A common sight in the cattail marshes of Navajo State Park is the red-winged black bird. This highly adaptable bird is a year round resident in the park and one of the most abundant birds in North America. The gregarious male red-winged black bird is hard to miss with his glossy black body and bright red shoulder patch edged with yellow.
In Navajo State Park, he is often seen perched on a cattail singing his song, as if he were performing before a live audience in a concert hall. On the other hand, the female is a subdued smaller bird with dull streaky brown markings. It is difficult to get a glimpse of the female, especially during nesting season.
The male red-winged black bird is very aggressive and has been known to attack much larger birds such as crows, ravens and even herons when defending its territory. Unlike many bird species that mate for life, red-winged blackbirds are polygamous and some males may have to defend up to ten females and their nests. The females also may breed with several different males, resulting in nests or clutches of mixed paternity.
There are many species of birds in Navajo State Park and on Saturday, Becky Gillette from Colorado Audubon will be at the park to give a presentation about the Birds of Navajo State Park. Gillette has been the speaker for two previous, well-attended programs at the park, and her presentation on Saturday will be the last of the Audubon series for this season. This special event will be at the park’s amphitheater and begins at 7 p.m. In the event that it is a rainy evening, the program will be moved to the visitor center and will also begin at 7 p.m. Come out to the park and learn more about the different birds of Navajo State Park and their habits.
All park programs are free with a Colorado State Parks pass on every vehicle. If you have any questions, please call 883-2208.