Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Moon and Starlings

Three black birds roosting in the moonlight. High in the old dead oak; as high as the oak will allow, they perch. A trio of starlings, I think, judging by the pointy beaks. Flying south for the winter?

As a child I saw flocks of thousands upon thousands this time of year. Mixed flocks of black birds - red-winged blackbirds, common grackles, brown-headed cowbirds and European starlings. They'd circle and bank above the cornfield out in front of our house, swirling, swooping, settling briefly, then rising as one and repeating... When they settled in the trees for the evening, branches would snap beneath their weight. When a flock passed in the distance, it seemed to stretch for miles.

Where is the flock tonight? Are these advance scouts or stragglers? I wonder.

How far have they come?   How far have they yet to go?

I think I read in the Smithsonian that starlings were released in New York's Central Park more than a century ago by Europeans committed to the idea of establishing a population in the New World of all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works. These three are a good bit south of Central Park at the moment, for sure. Perhaps, for them this is South. Perhaps their journey is at an end...they have arrived.

There goes the neighborhood!

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