Beyond the BackyardLake Apopka

Beware the Red-winged Blackbirds! at LAWD

A few posts ago, I wrote about the Swallow-tailed Kites that have been visiting the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive fields this summer.  These graceful birds swoop through the air, feeding on insects.  They don’t seem to interact much with the local birds or the fields below.  So they didn’t seem to understand why the Red-winged Blackbirds began launching a full mid-air assault!

Red-winged Blackbird Attacks a Swallow-tailed Kite
Red-winged Blackbird Attacks a Swallow-tailed Kite

At first I thought the blackbirds were stealing bugs from the kites.  But then I noticed that the Red-wings had a nest near where the kites were flying.  So the males were defending their territory.  The kites didn’t seem to understand.

What's Your Problem?
What’s Your Problem?

In the photo above, the kite looks over his shoulder to see the little bird attacking him.  The Red-wings are such brave little guys.  It takes a lot of courage to attack a bird so much bigger than yourself!

Attack of Red-Winged Blackbird
Attack of Red-Winged Blackbird

When the Red-winged Blackbirds got too close, the kites seemed to swat at them with their long wings.  Despite the blackbirds’ best effort, the kites continued to glide over the fields.  So the blackbirds kept attacking…

Red-winged Blackbird Attacking Swallow-tailed Kite
Red-winged Blackbird Attacking Swallow-tailed Kite

This was such a fun morning.  Maybe not for the blackbirds, but it was for me.  It was very challenging to capture these interactions! :)

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