Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

The blackbirds have arrived. Or maybe they’ve just arrived en-mass. Kelly does not like them. She will go out at 6 a.m., slapping two boards together to scare them off. To me it looks like an exercise in futility. She’s thinking if she scares them off soon enough and often enough they’ll stay away. And I’m not sure – I can’t prove it *won’t* work. But I don’t think it is working.

It’s morning, she’s just driven off to work and the trees are already filled with cackling blackbirds. I’m sure it upset her no end; she knows they are mocking her now. But I admire her determination. The barn swallows have moved on so that’s depressing as well. Tonight when she gets home, she’ll be out there cracking those boards together.

We’ve even tried firing shotguns at them. Yep, they all fly away, but then they’re right back. Like turkey or deer. Or raccoons. Or a bad fungus.

The city of Rochester has also been fighting crows roosting in trees in the downtown area. So at least we’re not fighting the messy droppings of the blackbirds, just the noise.

“What wakes you up in the morning?”

80 thoughts on “Four & Twenty Blackbirds”

  1. What wakes me up in the morning, and usually at least once in the dead of night, is my bladder. I suppose I should be grateful that it does, or I’d have to invest some serious money in Depends. This may be TMI, but there you have it.

    I find that it’s often helpful when faced with something that annoys, frightens, or fills me with dread, to study it. This goes for spiders, snakes, wild mushrooms and all kinds of other things: the more knowledgeable I am about them, the less bothersome they are. In the case of the blackbirds, I would want to know more precisely what kind of birds they are. I’d also be curious as to what makes your trees attractive to them. Is it whatever is left in your empty fields? If you can’t beat them, make them your friends.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. PJ, my first response was Guinevere’s bladder. She has a little bladder and more often than not she gets up before we do and needs to go outside. And up until YA’s accident this was YA’ss job. Now it’s my job.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, I have no doubt they’ll resort to poison if need be. People can be so incredibly shortsighted. I recently saw two videos from different squares, one in London and one somewhere in Italy. What struck me about those videos was the total absence of pigeons. Since when aren’t squares all over Europe teeming with people and pigeons?

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    2. More likely, the city of Rochester has promised the people who have complained about crows and are clapping boards together that they are taking some unspecified action.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I am often awakened by loud barking from the backyard of the house behind ours, followed by shouts of “Cleo!!! Harley!! Get in the house!” If not that, then I hear the sounds and smell the wonderful aroma of Husband in the kitchen grinding coffee beans, sometimes followed by the sound of the cats racing up and down the hallway. They often have a loud, thumping, morning dash.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I haven’t used, or needed, an alarm clock for 20+ years because, as a freelancer, there was nowhere I needed to be early in the morning. Besides, I can preset my internal clock to wake me whenever I need to wake up.
    We inherited a cat from my daughter’s family when her newborn son proved to be allergic. The cat is part Siamese and has a voice of a demon baby. We have had to lock her out of the bedroom at night. Otherwise, at about 5:00 AM she starts patting my cheek, softly at first but if I don’t respond she eases out her claws ever so subtly.

    Now, beginning about 5:00 AM, she sits outside our bedroom door and in her Siamese voice calls me. Sometimes it sounds like she is saying, “Mom? Mom?”, other times it sounds like “Alan!”, which is my middle name. The mornings when it sounds like she is repeatedly calling, “hello? hello?” is so unmistakeable that I’ve considered recording it to use as my cell phone voice message prompt.

    This morning as she called me awake, I could have sworn she was crying, “Marion’s milk!”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL. Aren’t cats fun?

      On the rare occasion when it isn’t my bladder sounding the alarm, it’s usually Martha feeling impatient about her breakfast. She’ll jump up on the bed, and gently paw at my head. And she’s persistent. We used to have a bowl of dried cat food on her feeding counter that she could help herself to whenever she got hungry. However, about nine months ago, she apparently decided that she was no longer going to eat that crap. It’s now canned food only. She gets fed a small portion four times a day. If we give her bigger portions, she gulps it down in a hurry, and half an hour later she pukes.

