when do black birds lay eggs

MarshesRed-winged Blackbirds spend the breeding season in wet places like fresh or saltwater marshes and rice paddies. You may also find them breeding in drier places like sedge meadows, alfalfa fields, and fallow fields. Occasionally, Red-winged Blackbirds nest in wooded areas along waterways. In fall and winter, they congregate in agricultural fields, feedlots, pastures, and grassland.Back to top

InsectsRed-winged Blackbirds eat mainly insects in the summer and seeds, including corn and wheat, in the winter. Sometimes they feed by probing at the bases of aquatic plants with their slender bills, prying them open to get at insects hidden inside. In fall and winter they eat weedy seeds such as ragweed and cocklebur as well as native sunflowers and waste grains.Back to top

ShrubRed-winged Blackbirds build their nests low among vertical shoots of marsh vegetation, shrubs, or trees. Females choose the nest site with some input from the male. Typically, she puts the nest near the ground (or water surface in a marsh), in dense, grass-like vegetation such as cattails, bulrushes, sedges, and Phragmites in wetlands; goldenrod, blackberry, or willow and alder trees in uplands; and wheat, barley, alfalfa, and rice plants.

Females build the nests by winding stringy plant material around several close, upright stems and weaving in a platform of coarse, wet vegetation. Around and over this she adds more wet leaves and decayed wood, plastering the inside with mud to make a cup. Finally, she lines the cup with fine, dry grasses. One nest picked apart by a naturalist in the 1930s had been made by weaving together 34 strips of willow bark and 142 cattail leaves, some 2 feet long. When finished the nest is 4 to 7 inches across and 3 to 7 inches deep.

Ground ForagerMale Red-winged Blackbirds spend much of the breeding season sitting on a high perch over their territories and singing their hearts out. Females tend to slink through reeds and grasses collecting food or nest material. Both males and females defend nests from intruders and predators. Red-winged Blackbirds nest in loose groups in part because appropriate marshy habitat is scarce. Typically five or more (up to 15) females have to crowd their nests into any one male’s territory. They typically mate with the territory holder, though many also mate with nearby males. In fall and winter, Red-winged Blackbirds flock with other blackbirds, grackles, cowbirds, and starlings, feeding on open ground and roosting in flocks of thousands or millions of birds. Red-winged Blackbirds are strong, agile fliers.Back to top

Though they may be one of the most abundant native birds on the continent, Red-winged Blackbird populations declined by about 0.72 per year throughout most of their range between 1966 and 2019, resulting in a cumulative estimated decline of 28% according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 180 million, down from 190 million in 1974. The species rates an 8 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, indicating a species of low conservation concern.

Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye (1988). The Birders Handbook. A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds, Including All Species That Regularly Breed North of Mexico. Simon and Schuster Inc., New York, NY, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. (2020). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2020. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2020.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Link (2019). The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2019. Version 2.07.2019. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

Yasukawa, Ken and William A. Searcy. (1995). Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Although they are year-round residents of the UK, you are much more likely to see blackbirds in the winter and during the fledging and breeding seasons. When Scandinavian Blackbirds arrive in the winter to take advantage of the slightly warmer climate, native populations will increase significantly. These northern European birds will then return in the early spring to begin the breeding season.

The majority of Blackbirds appear to hop quickly along the ground, even at a young age, searching for food among the leaves, dirt, and undergrowth. They are gregarious birds that do not flee from people easily, though it is unlikely that you will ever see a Blackbird perch on your hand like the ubiquitous Robin.

Blackbirds are a fiercely territorial bird, especially in smaller areas. Though not quite as combative as Robins, they are nonetheless fiercely adamant about their territory. A Blackbird will rarely stay on its territory in search of abundant food; instead, it will frequently venture farther in search of filling food.

With about 6,000,000 breeding pairs, the common European Blackbird is one of the most prolific birds in the United Kingdom. Turdus merula, its Latinate name, is a binomial name that combines the words Turdus, which means “thrush,” and merula, which means “blackbird.” The song, rounded heads, and pointed wings of the approximately 65 species of thrushes are used to classify them. It appears that the Island Thrush in South East Asia is the ancestor of the common blackbird that is found in the UK.

Blackbirds can begin breeding as early as March and continue through the end of July. Blackbirds normally produce two to three broods during the breeding season, though records have shown that they can produce as many as four in a single season. Of course, a lot depends on the weather because brood numbers can be affected by dryer or wetter conditions.

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FAQ

Where do Blackbirds make their nest?

The birds typically nest in shrubs or trees near water, but may also nest in reeds and cattails or, occasionally, on the ground or in tree cavities.

Do Blackbirds sit on their eggs all the time?

The female blackbird sat on the nest conscientously every day for two weeks. I assumed she was sitting on eggs, but did not look in. At about 13-14 days there was more activity. The female left the nest more frequently and The male came to the nest from time to time and seemed to be looking into it and attending to it.

What month do birds build nests?

For most of us in North America, April is the month where birds build nests that will last all season. We’ve observed and removed hundreds of birds and nests over the years.

Do birds nest in the same place every year?

MYTH: Birds use nests all year long. Once chicks fledge, adults and young do not typically continue to use the nest. However, some birds will return to the same general areas to nest year after year.