Naperville Park District warns public to be mindful of red-winged blackbirds defending their turf

Red-winged blackbird perched on sun shade.
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The Naperville Park District is warning the public to keep an eye out for some “feisty birds” that are defending their turf in some area parks.

Red-winged blackbirds protecting their territory

Caution sign warning about red-winged blackbirds protecting their territory.

Photo courtesy: Naperville Park District

In a message on social media on Monday, the district noted that red-winged blackbirds are “nesting at Knoch Knolls Park and in other Naperville Park District parks.”

The males are known for defending their territory during breeding season, which they are currently in the midst of, said the park district. According to the National Audubon Society, the adults are “very aggressive in nesting territory, attacking larger birds that approach, and loudly protesting human intruders.”

The males are black in color, with red and yellow shoulder patches which they raise to be seen, as they “belt out their signature ‘conk-cha-ree’ song,” to be heard, said the park district. Their job is to be on guard duty, usually having five to 15 females as well as their nests to protect.

The nests are usually found close to water or near the ground. The birds like to set them in dense areas, like bushes, where they can be hidden. The nests are typically made out of plant material and are formed into a cup shape.

Knoch Knolls Nature Center, 95th Street Community Plaza among spots sighted

red-winged blackbird keeps watch at 95th Street Community Plaza

Red-winged blackbird keeps watch at 95th Street Community Plaza.

The park district said that a red-winged blackbird family is currently nesting in a bush in front of the Knoch Knolls Nature Center, and also in a bush by the parking lot. The district has put up signs to let the public know to keep an eye out as they are heading toward the playground and the nature center.

If people get too close, the birds may flutter above them and possibly even dive-bomb someone they see as a threat.

The district said in order to avoid the birds by Knoch Knolls if heading to the playground, visitors can “feel free to bypass the main path in front of the nature center, by taking the sidewalk near the street which intersects with a paved trail that leads back to the playground.”

A red-winged blackbird was also spotted on Wednesday at the 95th Street Community Plaza, perched on a pole holding the sun shades at the edge of the splash pad, keeping a watchful eye on visitors and making its presence known.

The park district said if someone does find themselves being challenged by one of the birds, “just walk away from the area.” Another option is to wave your hands above your head, which might discourage them.

Protected by the law

The park district reminds the public that red-winged blackbirds as well as their nests are protected by the law.

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