Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Scream of The Birds

Yesterday I was sonically assaulted by blackbirds. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before, so I wasn't exactly prepared for it. I had to move fast. That's the only way I can say it in so few words, but there's more to the story, so let me tell you exactly what happened.

I was sitting there watching something terrible on TV when suddenly I heard a horribly loud high pitched screaming coming from outside. It could have been some kind of machine ready to explode or maybe a gigantic tea kettle going off, but I knew immediately that it was not either of those. It was birds, thousands of them.

It was the sound of very many birds singing, but I don't think I have ever heard so many of them at the same time. I looked out the window and I saw that every tree in town was covered with them. There must have been hundreds of thousands of them out there. I've never seen or heard so many birds in my life. My very first instinct was to run and grab my camera, which I did.

After I got back I began taking pictures. I didn't take many because I knew they'd all be too similar. And I also remembered to get some video, which interrupted my picture taking. I'm really glad I got the video because my pictures are terrible and they don't come anywhere close to showing the sheer number of birds.

But what kind of birds were these? After reviewing my pictures and video, I saw that they were blackbirds. I always thought that there would only be one kind of bird in a flock, but there were at least two different kinds of blackbird here.

Most of these birds were the standard Red-Winged Blackbirds that I've seen many times before. But as you can see in the circled area in the picture above, some had yellow heads. These are called, predictably, Yellow-Headed Blackbirds. I've never seen this kind before this. Pretty cool!

And now here's my video. I have to warn you before you watch this video that you will hear the loud scream of the birds when you click that button. So if you're in a place that needs quiet, then maybe you should wait until later to watch it. Even so, watch it now anyway, because it'll be more fun that way. So this is my newest episode of Rat TV. Let's see if you can watch the whole thing without turning the sound down.

I included these last two pictures just to try to give you the best view I can. This one above has some of the birds in flight. I think that's cool in pictures. I'm not sure any of the pictures are what I was hoping for.

Maybe I should have processed the pictures a bit to give them a bit of zing. I could have brightened them up a bit or done something even cooler. But I was in kind of a hurry to share this post with you. So you get the raw version this time. Maybe I'll make a special post with one fixed up picture just to see what it might look like. Maybe.

The darkness in the pictures is because it was a dark and wet day. We just had another blizzard the night before, and the temperatures were now too high for the snow to remain. It was still snowing while all the snow on the ground was melting away. I think spring may be finally here. (I keep saying that!)

This has been a longer post than I intended. I hope you were interested enough to be able to read it all. Even if you couldn't I'm glad you stopped by. And with that, I'll talk to you later!


  1. I only ever see one blackbird at a time. This is phenomenal, Ratty. A great capture!

  2. The sound of a large colony is cool. Hope you weren't standing there with your mouth open (wink)

  3. WOW! That is cool! well, from far away from the noise, it is cool. ;) I have never seen those kinds of numbers with blackbirds. Maybe starlings, but not blackbirds. I suppose they were all traveling and needed to rest why not at Ratty's house??

    I love the yellow-headed blackbirds. I have never seen those. I love red-winged blackbirds--they are my favorite birds because of their lovely song.

  4. That is a lot of birds. They are getting quite a ride on those branches with the wind blowing. I've seen red winged blackbirds but never yellow headed ones

  5. that yellow headed blackbird is a treat

  6. Wow, all those birds! It's like something out of a Hitchcock movie.

  7. I have large flocks of starlings descend on my lawn from time to time. The sweep their way along pecking at grass or bugs or whatever, and then they fly away.

  8. Migration at its spookiest! I love the yellow-headed BBs. Saw a lot of them in Wisconsin. Not so much on this side of the lake- an occasional stray. Great capture.

  9. That is terribly too many of them around.
    I enjoy my baby bird staying alone in the nest, "talks" softly with its mouth fully open while I am getting near.