Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Red-winged Blackbird
(Agelaius phoeniceus)
March 22, 2009

I recently spent a couple of weeks at the home of oldest grandbaby so managed to get a few pictures of their garden visitors. Everyday a few Red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) would visit the feeders. Red-winged blackbirds are members of the passerine family. Males display the bright red wing band while the females are a rather nondescript dark brown. They are quite prevalent in southwestern Ontario and in fact many farmers and gardeners view them as being pest birds. It was rather interesting seeing them at feeders in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Red-winged blackbirds feed on both grain and insects so they can be beneficial to attract to home gardens providing you are not growing any grains. They can help keep insect populations in check. However, cash crop grain growers must discourage them in our area and usually this means sound deterrents that sound intermittently to scare off the grain feeders. I cannot say whether this method is affective as birds do become acclimatized to this type of thing. In home gardens the best bet is to use bird cloth to prevent red-winged blackbirds of stripping your grain crops.

In our general rural area we do have a lot of red-winged blackbirds but they seldom venture to our bird feeders. Surprisingly they don't even seem to bother the gardens but that could be due to them being well fed by the surround fields. I think they are a very pretty bird and they do have a rather pleasant song. So if you see these birds in your garden, welcome them. Protect any grain crops then enjoy their beauty.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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