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A noisy sign of spring my photos, my words

A sure sign of spring in Central Ohio is the return of the Red-winged Blackbird. And it's a very noisy return, with the male blackbirds perched atop plants or trees attempting to attract females by flashing their red-and-yellow shoulder patches while belting out a call described by bird web sites as a loud, scratchy conk-a-reeeee or o-ka-leeeee.

I have a number of photos of male Red-winged Blackbirds calling on spring mornings. The birds are so focused on their song that they pay little attention to me with my camera.

A female Red-winged Blackbird carries food while perched in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

While the loud and flashy male Red-winged Blackbirds are easy to spot, the females are more subdued, with streaky brown feathers that blend with the fields where they nest. Some bird books describe the female as looking like a large, dark sparrow. The females often stay hidden in the underbrush or near ground level in fields, looking for food and working on nests.

A male Red-winged Blackbird calls while perched in Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.

Juvenile blackbirds have streaky brown feathers very similar to the female, although the ones I've seen tend to have a buff or yellow tinge on the face and on the tips of some feathers. A sure sign that the bird I'm photographing is a juvenile and not a female is when mom and dad hover just above my head attempting to scare me away.

A female Red-winged Blackbird carries a spider while perched in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

I know when the blackbirds show up in local parks it means colorful warblers, goldfinches and swallows aren't far behind. And my weekend mornings photographing wildlife will be getting busier.

A male Red-winged Blackbird calls from a plant stem in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird carries food while perched in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls while perched in Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird perches atop a plant stem in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Male Red-winged Blackbird calling, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird carries a spider while perched in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls against a colorful background, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird perches in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls on an early spring morning, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird carries food, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird carries food for the nest, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird perches among colorful leaves, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird looks back, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Harbor, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird perches on a branch, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls from a plant in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird stays alert, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Female Red-winged Blackbird calling, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls under a blue sky, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird carries food, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls, Glacier Ridge Metro Park, Plain City, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird perches in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird sits quietly in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird perches on two branches, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird stares, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird perches in a pine tree, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
Male Red-winged Blackbird perched in wetlands, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Harbor, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird calling, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
Male Red-winged Blackbird calling, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Oak Harbor, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird perches on a plant in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Male Red-winged Blackbird perched among plant stems, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird looks around a leaf in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calls in a field in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird carries nesting material, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird calling, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird perches above other plants in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Red-winged Blackbird stands in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Red-winged Blackbird calls in a field, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
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All photos and text © Copyright - Pat D. Hemlepp. All rights reserved.

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All photos and text © Copyright - Pat D. Hemlepp. All rights reserved.

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