Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blackbird Spring in Fall

There comes a day in Spring when you know that the red-winged blackbirds have officially arrived, because you wake up to a morning where their chucks and okarees ring out from every tree, in every direction, and if you look up, you see them in singles and in groups, criss-crossing the skies. Although you may have seen a few blackbirds winging along in the previous days and weeks, a sudden invasion force has arrived en masse, over night.

There also comes such a morning in autumn, and today was that morning. The redwings were in such large numbers, and so vocal with songs that are normally associated with their nesting territory, that it seemed more like spring arrival than fall migration. (At the same time, the jays could still be heard, so it’s still Jay World out there.) Later, we’ll see huge flocks, and if we’re lucky enough to be out at the right time of day, we’ll see rivers of blackbirds flowing across the sky; however, although they’ll be noisy, it won’t be the chorus of okarees, with no time to stop and party, because they’ll be heading straight south with a sense of urgency, (though there is always gaiety in their urgency).

By the way, this was quite a warm morning, with afternoon temperatures into the 80s, so perhaps the weather contributes to the festival atmosphere. I do not think we would call this Indian Summer—that pertains to certain warm days in November. If it weren’t for the fiery colors of maples and sumac, it really would seem more like Spring.

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