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Black Birds: Our Family Outdoor Hour Challenge

We have had our eyes out for black birds of all kinds. We have a short list of black birds that we observed for this week’s bird challenge:
American crow
Red-winged blackbirds
Turkey vultures
Brewer’s blackbirds

The most abundant black bird we observed for this challenge was the Brewer’s blackbird.

Our field guide says that it has a “distinctive yellow eye”. It is very easy to identify.


Here is a short video of a red-winged blackbird eating some sort of seeds washed up alongside the river. You do hear him at the end of the video.

We all decided that the turkey vulture, although it is as ugly as can be, is the best flier of the bunch. They soar and soar and soar on a good day. We often see groups of six or eight turkey vultures all gliding and soaring over our house.

Crows and ravens are the noisiest bunch of the black birds we observed. You always hear them coming before you see them. My son observed that they are also the most obviously useful birds of the bunch. When we were at Yosemite last week we saw a pair of ravens cleaning up a dead squirrel off the road….gross but useful.

Our favorite black bird we learned about this week was certainly the red-winged blackbird. We had the opportunity to see quite a few and it has quickly become a favorite bird because of its flash of red as it flies. Now that we can identify its call, we hear him more often as we hike in different areas.

We realized during our hiking adventures last week that birdsong usually fills the air as we go along. If you stop and listen, you will usually hear some sort of bird singing you a tune. We had an especially happy bird on this day.


We made a joint journal entry later back at Curry Village. Someone forget to bring the boys’ nature journals…oops. I started the entry with the Steller’s jay and Mr. B sketched the ground squirrel after that. I was trying my best to notice with each bird the color and shape of their eye. The Steller’s jay has a very black eye and beak.

So that was our black birds challenge this week. We will continue to look for starlings since they do come to our yard on occasion.

Great bird week for our family.


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