Friday Farm Blogging--The Red-winged Blackbird
This is a Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus. In my neck of the woods, general opinion is ambivalent at best, but more often it is considered a pest. They are frequently used as target practice by farmers and children with new BB guns. When they gather in large flocks, they can eat a large volume of grain, which is one cause for contempt, but they do eat some insects and other small animals. An even more frequent cause for dislike of these animals is their habit of nesting in large roosts, which cause noise and mess. Their droppings in these areas, especially in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys, make a good harbor for Histoplasma capsulatum, a fungus which causes a potentially fatal lung disease in humans known as Histoplasmosis.
The key to identification of this bird is obvious, it is black with a yellow-bordered red shoulder patch.
Don't forget to check out the Friday Ark.