March 30, 2011

Four and twenty blackbirds—not in a pie

From late March until mid-April watch for loose flocks of noisy blackbirds passing overhead. These flocks of mixed species may include: Red-winged blackbirds, Common grackles, European starlings, Brown-headed cowbirds, and perhaps even Rusty blackbirds. While many birds do migrate with other species, none is as visually obvious as these “blackbird” flocks. Blackbirds, unlike many songbirds migrate during the daytime making them more conspicuous. Watch and listen for these large flocks as they descend on marshes, hay fields, and city ponds. Look for the long, wedge shaped tail of the Common grackle and listen for the “computer on the fritz song of the Brown-headed cowbird.

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is an educator, bird watcher, and writer fascinated by the intersections of place, people, nature, and culture. He works for Mass Audubon and lives in the heart of Massachusetts. For questions or comments please contact: alexanderjosephdunn@gmail.com

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