The Second Blackbird Invasion

February 22nd, 2011

This has happened twice this winter. Huge flocks of blackbirds descend on Tangled Branches South. They forage a while in the woods and in the grass and then depart. Yesterday, though, they actually started in on the birdfeeders.

Blackbirds at feeder

Hungry Birds

They were there only briefly; they’re very flighty. One nervous bird hears a noise or sees some motion, takes flight, and all the rest follow. I don’t have a good estimate of how many birds are in this video. 500? 1000? more?

That’s the second video I’ve made of blackbirds this winter.

This is the first.

The second is a better video, but the first has more birds.

Grackle

Grackle

The birds I could see were all grackles, but I’m sure that I heard other blackbird sounds in the cacophony. That sort of liquid burbling sound that brown-headed cowbirds make. Maybe others too.

There must be a seasonal pattern to the flocking behavior of blackbirds – a phenology. When do they form flocks? When do they disperse? What do they eat? All I’ve read so far is that they form large flocks in winter. Could we be more precise? If anyone knows of a good resource for learning about this, please let me know.

2 Responses to “The Second Blackbird Invasion”

  1. Sandy says:

    We haven’t started seeing passing flocks yet, but they will be here.

    • entangled says:

      I’ll send some up in your direction 😉

      I thought of you when I saw the British Soldier Lichen “blooming” a few weeks ago. I still haven’t gotten around to photographing it.

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