Yellow-headed Blackbird, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus:
Benton Lake NWR; Great Falls, Montana
The Yellow-headed Blackbird is one of the most vociferous birds in the western marsh. These birds are colonial nesters and weave their nests among the marsh cattails. The males spend much of their time perched atop cattails displaying and singing their territorial songs. I have spent many hours watching and photographing Yellow-headed Blackbirds. One thing I have noticed over the last couple of trips west was that when a male yellow-headed sings its territorial call, it turns its head toward its left shoulder (like the image above). After noticing this in the field over the last couple of years, I checked some of my older yellow-headed photos and found that each photo I have taken of a singing male, it is turning its head toward its left shoulder. Are most Yellow-headed Blackbirds, lefties? Have you observed them turning their heads over their right shoulder? Send comments about your observations.
Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/320 second @ f8, Kirk Window Mount