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Several species of blackbirds that occur locally are infrequently seen at Woodruff. This includes both Northern and Orchard orioles. Rusty Blackbirds are also a possibility in winter in the flooded hammocks, but I've never seen them there. The species below are seen with greater regularity.
|Red-winged Blackbirds are present year-round in the marsh, impoundment, and edge habitats. They can be one of the most abundant breeding birds in summer in the marsh habitat, where males (left) can be seen and heard conspicuously puffing up their red epaulets and offering their congareee song. Females (right) are considerably less conspicuous than males, both in color and behavior.|
|Boat-tailed Grackles are also common year-round around the impoundments and marshes. Males (left) are large, bold, and quite noisy, especially in spring when establishing territories. Their raucous vocalizations and noisy display flights are common sights and sounds of the marshes. Females (right) are more subdued in color and behavior, but attractive nonetheless.|
|Common Grackles can be seen year-round, but are not as numerous or conspicuous as Boat-taileds. I find them more often in or near wooded habitats. Their smaller size and yellow eye distinguish them from male Boat-taileds.|
|Bobolinks are blackbirds that breed in pastures and grasslands of the northeast, and usually pass through Florida relatively quickly in late spring. In most years that I spend any significant amount of time around the marshes south and west of Pool 3 during the first two weeks of May, I usually see at least a few Bobolinks as they pass through. They're not in Florida for long, so you have to be out at the right time. In larger flocks, males are nearly always singing their long, bubbly song and are easy to locate. In fall, they pass through again on their southward migration, but because the males have molted into dull basic plumage and stopped singing, they are quite inconspicuous.|
|Eastern Meadowlarks are sometimes seen around the marshes and margins of the levees in winter. They aren't common.|
|Brown-headed Cowbirds are never common, but sometimes a few can be found in winter, occasionally among large flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds. Males (left) have glossy black plumage and a brown head; females (right) are dull grayish-brown.|
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