Exploring Fabius Township and St. Joseph County, Michigan, with side trips all over this Great Lakes state

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hapless harbingers

It was just over a week ago, a cold and snowy day when a host of Red-wing Blackbirds, huddled in the bushes heads hanging.  They had come our way, much to their regret.  Someone, no beaks were pointed, had really messed up the return schedule.  It was February, not March, and these harbingers of spring in our part of Michigan had hurried home to the north only to be greeted by the biggest snowfall of the year.  But I don’t think we can really blame them; it had been a funny winter with warm days doing in any snowfall that was deep enough to please the skiers, skaters, or sledding enthusiasts -- anyone who loves winter.

Not feeling too harried this week, I went exploring for more information on Red-wing Blackbirds on the web.   And, happily, I was alerted to what a female Red-wing looks like.  And, hooray, I had photographed her that snowy day not knowing who she was or why she was hanging out with all the Red-wings!  Check out this Wikipedia article where you can learn what to call a Red-wing in the languages of their summer territories ("....in vast majority of the other Ojibwa language dialects, the bird is called memiskondinimaanganeshiinh, literally meaning "a bird with a very red damn-little shoulder-blade." However, in the Odawa language, an Anishinaabe language in Southwestern Ontario and in Michigan, the bird is instead called either as memeskoniinisi ("bird with a red [patch on its wing]") or as memiskonigwiigaans ("[bird with a] wing of small and very red [patch]").[22]

And when the snow melted, these other too-early harbingers of spring were once more visible, also several weeks earlier than usual!

http://images.wikia.com/icehockey/images/6/63/Detroit_red_wings_1995.gifP.S. in case you didn't know about them, our Michigan pro-hockey team is called the Detroit Red-wings and their logo combines two important loves in this state: sports and cars!  And does three photos turn this blog into a hat trick?!

I don't mean to harp at you, but please, please, don't leave the web
without visiting the heterogeneous but never hapless bloggers at
ABC Wednesday.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for picking up on the hat trick, Zongrik!

  2. Send the redwing blackbirds our way, please...they always bring spring with them!
    Jane x

  3. no doubt nature is quite confused by weather HAPPENINGS!
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  4. Yes definitely weird weather this year, must be quite a shock for the birds but they do look nice against the snow. All the flowers have been early here this year.
    Joy, ABC Team

  5. Hi Helen, these are such lovely photos. A wonderful post. The weather has been a bit off this year. It's always so nice to see the flowers in the spring.

    Have a wonderful evening.

  6. Hello.
    The snow in the first picture looks like cotton wool (smile). I never would have thought these birds would have so much color. Very nice.
    Today in PA was just like a spring day...sun, birds chirping, nice temps. Don't know how long it will last though. We've actually had snow in April before!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Your Heart

  7. Brrrr...your header makes me shiver! We have red-wingers here in middle Missouri as well. I must remember to look for them now since I think our winter is all but finished. Love your sweet snowdrop shot. They are snowdrops, yes?