Blackbird, Bye Bye

We have some very noisy black birds in the spruce trees in our front yard. I don’t know if they are Blackbirds, Starlings, or Grackles.  I know they aren’t Crows or Ravens. We have Crows in town. They are bigger than the other black birds, and like to harass and chase the local owls. Husband sees Ravens up on the Reservation. They are quite culturally significant for our native friends and are portents of various things.

The black birds in our trees have hatchlings in a nest who make the most terrible harsh noises when they want to be fed. The parents follow us around the yard and scold us and sometimes swoop. I am ready for the black birds to go bye bye!

Tell some bird stories. Talk about Miss Peggy Lee.


63 thoughts on “Blackbird, Bye Bye”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    The memory of Peggy Lee that puzzles me most is that of her appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show. At least I think she did. It seems like the culture of all corners of the US, far off and exotic places, was frequently represented there. I remember seeing her often on variety shows and I think it was usually on the Ed Sullivan Show. She seemed unspeakably sultry and to ooze sexual pheromones. Not the G-rate family focused image that is now peddled by cultural luddites who want to return to that era “when America was great.” Hmph.

    That show remains in my mind, the oddest thing. 50’s and 60’s culture is now remembered as conservative and family-oriented. Peggy Lee’s entertainment style was NOT conservative and family-oriented. Neither were the fascinating female impersonators. We did not have any of those in my world, at least not that I knew of. But there were several Peggy Lee-like women around in our town. Elvis on Ed Sullivan was not considered family-friendly, G-rated entertainment. Yet the show was wildly popular. We never missed it on a Sunday evening, after Walt Disney and before Bonanza.

    Wrens are busy here nesting and singing. Around the 4th of July we should be able to watch the flying lessons.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. im out of town this weekend
          sorry to miss
          i enjoyed the feb reads
          we will see how aug or whenever works out
          out on 6 meetings i hate missing 2 or 3 but thats the way it goes
          thanks for the suggestions
          the japanees book and the orchardist were both excellent
          the moment in time was a falshback


  2. No bird stories here, but Jacque’s remarks about variety shows makes me reminisce about all the wonderful old variety shows that just don’t seem to happen anymore. Classic ones like Carol Burnett, Dean Martin, Red Skelton, etc. Another couple shows that were short-lived but I still enjoyed were Ben Vereen and the mime couple Shields & Yarnell.

    The more modern ones like “In Living Color” which was edgy and hilarious and brought Jim Carrey into stardom. Or “Second City Television” and “Mad” which were even edgier.

    I don’t generally watch network TV, so I don’t even know if there are any current variety shows being made. I guess the closest thing might be the nighttime talk shows, but those don’t count in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Husband informs me that we have Brewers Blackbirds here. I think many people don’t know that Peggy Lee was born in North Dakota.


  4. One spring we had a great horned owl’s nest next to our house and their two chicks, when hatched, fell into our yard, which is what great horned owl chicks do. We had someone from the Raptor Center visit and she showed us how to lift the chicks, which were downy and the size of small cats, onto the lowest branch of a pine tree outside our front window to keep them out of harm’s way. We got to watch them all through their fledging, lifting them back onto the branch whenever they fell off. When the crows came to harass the parents, the noise harassed us as well, since the nest was so close. Occasionally a crow would get overbold and the owl would take him out with one swipe. A rain of black feathers. Those owl’s talons are about as big as your hand.

    Starlings, as you probably know, are not native but were imported as part of a group of birds mentioned in Shakespeare. There were originally 100 starlings released in Central Park and over half of died soon after, but the ones that survived thrived and are now considered pests. They group in spectacular murmurations. You may have seen videos of these. Here’s one that is unfortunately rather low resolution but doesn’t include an ad at the beginning:

    Also, here are some still photos of the phenomena:

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Husband was reading somewhere about a person who had a pet starling and who had to give it three baths a day because it was such a dirty bird.