      I’ve had a several Siamese cats, and yes, they are very vocal. Although I have never had a cat that spoke English.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, many of my friends have stories about their cats waking them up in these kinds of Ffashions, gently and not so gently. But neither Zorro nor Nimue ever has. I count this is one of my blessings.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. The internal alarm clock; isn’t that a wonderful thing. My dad always did that. I can do it most of the time. The last month it hasn’t been working for me, but I haven’t had the full faith at night when I tell myself to wake up that I usually have. So why should it work if I don’t believe it’s going to work, right? But usually it works.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I used to walk my dog every day at precisely 4 PM, the time chosen because that’s when MPR aired All Things Considered. Spook, the English setter, would magically appear exactly at 4. He was never more than a minute late or early. He probably got it wrong when daylight savings time kicked in or off. Otherwise, his internal clock was remarkably accurate.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Many years ago I tried to train Zorro. After Tristan the dog passed away, Zorro started meowing incessantly in the mornings when I would come downstairs and start to get ready for the day and feed the animals. It was awful and I tried really hard for weeks and weeks to stop him including using a spray bottle with water. There were mornings when he was soaking wet and he was still meowing. So finally I decided to just ignore him and after about two months he finally stopped. I have no idea why he started and no idea why he stopped but thank goodness he did.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I also sometimes hear the bluejays in our backyard yelling out “thief, thief” at God know who. For some reason we have what seems like a large bluejay family in the neighborhood. They sure are noisy.

    This morning is quiet, as Husband is on the rez and Cleo and Harley are silent.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. If I’m not sound asleep at 6:00-ish, I hear the neighbor across the alley (bedroom is right on the alley) open garage door and leave for work. Then about 6:40, guy across the street with VERY loud sports car arrives home from, I presume, a night shift (I also hear him leave at 9:40 pm).

    If I get back to sleep, then a very chatty (or alarmed, angry?) squirrel on alley telephone pole is determined to wake me – the time varies. Once in a while I just wake up on my own at 7:15, which is perfect.

    There was a For Better of For Worse comic strip where Grandma was cooking bacon and eggs, and coffee – showed the scent wafting through the house to where Grandpa was sleeping. Grandson asks her what she’s doing, and she says “Waking up Grandpa.”

    Liked by 3 people

  6. My daughter’s cat, Cleopatra, became a nuisance in the morning because she was always hungry and that’s when she got fed. She would sit on the bed batting my daughter’s eyes to wake her up. So my daughter began sleeping with the bedroom door closed. That door had one of those springy door stops. Cleo learned she could reach under the door, catch the doorstop, pull it and let go to make a LOUD sound that woke everyone up.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Morning –
    Regarding Rochester and the crows, there are lots of stories on the web. Poisoning is NOT an option. “Home of the world famous Mayo Clinic poisons crows in the parks!!” (cue the Tom Leher song)
    No, while it’s been suggested by the Arm chair quarterbacks, it will not happen.
    Typically, crow population increase happens once the colder weather comes. Because the crows, like the rest of us, are looking for a warmer place. And downtown is warmer than anywhere else.
    See if this link works:

    https://www.kaaltv.com/news/rochester-minnesota-crows-abatement-downtown-sidewalks-starter-pistols-night-parks-and-rec-latest/5186950/

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We used to make frequent visits to Manchester, Iowa, the town where my mom grew up and where her parents lived. A huge horde of starlings once invaded the town, filling every tree and making a ruckus. I’ve never heard an explanation for that phenomenon, but it isn’t rare among corvids. People got so fed up that the town leaders encouraged citizens to shoot as many birds as they could. I remember walking around a day or two after the big kill. There were so many dead starlings you couldn’t walk the sidewalks without stepping on the bodies. And when you did, the air rushing out of the bird made a croaking noise.

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  9. Rochester used to be known for the huge flocks of Canada Geese hanging out at Silver Lake Park downtown. The city made a big deal of them. And talk about the mess 15,000 geese would leave behind!
    I remember the city buying some sort of “Big Green machine” that was going to scrub the sidewalks and get rid of all that goose poop. But you never heard much about it after it’s initial purchase. And then the power plant closed and the lake would freeze over and the city has “shifted priorities” and would rather people not come and feed the geese and the geese are not touted so much any more.

    My dad used to fight with the DNR over the geese. Because when they weren’t hanging out at Silver Lake, they were out in our corn fields (after harvest) eating the corn before our cattle could get to the fields. Our farm is inside the game refuge so we can’t hung geese. But dad would go out and shoot guns to try and scare them away. Oh, people called and tattled on him and the DNR got mad and Dad got mad. So the DNR gave him blanks to use. And the geese fly away, Dad comes home, the geese come back.

