Always the watch bird…

Redwing Blackbird in prairie
Redwing Blackbird in prairie Copyright @2011 Pamela Breitberg

Prairie walks always are accompanied (at least for me) by a squawking Redwing blackbird. Makes my ability to sneak up on animal subjects nearly impossible. Took me years to realize that the constant sentry is a male protecting up to a dozen ground level nests.  It’s like playing the old game of “hot and cold”; where something is hidden and the hider shouts out “hot” when you get closer to the hidden object and “cold” when you move away from the object. This continues until the seeker finds the object based on these hot/cold clues. The Redwing only shouts “hot”, so actually the Redwing blackbird is drawing attention to his nests, making it possible for one to narrow down the approximate location, based on the bird’s determination to frighten away the intruder. Would not the better sentry lead one away from the nesting areas somehow? I wonder if any species use this reverse psychology technique.

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