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The Sound of the Marsh

The Sound of the Marsh
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-05-31
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 300D DIGITAL, Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-01-13 18:49
Viewed: 3478
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
In S.E. Alberta like many other places these bird are synonymous with the cattails and reeds of the wetlands. This one was captured in Cypress Hills on the dead branches of a bush on the shallow shore line of Elkwater Lake.

Red-winged Blackbird
Agelaius phoeniceus
General Description

By Gustave J. Yaki

Red-winged Blackbirds are widely distributed. Their breeding range is from southern Alaska across northern Canada to the Atlantic, all of USA and in the highlands of Mexico and Central America. In Alberta, they nest throughout in their preferred habitat of wetlands with emergent cattails and bulrushes, or in willows.

Red-winged Blackbirds are early spring migrants. In most years, the first males arrive before mid March. Females follow some three weeks later. They are equally at home in urban or rural areas if they have access to marshy areas. After breeding, they gather in large flocks, at that time foraging in fields in rural areas, returning to roost in cattails at night. While most birds leave by October, there are always a few that try to overwinter, especially in cattle feedlots, or in natural areas with nearby birdfeeders.

The young are raised entirely on insects. Adults also add spiders and seeds of grasses and other herbaceous plants to their diets.

The males are polygynous, possessing a harem of two to six mates. Two or more broods may be raised annually. The nest is a deep cup, saddled between several cattail or bulrush stems, occasionally in a willow or other site, built by the female in 3-6 days. She lays 3-4 eggs, incubated for 10-12 days. The young can swim at 5-6 days if the nest is accidentally tipped or cut down by a muskrat, but they normally leave the nest after 11-14 days. Females and young form winter flocks separate from the males.

NinaM, jaycee, Evelynn, eqshannon, SelenE, K9madtex, uleko, Maite, vanderschelden, CeltickRanger, marieproue, Luis52, jusninasirun, MMM, valy67 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Cool shot Rick. I always found those birds difficult to photograph as they are plain black (well, almost) You've got a good background in this picture. I can't wait until the marsh near my house gets occupied with red wings again. I guess we have about 4 months to go...


  • Great 
  • Tabib Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 5 N: 167] (859)
  • [2008-01-13 19:35]

Hi Rick,

Lovely Red-winged Blackbirds, I like the red-yellow streak there.
Natural side lighting. Nice compo and blue BG.


  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-01-13 19:49]

Hi Rick,

Another bird I wish we had here. A wonderful pose on the dead branches showing off the bright patch on the wing. The black is excellent with good details of his beak, eye, and plummage.


Good capture Rick. I find these birds so quick that they are really difficult for me to photograph. Sitting quietly in the vehicle within range has been the only way we have ever photographed one. You managed a lot of detail in the black feathers.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-01-13 21:13]

Hello Rick,
Just marking today because I'm out of time
I'll be back tomorrow with a proper critique
..Greeting from the Grand Canyon State my dear friend


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-01-13 21:51]

Hi Rick,
Wonderful shot of this beautiful Red-winged Blackbird with very impressive sharpness and lovely colours. Superb natural lighting and you have handled the exposure pretty well. I like the blue contrasting BG and the fine pose captured. Excellent POV and very nicely composed. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-01-14 0:58]

Hi Rick,
I liked the elegant composition. Good POV, lighting and details. TFS
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-01-14 0:59]

Hello Rick,
Great Capture of a Red-winged Blackbird, which reminds me of when I was in Canada many years ago before I had a camera. I remember its peculiar metallic song in the reedbeds by Lake Ontario.
Nice sharp capture taken from a fine POV in a nice composition against the sky.
Thanks for taking this one out of your archives, Rick: nice to see!

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-01-14 1:44]

I really like these birds!
The flash of red in the wing is really cool!
This photo is razor-sharp with incredible clarity.
Superb composition and POV.
Natural colours and perfect exposure.
Very well done Rick.

Hi Rick

Quite a good shot here with the blackbird contrasting nicely against that blue background. Well composed.


We have these guys in Texas too. They make a great challange to photograph because you are always want the perfect pose with that flash of red visible. Nice shot

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-01-14 4:40]

Hello Rick,
Interesting that this bird should be found in the reeds in wetlands where it must be quite easy to spot in its beautiful plumage. All the birds we see among reeds here are well camouflaged! Excellent capture, very sharp and the red wing is shown very nicely here.
A beautiful composition too!
Many thanks, Ulla

I am "spent" as my kids say, but I didn't want to loose track of this image before I go to bed...Ya know the first thing I noticed when looking...(I look before I read anything) was that this appeared to me to be the sun rising on the bird..and according to you EXIF, it is...and I find that interesting...if true, then you were able to pass on something I have never really felt before...but if so then it was really early ...wow...well even if not, then it is an excellent recording and note...those little things are hard to get and you seem to have such a knack for doing it...maybe it is your job which keeps you out in the wilds...whatever...it works..and with that I shall see you tomorrow somewhere around sunrise:-)...

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-01-14 7:53]

Hello Rick,
Beautiful sharp photo with great contrasting colours. Good managing of the blacks in the feathers. Nice composition, POV and pose.

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2008-01-14 8:53]

Hello Rick
How curious and beautiful bird this red-winged being so perfeclty black with the exception of the intense red in the top of the wing. You captured it with splendid focus showing up to the least detail in its plumage. I really love it.
Thank you very much for sharing this beautiful picture and the interesting information.
My compliments and best regards

Hello Rick,
Did not expect to see this one in Canada?
First time I see this one...
It is a beautiful bird indeed and you photographed it very well.
Good sharpness and details in the blacks.
Well done

hello Rick

wath a superb shot you did of this common bird,
wonderful sky bakcground, excellent details
and natural colours on the birds plumage,
good pov, and i love the way you framed the bird on the image



  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-01-14 13:58]

Hello Rick, I have to say that I also like the sound of the Red-Winged Blackbird, it is a strong reminder of summer to me, don't know why. Maybe is it because the sound is so distinct. Lovely picture here, with the bird on a traditional pose but within two twigs! A real athlete, isnt' he? Beautiful and natural colours, great sharpness, everything has been said but... very nice work. Thanks,


Hi Rick,
Magnifique, superbe détails et très bien mise en valeur sur ce ciel bleu.

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-01-14 15:17]

Hola Rick.
Never seen this red winged before. This is a very nice photo, great pose and shapness. The sky as BG is also great Rick.
Your friend

Hello Rick,
I was reading your interesting intro and how lucky for you and your wife to share the same passion for pictures.
This one definitely brings warmth to my heart. Well composed image in brilliant clarity and colors. Excellent management of depth and that blue bg enhanced the bird even more with no distraction from any busyness. I like your work and very well done.
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-01-14 19:11]

Hi Rick
Great iamge .POV is beautiful.Sharp image whit lovely colors.I like that nice sky colors for BG.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-01-14 19:42]

Hello Rick

Looking forward to seeing these guys return,they get here before the Robins and are the true harbinger of Spring.
A beautiful capture of this fellow.The lighting illuminates him well,and the colours are excellent.Very good plumage detail and definition.
Lovely catch light in the eye.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-01-16 6:03]

Hello Rick ! Well done with the Blackbird, it's so hard to get that bird well but you've done great, it's perfect my friend. Thanks !


Hello Rock !
This bird is splendid ! I love his colors, the red wings makes a nice contrast with the black plumage. There are excellent details on the picture, vivid colors, beautiful composition and POV, and the blue sjy makes a wonderful BG. The pose of the bird is nice too. Very well done !

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