Yesterday, I went with some out-of-town guests to Tennessee Valley in Marin County for an easy hike. Near the beach my friends decided to climb a steep ridge to an observation point. I’ve been having an ankle problem, so I told them I’d wait for them at a bench just off the main trail. While biding my time, I took the photo at the top. A few moments later, I spotted a low-flying red-winged blackbird soaring down the trail toward me. The red-winged blackbird is one of my favorite species of bird, so I followed his course. A very strange thing happened. He kept heading my way until he was hovering right beside me. Then he landed on the back of the bench. I reached into the bag I was holding and offered him a piece of bread, which he took. He flew away and returned a few minutes later to ask for more. He took it without fear, right from my fingertips. I managed to get this shaky photo of him eating. I think he must have spotted the bread from the distance. I’ve seen this kind of behavior in urban blackbirds, but never out in the countryside. They’re training the hikers now.