I’m not sure why. I think it is the bright slash of red on their wing, the little touch that makes them different from crows.
Crows were the bane of my Grandpa Larsen (crows and raccoons). He didn’t have big fields. He worked really hard.
So crows were bad.
Red-wing blackbirds, on the other hand, were cool. They were bright. They were something to see while driving past swamps.
For decades I have liked them.
Yesterday, Nancy and I walked through a swamp. More accurately, we walked on the boardwalk that allows people to pass through a wetland at Pokagon State Park. We walked quietly, listening.
We heard a bird song that I had never heard. It started with a couple of smooth, three-dimensional notes, then went raspy, like a distorted amplifier, and ended with a note or two.
Nancy saw the red-winged blackbird on the tree above us. As we got closer, we could tell that this new song was from a familiar bird.
I thought about how many things I know. I thought about how many people I know. I thought about how little time I’ve spent listening to either one. This bird that I have said I love, I love for my picture of it, not for its reality, its fullness. And that’s not fair.
Especially now that I have actually heard it.
What you see at 60 mph is far different than what you hear at 0.
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