    These days I complain about all the deer. The DNR has solved the issue by simply not answering the phone. Mostly it’s staffing issues and reduction in budgets. I haven’t had to argue with anyone; I got along well with the people there I knew. Now days I just can’t get anyone to talk in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a dear friend, Art Hawkins, who was a retired USFWS waterfowl biologist. There used to be a subtype of Canada goose called the Maxima or Giant Canada goose. The subtype was significantly larger than conventional Canada geese. The Maxima strain “used to be” because poorly regulated hunting wiped out that type of goose and that subtype was declared extinct in the 1950s.

      Biologists kept hearing that the geese hanging out in Rochester seemed mighty big. Art and other managers went there in 1962. They trapped some geese and weighed them. The birds were astonishingly big. Art was dispatched to buy a 5 lb bag of sugar so they could check the accuracy of the scales. When the scale gave an accurate reading for the sugar, the biologists knew the giant Canada goose had not gone extinct. They had been hiding in plain sight all along.

      Giant Canada geese were later transplanted into other urban environments. They not only prospered but became so numerous that they are now widely regarded as pests.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Just received this note from Jacque:

        I just got my iPad here and my head has cleared enough from the pain medications so I can reply and “sorta” make some sense. Lou is visiting and we are watching tpt “Country Music” right now. So I am doing OK. I have walked twice now. I even got some chocolate covered strawberries.

        I am so glad the surgery is over. The tasks of rehab are actually easier than the waiting for surgery!

        Tomorrow I probably can poke my head in on the Trail.

        Liked by 3 people

  10. i go to bed to my wife’s channel change from steven colbert to alfred hitchcock and at 4 am the facts of life come in the metv channel and i often wake up to that show i hate
    the messages are 70’s political correct with big acting and big hair and if i am awake enough i channel surf
    a month ago i found the middle on at 4am but that was just replaced by early lucy
    i can take or leave lucy but i miss the middle
    at 7am
    news switches from local to national and i listen to whatever idiot thing trump has done then switch to leave it to beaver
    they just restarted the beav a week or so ago so he’s little and adorable
    i love the first seasons of beaver and andy of mayberry
    i should just set up my alarm to air upliftingfepidodes that make me enter the world on a high note

    george burns had an alarm that would play thunderous applause every morning
    i like that…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. no the question as i read it was what wakes you up

        i have never set an alarm in my life

        wrong

        when i was drinking and had early flights in china or germany i would set one

        i wake up to tv
        i get up when i am scheduled in my brain to get up
        my bladder also is in play i am sorry to say but seldom wakes me just makes me decide to get up before i get up

        if i was smart i’d figure out how to have the tv do an auto shit off at 1am so i would have to choose to turn it in at 4 or 5 or 6 am as i am coming to consciousness

        Liked by 4 people

  11. For more than twenty years I had my stereo on a timer to bring up the Morning Show at 6AM Monday through Friday. I had some kinda wild dreams some mornings, when I would dream that I was singing “Haven of Mercy” or maybe “O Ro (Song of the Sea)” and felt really surprised that I could suddenly sing so beautifully! Then I’d wake up.

    This morning I woke up to the sound of the big truck in the neighbor’s driveway starting up. It’s gone now.

    Sometimes Sammy wakes me up. As far as I know, he has no Siamese genes, but he has an extremely loud voice.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. i have two cat wake ups who try to help me decide to go to cat food starting at about 4 if i go into stage 2 stirring in my sleep
      brother and sister
      brother gets an inch away from my face and does the siamese meow and i dismiss him
      his sister has a gravely squeak of a meow and tries waking me with thunderous purring and nuzzling my ear
      i feel guilty being so cold to the one and so warm to the other

      i wonder if people from new jersey experience things and just don’t put two and two together?

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Pluve Shalom, Lolo

    Hit from the Latin Spank- Hebrew
    Trolley – cass foxs
    Whisper – Suttogas
    Ciger
    Sottish Gaelic
    Dearie
    Gran nana
    Mond ez ujra
    Per te
    kiddo
    Hide Gin

    Split the dummy; to become very angry,
    To have a tantrum
    A wailing in lamentation for the dead: Irland
    Youse
    Say it again
    Nehmen Sie meine hand
    A minden jobb
    Better Again

    Foolish girl;
    Sit by windows –
    Blue ink: Tattooed arm
    Rubbish
    You are ungreatful

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Probably not. But knowing ahead of time how gross is going to be some out takes the edge off a little bit she says sarcastically while sitting at her desk in her cube at 6:30!!

          Liked by 1 person

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