Monday, March 25, 2013

A Blackbird Horde

Spring migration is well underway, and for a few minutes this afternoon, our yard was host to a large mixed group of blackbirds as it passed through our neighborhood -- mostly Common Grackles and European Starlings, with a few Red-winged Blackbirds thrown in. Big blackbird flocks like this are pretty common occurrences in winter and early spring, but these birds don't come by our yard very often, so it was a cool sight to see. With easily over 100 birds flying around, I had a hard time getting pictures that could show the extreme hectic-ness of these birds' brief visit, but I managed to get a portion of the action, at least.

This tree seems to have sprouted big, dark leaves:

And the birds put on quite a show flocking from tree to ground and back:

How gorgeous is that Common Grackle on the right-hand side of the above picture? I still can't get over those colors, which seem so plain and black from a distance.

In fact, the starlings looked quite handsome up close as well -- a study in iridescence, both species together:

(Also, those Red Maple buds look close to bursting! Come on, flowers!)

Pretty soon, the flock was flying away again, off to inhabit someone else's yard for a while (note the Red-winged Blackbirds in the upper-right corner of this picture):

I think it's interesting that European Starlings fit into groups with native species of birds like this. Also, I'm ready for the trees to leaf out now, if only so the views from our back windows won't look quite so industrial. :P


  1. It is interesting that a non-native like the starling fits into this group - I guess because it doesn't steal their nest cavities! We had four Red-winged Blackbird males come through a week or so ago. Hoping that the pair that nested here last year comes back.

    1. I'd love to have Red-winged Blackbirds nesting around our house, too! We only get to see them in our yard during migration in big groups like this. Good luck with your blackbird neighbors!