Bizarre Blackbird Behavior

The wildlife watching declines once you leave the state highways for the interstates, but it’s still easy enough to pick out the big showy things, from pronghorn to grackles.

Day before yesterday, as we were crossing southern Minnesota on Interstate 90, I spied a white-tailed deer standing in the ditch.

No big deal, as long as it stays off the road. But I did a 70-mph double-take when I realized that there was a male¬†red-winged blackbird¬†perched on the animal. The bird was reaching forward as if to take something from the deer’s back.

It’s not unusual to see cowbirds riding the eponymous livestock, but I can’t remember having seen red-wings on a wild ungulate. Have you?