We heard a Red-winged Blackbird this morning, a most beautiful bird, and first of the Spring season. I harken back to September 6, 1948 describing our walk to the Crawford County one-room Oak Grove School.
Red-winged blackbirds, with a conk-la-ree song, hid in the tall brush alongside the road. The red-wing blackbirds didn’t bother us on our walks in the Fall of the year. Their youngsters were all out of the nest and on their own. It was the Spring of the year when they would swoop down close to your head in an attempt to protect their nest. Some of those were really pesky. Get too close to their nest they’re trying to protect, and you get dive-bombed by desperate mother birds. As a newly-minted first grader, I wondered how they got that bright splash of red on the inboard section of each wing, fringed by a bright yellow band.
I had a genuine fear of red-winged blackbirds after Don Laskaski told us younger Scheckel boys, “Yeah, those red-winged blackbirds will dive down and take your head clean off, and while you’re lying dead on the ground, the crows will come along and peck at your tummy and eat your guts out.” I told this harrowing tale to Mom and she just laughed and said, “Birds will do no such thing. He’s just trying to scare you.” That comforted me somewhat, but I always kept a leery eye out for those red-winged blackbirds.