Four and Twenty Blackbirds

There’s a Mother Goose nursery rhyme that starts with the words:

Sing a song of sixpence,

A pocket full of rye,

Four and twenty blackbirds

Baked in a pie.

A few weeks ago, I realized that our resident Red-wing blackbirds had all “flown the coop” so to speak. They migrate south for the winter. Their absence leaves our place, especially around the pond, quite quiet. They are a very vocal species with a highly distinguishable set of songs and calls. I miss them when they leave.

A few days ago, I heard an odd, muted call that was undeniably Red-winged blackbird. However, it sounded as if the bird was hoarse and very far away. Then, I spotted them. Many of them. More than four-and-twenty, in fact!

This multi-species flock contains both the male (black with red and yellow shoulders) and female (highly streaked brown with gold) Red-winged blackbirds. Also present I saw a few Brown-headed cowbirds.

It was fun to see this favorite of mine for another few days. I can only assume these birds are migrating through from a place up north where they spent their summer singing around a marshy pond and raising their brood among cattails.

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