Nests & Eggs: Redwing Blackbird

Plate 6: Redwing Blackbird

Agelaius phoeniceus

Noisy chatterers and social, you will often see them atop cattails or helpfully eating injurious insects and weed seeds.

A black bird with a bright red shoulder patch identifies the adult male. Females and young are a heavily streaked gray-brown while young males are brown with an orange wing patch. In fall and winter the brilliant red shoulder patch is not so apparent, sometimes reduced to only a line.

These numerous birds are slightly smaller than Robins and are abundant along ditches, ponds, lakes or other marshy areas where they nest in rushes, cattails or small bushes surrounding water. Irrigation has increased their habitat until they are one of our common birds. Vast flocks spend the winter in southern marshes.

While nesting in swamps or other low areas, they range widely in search of insects and larvae and account for many which would be injurious to crops. In fall they feed heavily on weed seeds and waste grain. Huge flocks are not welcomed in the unharvested rice fields of the south.

Feeding habits make him a good neighbor to everyone in his northern range before he joins the flocks of Starlings and other birds which flock to the southern areas.

The male is a bigamist on occasion and often entices more than one mate to share his chosen marsh.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol I
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read The Red-winged Blackbird story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate VI: Redwing Blackbird, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Red-winged Blackbird at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The Red-winged Blackbird is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER X. Redwing and Yellow Wing.

Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Redwing Blackbird Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Red-winged Blackbird
Bird picture for notebook.

Redwing the Blackbird
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Includes the red-winged blackbird.

Red-wing Blackbird Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the complete series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series

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