      Husband has the coolest great horned owl puppet that he uses in talking circles at the reservation elementary school. It is almost 2 feet tall and not only can you turn its head around, there is a lever inside that opens and closes its eyes. It is made by Folkmanis.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fans of the eastern bluebird are gentle, sweet, idealistic people, or they are at first. By the time a bluebird lover has opened a few bluebird houses to find a starling has killed the nesting bluebird mother and destroyed all the eggs, well they are likely to become aggressive. The two arch enemies of the eastern bluebird are starlings and house sparrows and starlings (both non-native species from Europe). And no matter how tolerant a beginning bluebird fan is at first, with time he or she will hate those two species and will kill them cheerfully.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. I’d like to understand why the birds that gather in those colossal flocks are black. Several species do that, all black: grackles, blackbirds, starlings. All are species that average folks have trouble identifying. If there is a payoff for birds to gather in huge flocks like that, why does it only occur among birds of that same size and color?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A seagull once tried to steal a hamburger patty that was still on the hot grill. He managed to get it airborne, but it was too heavy. All he got was the bite that was pinched by his beak. The remainder fell to the ground more or less intact. I rinsed it off, seared it another minute to kill any lingering seagull germs, and ate it, grumbling the entire time about those damn scavenger gulls.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Isle Royale animals arevery aggressive. I camped there once and a red Pine squirrel stole some food right off the grill.


        1. according to the news today they are reintroducing 2 dozen wolves back into isle royal mix to keep the deer form starving to death.
          i have mixed thoughts
          introduce predators to the environment s the weak get killed instead of the mass starving to death. its an odd concept to take sides on. i am for the wolves killing the moose so the moose dont die of overpopulation?
          something quirky about the thought
          we can add seriel killers to the starving countries of the third world t o cut back on the number of starving people but im not sure that is the right answer either.


      2. This incident was at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park on the N. Shore of Superior! Not all that far from Isle Royale. Might have been the same damn gull. 😦 Grrrrr.


  7. When Husband was at Hennepin County Med Center (for his heart Thurgery back in 2011!) I loved watching, as I returned to the parking ramp across the street, the huge murder of crows that often sleeps in Elliot Park, across the street from HCMC. There is an article about (by Tom Crann of MPR News) them here:
    A quote by Sharon Stiteler from the article: “Crows know that, ‘Hey, if I’m one of 50,000, then I’m less likely to be picked off by a great horned owl at night,’ “


    1. Oh gosh, yes, I’ve seen those crows, both at Elliot Park and a bit south of there. Sometimes the dusky sky is almost blotted out by the crows. Or there are so many in the trees, you can barely see the trees.

      One time I was walking to the library just as it was getting dark…the crows came to a certain block just as I was walking there. They covered the sky, then the trees, and the cawing from that many birds – it seriously gave me the creeps. I had to force myself to keep walking because I honestly felt like turning around and running for my life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This song’s lyrics have long fascinated me. I think the basic attitude here (is that all there is?) is not typical of people in this culture. To me, it has always sounded more European than American, but I couldn’t defend that if pressed. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I really don’t know anything about Peggy Lee.

    I need to refill the bird feeders again. There’s been a red wing blackbird sitting out there singing on one of them… I wouldn’t picture them as using a bird feeder but if the option is there, why not?

    I have a hen sitting on about 20 eggs. Yesterday they started to hatch. She had 2 babies last time I looked. They’re in a side pen and it’s a good place to raise chicks. I’ll put water and food in there and throw in some grass and dirt and USUALLY, if the momma is good, they’ll do well in there. I let them grow for a month and by then they’re big enough their chances outside are greatly improved. At least up to about 80% survival…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When they’re small, it could be anything. They could fall in a hole or get caught by predators. Once they’re bigger, yeah, mostly hawks. There are raccoons around but you’d expect at night the chicks and Mom would be sleeping and not in so much danger.
        Coyotes come around about dawn.

        I did give some Easter eggs to that broody chicken. All plastic: one solid color, one a shiny color, and one decorative with holes in it. She took the solid color and the one with holes but had not taken the shiny one yet. I moved it closer to her tonight and will see in the morning.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. In the 1970’s, Luverne had to cut down some tall trees around the Court House because hundreds of Starlings were roosting there at night after raiding the surrounding corn fields. The excrement they deposited was awful and considered a health hazard.


