Saturday, October 1, 2011

Where Are The Blackbirds?

Brewer's-Blackbirds-on-draiThey're overdue. The blackbirds. Usually by this time the telephone wires are full of them. Perhaps it's the weather that has them delayed. It certainly hasn't been normal. Always foggy, actually dripping with fog. And maybe the birds don't realize what season it is. It's fall, you're supposed to be flocking together.

Blackbird-7Spring finds red-wing blackbirds nesting in the tules near fresh or brackish water. They screech and scream at each other, trying for the best spots to build their temporary homes and raise their brood. Brewer's blackbirds are busy with the same endeavor and spend some time dancing over the farm fields, picking up tasty morsels of bugs and beetles to stuff into the gaping mouths of their fluffy offspring. Finally the days start getting shorter and all the baby birds have fledged. All those territorial squabbles are over. It's time to gather together to swing and sway through small towns and neighborhoods, gathering by the hundreds on the telephone and electric wires. Their dense, black bodies stand out starkly against the slate sky.
A murder of crows descend upon the neighborhood.
Today the crows came noisily winging up the road. Fifteen to twenty of them in a solid group, they settle for a time in the cypress tree at the foot of the road. Then two by two and one by one they drop to the ground and begin pecking away. In a flash ten of them flap from the tree to wires above. Caw, caw, they call and call. Some take to wing and head up the road. The crowd follows swiftly calling as they go. Again most settle on the wires while six or eight drop to the neighbor's lawn where bits of old bread are spread out. Zippo! And the bread is gone. Caw,Caw! They're on the wing again still advancing up the road until they are out of sight and all is quiet

Were the crows the advance troops? Are the blackbirds close behind? Maybe tomorrow.

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