Of the more than 25 Wild Guesses submitted last week for the May 27 contest, nearly all of them were correct.
For good reason, too - the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website states that the red-winged blackbird is considered to be the most abundant native bird in North America.
Its extensive population may be a result of the species' polygynous leanings. Polygynous means males have many female mates - up to 15 in some cases, according to the Cornell Lab.
During the breeding and nesting season, males fiercely defend their territory. They even will attack trespassing humans.
Female red-winged blackbirds lack the males' namesake red and yellow wings and their glossy black feathers. Instead, females sport feathers streaked with browns, buff and white. They somewhat resemble a sparrow.
Females tend to build their nests in low-growing vegetation, especially in dense areas where cattails, sedges and bulrushes grow in marshy areas.
Nests practically may be works of art. The female bird winds "stringy plant material around several close, upright stems and (weaves) in a platform of coarse, wet vegetation," according to the lab website.
Wet leaves and decayed wood are added and the inside is plastered with mud to make a cup. The cup then is lined with fine, dry grasses to soften the home where she will lay two to four eggs.
"One nest picked apart by a naturalist in the 1930s had been made by weaving together 34 strips of willow bark and 142 cattail leaves, some 2 feet long," the website states.
The finished nest measures 4 to 7 inches across and 3 to 7 inches deep.
Among the incorrect guesses was the scarlet tanager. The male of this species is a brilliant red with black wings and a black tail. Sometimes the red body can appear to be orange.
Its head is smooth, unlike the sharp crest that both male and female cardinals have.
The female scarlet tanager has an olive green to yellow body.
They can be found in much of the eastern U.S. in the summer but prefer the forest canopy and may be a rare sight for most residents.
"An easy one: Red-wing blackbird ... the scourge of the farmer as they congregate by the thousands and proliferate their crops. (They eat) oats as it is 'heading' and corn when it forms kernels, by pecking ends of ears, making sweet corn unsalable and field corn open to disease and toxins, causing low quality product."
"Farmer" D.?Richard Snyder
"It's a red-winged blackbird! One of my favorites. Its "conk-er-eee" call to me means that spring is here. I look and listen for it at least as much as a robin in spring. They used to sit on the overhead power lines and sing while we worked in the garden all summer."
"Red-winged blackbird. But I like to call them cat birds because they nest in my cattails."
"I have seen two or three of these in my backyard and I believe it might be a red-winged blackbird. They actually look like they have orange (not red) on their wings, so I'm not sure why they call it red-winged."
"My wild guess is the red-winged blackbird. They are the first signs of spring at our farm, both sight and sound."
The winner of the first prize drawing for the Wild Guess contest will be announced in the June 10 Outdoors section.
The prize for June also will be identified that day.
Readers who submit entries are reminded to include their names, phone numbers and addresses. Those without these items will not be considered for the prize drawing.