Location: Corktown Common
Date photo taken: 12 October 2021
Living in Toronto, most of us have been conditioned to recognize robins as one of the early signs of spring. In terms of feathered harbingers of nicer weather to come, I would also put forward the red-winged blackbird. While perhaps less evenly distributed across the city than robins, they are very common in Southern Ontario and just as distinctive. If you spend any time in parklands near water, you have likely seen them. Their bright red epaulets make them highly visible, and they're pretty loud as well. If you hear one
in the spring, I advise you to not to stare. As the sign above notes, "Birds may exhibit aggressive behaviour protecting their young." Showing too much interest may lead to a close encounter. As someone who has experienced this first hand, it's not an experience I care to repeat. If you hear a red-winged blackbird, especially in the spring, I suggest you try to remain as non-threatening as possible: stick to the path, keep moving and do not stare or actively search out the nest.