring

 
Posts: 96
Location: Southern Manitoba...bald(ish) prairie, zone 2b/3
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Sunday was a definitive day for me to call it spring.  The morning walk with the standard poodle revealed the ice had piled up on the Assiniboine River but it was much more open than 24 hours previously.  On Saturday morning I thought I saw wood ducks, but they were across the river (on the north side where it gets more sun therefore melts quicker) and I couldn't be certain.  There was a bunch of at least 10 on the south side of the river Sunday morning.  My wife drove along the river in the afternoon and noted it was pretty ice free.

I went to the acreage and most of the snow was gone.  However, the bird life had returned.  In addition to dark-eyed juncos, which stick around for the winter, and the house sparrows which don't bring me joy, I saw the first red-winged blackbirds of the year as well as common grackles.  I also saw a pair of hawks, but couldn't get a good ID.  I also heard western meadowlarks and killdeer - I think I saw killdeer flying but couldn't be certain, although I did see a pair along the highway on my way back to the city.

20240407DSC_0502Junco.jpg
Junco
Junco
20240407DSC_0511RWblackbird.jpg
Red-winged blackbird
Red-winged blackbird
20240407DSC_0527sparrow.jpg
From what I've been able to gather, possibly a fox sparrow passing through
From what I've been able to gather, possibly a fox sparrow passing through
20240407DSC_0532fly.jpg
Smaller than a bird, but we don't see them outside in winter
Smaller than a bird, but we don't see them outside in winter
20240407DSC_0576RWblackbird.jpg
Red-winged blackbird
Red-winged blackbird
 
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I adore red-winged black birds! Thanks for sharing.
 
Derek Thille
Posts: 96
Location: Southern Manitoba...bald(ish) prairie, zone 2b/3
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Ashley Cottonwood wrote:I adore red-winged black birds! Thanks for sharing.



Until we purchased our acreage (2008) and we started digging into bird identification (male RWBs are easy...we had enough other species I wasn't familiar with, so books started being procured), I hadn't realized it was only males that are black with the wing bands.  I also didn't know that the coloured portion grows, so young males show less colour on their wings than older males.

Just guessing, but I wonder if their winter plumage doesn't include the wing bands...the looks of the ones I saw were much more muted than I'm used to seeing, so either they are coming in, or perhaps younger birds return earlier in the spring than the more mature birds.
 
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