Red-winged Versus Red-bellied

It seems like picture taking time has been a bit harder to come by lately, so I was thrilled to have a half hour this morning to bundle up and head outside with my camera.  As usual, I loaded up the feeders and waited to see who would show up.

The Bark Butter branch, an always popular spot, turned out to be quite the battleground.

A Red-winged Blackbird quickly decided that this territory belonged to him, and he proclaimed his dominion by boldly displaying his color bands.



The Warblers and Bluebirds let him have the branch, but a male Red-bellied Woodpecker, with a longer and sharper beak, swooped in and commandeered the territory for himself.

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As the Woodpecker feasted, the Blackbird retreated to a Dogwood limb directly overhead, where he paced about and loudly voiced his displeasure.  Don’t you love how he puffs himself up to try and look fierce?

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Once the coast was clear, a second Red-winged, of the dirty-beaked variety, dropped in to lay claim to this coveted area.

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This fellow’s reign would prove to be short lived.  No sooner had he flashed his colors and gobbled some Bark Butter than a female Red-bellied arrived, making it clear that she would now be ruling the branch.redbellied3 redbellied4

As the battle raged between the Red-wings and the Red-bellies, I don’t think either of them noticed the watcher in the wings, just waiting for the right moment to stage a coup and take over the branch as his own!


You never can let your guard down in these backyard bird battles!



18 thoughts on “Red-winged Versus Red-bellied

    1. They often keep their color bands covered. They show just the yellow as a little warning and show the red when they are ready to fight or flirt! They are so loud!

      1. I’m in SC now, about 1 1/2 hours east of the mountains, and it’s been storming here but no sleet. The mountains are getting it though. And so is home, 1-3″ of snow. Hubby & I said we should have stayed in Florida! lol

    1. The blackbirds are usually a bit skittish around me, at least til they realize I am the hand that feeds them, so I was glad they ventured close enough for some pictures!

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