My friend and neighbour, Ed Millar, emailed me yesterday to say he had a bunch of grackles and a Red-winged Blackbird in his backyard. I replied that if he had them yesterday, I would probably have them today. Then, my wife, Linda, informed me she had heard Red-winged Blackbirds, in the neighbourhood, a week ago. Sure enough, today there were grackles, cowbirds, starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds in the backyard. The starlings were making short work of the last of the suet (see the photo above). To me, the appearance of blackbirds means spring has arrived. I trust blackbirds about these things a lot more than I do those grumpy groundhogs at Wiarton and Punxsutawny. I love it when a neophyte birder sees a starling in its winter/early-spring, plumage, with all those white spots against the glossy black, green and purple colours. Somehow, new birders often have a pre-conceived idea that the starling's appearance is plain and dull. When they see one up close and are told what they are looking at, they are usually amazed at its striking presence.
Please comment if you wish. BtheB