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Sunday, January 11, 2015

The main purpose of the male Red-winged Blackbird's red "epaulets"


 
 
Red-winged Blackbird (male)
This time of year Red-winged Blackbirds are throughout north Texas. The Females are a non-descript gray and black. The male has reddish patches (about the size of a quarter) on each wing. These are used to claim and defend a territory. When the red “epaulets” were colored black in an experiment by researchers, the male usually lost its territory.

 They often hang out and hunt in large flocks, which may have some Crows, Grackles and Cowbirds in it.


A fable from another era about mothballs    Loose mothballs often get eaten by wild birds (which have no sense of smell) with very unhealthy results. I recommend a cluster of 6 or 8 mothballs however, bundled up in something like an old sock, to repel certain wild animals and loose dogs (which is a subject in itself). It’s NO LONGER a responsible recommendation to scatter mothballs on the ground. This is no longer suggested by researchers, or any knowledgeable or environmentally-aware person. 


 

 

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.

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