Redwing and Spider

by Carl Strang

Earlier this week I was looking at a red-winged blackbird which, on the surface, was a female. Then I had to do a double-take when I saw some red in the wing.

You can just see the red, on either side of the obscuring plant stem.

This in fact was a yearling male, not yet in his mature plumage. I had thought at first that this was a female with nestlings, because of the food it was carrying. What is that food item, anyway?

Thanks to the ease of digital photograph manipulation, it’s clear the prey is a spider.

Perhaps I will know enough about spiders at some future point to identify this one. Photography has much to offer in food web assembly. After I took these photos the bird flew beyond my ability to follow it, so I didn’t get any more insight as to why it was carrying the spider.

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