The Red-winged Blackbird is our harbinger of spring.  The male has a shiny black body with red and yellow shoulder patches.  The female is streaked with a dark brown appearance and a somewhat pale breast.  The males can often be seen high in the trees on the edge of the Sanctuary while the females tend to fly closer to the ground and marsh vegetation off Third Avenue looking for insects, seeds and waste grains.  Red-winged Blackbirds can often be seen swaying on top stems of phragmites and rushes as they sample seeds.