Learned Behavior

We have always left a rather large section of  the native reeds growing along the shoreline of the pond. They not only provide a bit of privacy for us but also help sustain the local wildlife. They are a favorite nesting ground of the yellow-headed blackbird and every spring and summer the air is a buzz with their very distinctive song. They build their nests a few feet above the water on the pond side in the reeds and every year we find several within a foot or so of the path. We try to stay clear of the nests and grant as much space between us as possible. Yet, I have always found it interesting that they would build within such easy reach of humans. They must somehow feel protected by the small, flimsy barrier, because they will stand there, encircled by a few stalks, and watch as you walk by. If one were so inclined, it would be easy to reach in and grab the nest, the eggs, or both.

I don’t know how other birds of this species act in other places, but I like to think that these birds have learned that they are safe here. Our children, and now our children’s children, know they must stay away from the nests. It has always been so.

Throughout the years, we have enjoyed sharing our space with these gregarious flighted friends. In exchange for residency, the yellow-headed blackbird has helped us teach that to control one’s behavior is of paramount importance.

Just because you can...doesn't mean you should. Click To Tweet Facebooktwitterpinterestmail