Friday, January 10, 2014


This morning Benjamin and I woke up to some strange sounds coming from outside. It sounded like a creaking swing and a bit like a storm was blowing through but I could also hear birds chirping. I couldn't figure out what was going on so we went outside to investigate. When we opened the door to the back deck we startled an entire flock of (some kind of black) birds. They took to the sky at once, hopping the fence to the relative safety of the neighbour's yard.

We could hear their wings beating the air. It was amazing. They kept moving around the neighbourhood, roosting in this set of trees, investigating that yard, checking out those trees, and so on. Right in the middle of it all a flock of geese flew overhead in V-formation.

Benjamin was in awe. And so was I.

Here's a video of it that I took. I tried (and failed) to cut it down to a minute or so (I meant to cut out before I said anything...but I didn't...just know that I was talking to Benjamin, who was busy pointing at the birds).

Apparently it's relatively normal for blackbirds to travel in monster flocks like this. I didn't know this. All I could think about when I woke up this morning was Hitchcock. It was kind of a creepy way to start off the day.


  1. Awesome! and which direction was that gaggle of geese headed?

    1. You're right. I suppose it is a gaggle of geese, not a flock, though just to be confusing gaggle is only when they're not in flight. When flying a gaggle is known as a skein. Learn something new everyday. :)

      I'm terrible with directions...but it looks like they're almost headed due east. We live in their wintering zone, technically, so perhaps they're just heading to a different lake (east is a funny direction to head but there is a lake not too far from our house in that direction).

  2. Neat! Your post reminded me of this question to our local newspaper guy who writes about such things.

    Question: One day last week, I saw thousands of birds swirling around and descending on a large cedar tree. This only lasted a few minutes and they flew off. What were they doing?

    Answer: Consider yourself lucky to have witnessed this event. This was a feeding frenzy by birds after the cedars blue wax-covered cones. Those small cones resemble blueberries. Many species of birds will eat these little berries including cedar waxwings, robins, purple finches, evening grosbeak and starlings. Most people only get to witness the aftermath on their cars, porches and decks.