Yellow-Headed Blackbirds

This gallery contains 3 photos. Last year, I was fortunate enough to encounter the female Yellow-Headed Blackbird at Manning Park. This year, I saw not one but three adult males (and at least one female)–the former calling attention to themselves with their golden heads and breasts–at Iona Island Regional Park on May 12.

taken some 50 feet away. note the black around the eyes, and the white patch on the wings.

f/9, 1/800, 500mm, ISO 640

However, unlike their smaller, Red-Winged cousins, there isn’t a golden voice to go with those golden colours; the less-than-melodious croaks of the Yellow-Headed Blackbirds have been likened to a rusty farm gate opening (read the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s profile on said singer).

this YHBL would fly from bulrush to bulrush as he kept an eye on his turf.

f/9, 1/800, 500mm, ISO 640

Frequent sparring matches broke out as the visiting Yellow-Headed Blackbird males clashed with the more familiar Red-Winged Blackbird males in the marshes at Iona Island. Yet these seasonal migrants would stubbornly return to the marsh.

one of my first shots of the male YHBL, taken some 50 feet from the edge of the marsh

f/10, 1/1250, 500mm, ISO 640

Yellow birds have a certain appeal for me; maybe because I associate that cheery colour with spring and summer (not that I would ever say no to photographing the marvelously blue-on-blue Lazuli Bunting). I recently also photographed that beautiful but elusive singer known as the Common Yellowthroat — but that will be covered in a future post! Stay tuned.





26 thoughts on “Yellow-Headed Blackbirds

  1. What a stunning bird- with such a vibrant yellow head. That Common Yellowthroat is making me cray- I spotted 2 this week – once I did not have my camera with me, the other time he remained elusive to the lens. I do love them though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a beauty. Amazing shots. I love how clear the flying one is! They come through here once in a while. Always such a treat. One or two will come just for a day or two.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently saw many red-winged blackbirds in a park I had been to before. Somehow I hadn’t noticed them before despite a few signs in the park giving details about them. This time I saw and heard many on a slight rampage. Love when you notice a new detail in nature that you missed before. So much to see and hear. Keep exploring!


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