Monday, March 10, 2014

Flocking birds of dark color

Birds that are colored black…sort of.

On March 3 after a significant snowfall and unusually cold temperatures for the date I noticed perhaps 100 black colored birds flocking in the tree just off of my deck. I estimated that they were common grackles at first glimpse. So I threw seeds out onto the deck and sure enough they all came down in groups of about 20 at a time.

I got a clearer picture then as to what these birds were and yes many were grackles but many others were brown headed cowbirds, still others were rusty blackbirds and even others were redwing blackbirds. Hell maybe there were even brewer’s blackbirds (I am too dumb to recognize a difference between the male brewer and the male rusty but I had female rusty on the deck).

For years I have been observing crows flocking in non-mating season and making a record of their behaviors and they are interesting in their own light. Last year I discovered a flock of cedar waxwings in downtown Baltimore as the season changed to spring and was able to photograph and document much of their behavior. This fascinating stuff to me.

So this year my new interest is in the flocking of birds that are largely black. Prior to my 3/3 discovery (which lasted two days by the way) I had no idea that this many species would flock together. It was a pretty cool revelation.

Soon amour will break up flocks so it is pretty good to catch them while they last.

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