    1. I continue to marvel at the fact that in Denmark the starling is a treasured songbird, it is illegal to harm them in any way. In their natural habitat they are valued members of the local fauna.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. The National Flag of the Red-Winged Tribe

    The red-wing patches, bird folks say, are to attract mates.
    Flashing bright against the fragile green of the early cattails in the ditch beside my house.
    Not my ditch the State told me, but theirs to do with as planners see fit.
    Red-wing combatants care not for human paper—title, claim or writ.
    Only for a space in which to build homes of flim, stick, and weave.
    They drive off ravens, not by the weight of their few ounces of fluff;
    Rather by heft of a fierce willingness to risk all for avian rule of swamp and reeds.
    They attacked me too each time I passed on my innocent way,
    To mailbox, or walk, or neighborly visit.

    As for my bit of ditch and yard, I let it pass,
    A battle I would only lose; so I chose not to fight as fiercely as the red-wings.
    Any such bombast of mine would have won no legal war.
    My home was after all, only as a wish, less earthy than red-wings’.
    It will take the yellow mechanized civil army to drive off the red-wings,
    When it finally makes its claim and comes.
    To allow ever more of my tribe (I would wish not my tribe)
    To rush off fiercely to play.
    And fiercely but wearily return to their homes of flim, stick, and mortgage.

    Ravens and red wings: a small comic war between two black-feathered tribes,
    All black except for the waving national flag of the smaller fierce ones.
    Their battles are mirrored in large in a war between citizen and state.
    And larger still in wars of tribe against tribe, ism opposite ism, faith surer than faith, and nation bolder than nation.

    “Genetic imperative,” we name it in the red-wings.
    What imperative is encoded in our souls
    To stake claims of land, belief, might, or right?

    We are all each in turn the red-wing, the raven, and the yellow machine.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. I got back last night from an out-of-town trip. After unpacking, one of the first things I did was check on the nest that I can see from one of my back windows. I was hoping I would see baby cardinals. But all I saw was an empty smooshed nest. One of the twins told me that the nest fell down and the birds (baby birds included) were gone. Kinda sad.


  12. I have enough jelly made from our grapes that we don’t pick them any more and leave them for the birds. Same for the red currants, which never ripen like the uber classy and expensive ones in the stores. We will put netting over the strawberries tbis weekend. They are getting ripe.

    We had a welcome. 36 inches of gentle rain last night, just in time to ensure a good raspberry crop. The birds leave the raspberries alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. When I was a kid and still living in St Louis, the North Woods were really exotic to me. One vacation when I was about 14 or 15 I took my little tiny cassette tape recorder out to the woods behind the garage .. one of the Eau Claire Lakes where my great aunt lived. I turned on the recorder and walked away, came back a couple of hours later and picked up the cassette . Basically had an hour and a half of bird calls on it, all different kinds of sounds that the birds were making in the woods that day. I played that cassette tape until the tape wore out.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. my dad was from fargo
    they took their guns to school during dick hunting season so they could go bag their limit of pheasants ducks or geese on the way home

    i started hunting when i was 7
    got my ithaca 16 huage pump when i was 10
    we lived in bloomington and 1 mile south was legal to shoot
    that’s where i learned
    we’d go every year over to hunt with the cousins
    i know i’ve mentioned it before but those sloughs in dakota are a thing to behold
    huge bodies of water you pick a spot on the shore and wade out to set the decoys then wait in the reeds for the birds to come
    huge flocks of birds land north 1/3 mile then south 1/2 mile then finally right on top of you
    it is unbelievable what it’s like
    my wife is letting me type while i’m driving to chicago
    i’ll find video of geese and ducks coming on in to post later

    hey renee if i pay the postage can i get a deal on some grape jam?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 11695 mt curve rd
        Eden prairie mn 55347

        I know you’re supposed to be careful but if anyone in the lurk mode want to send food stuffs I’ll take it


      1. So long as we’re entering that territory, here’s a joke I heard today: “I’m taking Viagra for my sunburn. It doesn’t cure it, but it keeps the sheets off my legs.”

        Liked by 3 people

  15. I have only three memories about birds. One was an eagle swooping up my cat, Skeeter. Another was when my daughter had six birds, including two parrots, who allowed them to free fly in her bedroom. The third was one day when I was sunbathing hearing a bird incessantly making a sound that sounded like “Birdy, birdy, birdy” and couldn’t stop being driven crazy about it. I asked my neighbor if she could hear it, too. She hadn’t but never forgave me for pointing out because she, too, couldn’t stop hearing it after that.

    Liked by 3 people

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