While most Red-winged Blackbirds leave our area by November it is not unusual for a few of them to stick around and attempt to overwinter here. They are regularly found in small numbers during our local Christmas bird counts and you can see they are well represented on this eBird map during winter months. The one pictured here has taken up residence in New Haven making regular visits to Craig Zondag’s bird feeders. As for why one might not leave with the majority, it could be that an inexperienced immature bird like this one just didn’t know how far south it should go, or that having found a good consistent food source it felt no reason to go further. Another theory as to why they might attempt to overwinter is that staying as far north as possible gives a bird a competitive advantage when it comes time to set up a breeding territory in the spring by allowing them to be the first to a site. In any case, it will just be a few short weeks before large flocks of males start descending on marshes around our area and begin singing their spring-announcing “kon-ko-ree” song.

– Ron Payne