Bird #200 — Yellow-headed Blackbird

xanthocephalus (from xanthos, yellow, and kephale, head) xanthocephalus (ditto)

Friday, April 17, 1981 — 9:10 am

South Barrington, Illinois — Mundhank Road

I heard about these Yellow-headed Blackbirds on the hotline.  The small marsh where they were seen is approximately a mile east of Barrington Road about three miles from Crabtree, but I had never been there.  In 1981, the area was farmland.  The open water was surrounded by a thick band of reeds.  Three or four Yellow-headed Blackbirds were singing in the brush and reeds about thirty yards from where I stood.  They occasionally glided out over the pond to land on a different perch.

This is a beautiful bird, and the Lord, to keep them from getting conceited, gave them the worst birdsong in the bird world.  They puff themselves up all proud and call forth with what appears to be maximum effort.  And out comes this raucous, hoarse cacophony.  It sounds like a truck-full of chickens crashing through a hardware store.  They sing even worse than I do.

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