Red-winged Blackbird / The Epaulet Bird


Red-winged Blackbird-0201 Agelaius phoeniceus

Epaulets have been around since the 17th century signifying military rank, authority, and strength, projecting power over all who may doubt. Over the years they got bigger and more gawdy with ridiculous tassels and fringes to where they got into the way of actually fighting the war.  A colorful form of them also appears on the academic robes at each graduation season.  Chief Justice Rehnquist surprised us when he donned them on his judicial robe at the impeachment trial of President Clinton.  In all cases they make a statement; I’m important, don’t mess with me.

King Oscar II of Sweden King Oscar II of Sweden

Who has not welcomed the trill of the Red-winged Blackbird in early spring, beating its rivals to the prime marshland and grassy fields, staking out a breeding territory for the season.  I know this is a common North American bird, seen coast to coast and Canada to Mexico…

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