Birds of a feather

Yesterday, Jessica asked me if I’d seen the birds (no) and said she couldn’t BELIEVE I hadn’t noticed them; that there were thousands, and they kept flying over for several minutes.  I listened with interest, but since I hadn’t seen a bunch of birds, just kind of forgot about it.

Until this morning.  I was about to go out to walk.  It was 7:30, and Scott and I were both in the office.  I glanced out the window and saw LOTS of birds flying basically north.  It was quite a sight, and many of them landed in our yard.  I went on out to walk, dreading the idea of a grackle invasion.

When I was in college some 30+ years ago, at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, big flocks of grackles used to fly over and land in the trees of the college, especially in late afternoon.  They were so numerous and noisy that it was actually difficult to carry on a conversation outside when they were overhead.  Another feature of large flocks of birds is large quantities of whitewash – undesirable, to say the least.  The grackles were ugly black birds, and they were (at least slightly) startled by sudden loud noises.  We would walk around campus clapping to shoo them away. With dread, I envisioned The Return of the Collegiate Grackles as I opened the front door this morning.

But no!  As I stood on the front porch, I saw hundreds of birds walking in our yard and (I’m guessing) thousands more in the horse pasture across the road, and every single one of those birds was. . . a robin!!!

Now, tell me, what on earth are tens of thousands of robins doing descending on Walnut Shade at the same time two mornings in a row in the first week of January?!?!?  Robins are supposed to show up in spring (say, mid-March) and pull worms.  They are one of our first harbingers of spring.  Why in the name of all that is logical would they show up so early?  And why in such numbers?  Usually we have maybe six or so robins in the yard at a time, not six cubed!

I don’t even know how to go about finding out what’s with this aviary invasion, and I have no idea if they’ll arrive again tomorrow morning, but I’m really glad they’re robins and not grackles.

As an added bonus, in addition to witnessing the aggregate robin population of the northern hemisphere (and most of them stayed on the ground for some 25 minutes), while on the bridge over the creek, I also saw TWO great blue herons flying upstream at the same time!

The whole neighborhood is going to the birds.


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