The Red-winged Blackbird is the theme bird for this year’s Black Birders Week. Deja Perkins, who helps organize the event, introduces us to this species and what the bird represents to her and to Black Birders Week.
The Red-winged Blackbird
Written by Deja Perkins
This is BirdNote.
[Red-winged Blackbird song]
The familiar sound of the Red-winged Blackbird is a reminder of the return of spring, and they’re the theme bird for this year's Black Birders Week, which begins today. I’m Deja Perkins, and I help organize the event.
Growing up in the great lakes region, the Red-winged Blackbird was a familiar face in any marshy area, phragmites-ridden roadside, or lakefront drive.
Three words that define me also define the Red-winged Blackbird. Bold… Beautiful… and Black.
Bold is the way that we fiercely defend our territories and community.
Red-winged Blackbirds spend more than a quarter of their time defending their territories. Loudly protesting intruders and sometimes going after those much larger and more powerful than themselves.
[Red-winged Blackbird calls]
We are bold and beautiful just for existing, but those words also define the matching splash of red and yellow gracing the wing of the otherwise differently colored male and female.
[Red-winged Blackbird male song and female call]
As a year-round resident of North America, the Red-winged Blackbird has the potential to connect us all, no matter where we live.
[Red-winged Blackbird song chorus and calls]
Let the Red-winged Blackbird be a reminder to embrace being Bold, Beautiful, and Black.
Join us as we fly full circle for Black Birders Week 2023. Follow our hashtag BlackBirdersWeek2023 to learn how to participate.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Editor: Jazzi Johnson
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Content Director: Jonese Franklin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Red-winged Blackbird ML84698 recorded by Wil Hershberger, Red-winged Blackbird ML120242 recorded by Geoffrey A. Keller, Red-winged Blackbird ML223686181 recorded by Jay McGowan, and Red-winged Blackbird ML84701 recorded by Wil Hershberger.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2023 BirdNote May 2023
Narrator: Deja Perkins
ID# BBW23-01-2023-05-28 BBW23-01