Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Four and Twenty...

Blackbirds! The red-winged blackbirds came today when we'd just had a big snowstorm. They ate from the feeders, and the food spread on the ground. 

These aren't the world's best pictures because I had the zoom on and they were taken through the front door windows, but you get the idea. I counted two or three times and got 24. What do you think? Do they travel in groups of 24? Why does the old rhyme say 24? 


31 comments:

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    1. Do you have red-wingeds in Alaska??

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    2. I've never seen any Nan. We see Ravens, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Wood Peckers, Eagles, Steller Jays, Robins, Waxwings....I'm not great on bird ID not least because I need binoculars to see them ..lol

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    3. We don't get waxwings very often. No eagles ever!

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  2. I’m very happy to see your four and twenty blackbirds sitting in a tree rather than baked in a pie!

    I don’t know the origins of the nursery rhyme, but I remember reading something about the blackbirds representing the hours in a day. It’s quite a scary rhyme for a child, especially the bit where the blackbird pecked off the maid's nose – I think that is supposed to represent a demon stealing her soul. Not really the kind of thing to recite to a child is it.

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    1. It is a scary rhyme! Particularly for those poor birds! Agatha Christie wrote a good book using the rhyme. I wrote a bit about it here, if you'd like to read it. http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2008/06/book-reporta-pocket-full-of-rye.html

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  3. Grackles invaded my feeder yesterday! Totally emptied it and spilled it all over the ground. I didn't think to count them but there had to have been more than a dozen. Must be coming through from somewhere as I don't usually see them. Interesting!

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    1. The red-wings (as we call them) didn't make any messes. They most politely ate their fill, and departed to who knows where. Didn't see them today.

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  4. These are among my favorite birds. They are really the first heralds of spring around here; the males come first, usually mid-February, to the marshes where they perch on the old cattail stalks and call. Love to hear them so much.
    Mary

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    1. I do love their song. I'm hoping now they know the feeders are here they may stay. The Walmart in the next town was built on a marshy area, and it is amazing to be in the parking lot and hear them.

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    2. Sounds like our Lowe's lot where there's a marshy pond area and where they come in mid-February. Something lovely even though "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot"

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    3. I'm so very pleased you came back. My most favorite thing about blogging is the comment area conversation. It is lovely. At our Lowe's there are birds nesting in the roofing of the garden area. Pure delight. Kind of like grass or flowers growing up through city pavements.

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  5. Oh yes, they travel in much larger groups even. Fun when the first males return. You know spring has to be right behind them.

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    1. I think they must have been shocked to see so much snow! I hope they stick around.

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  6. I call them red wings as well, Nan, and they arrived here a few weeks ago. We both heard them before we saw them.
    Love that last photo.

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    1. A few weeks ago?!! We often only hear them. We don't have much water on the land, and I think they go to where there is more. I'm just hoping they will stay put because of the bird food.

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  7. I'd never seen a red-winged black bird until we moved to Nebraska. They sound like a rusty car door opening, which is so unique! Yes, I counted 24 in your tree. :)

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    1. It is the essence of spring as is the robin. Thanks for counting!

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  8. Our blackbirds are just black - and the female brown. They (the males) have been singing their beautiful songs early mornings for some weeks now; it is one of the loveliest sounds to wake up to, I think.
    I am not familiar with the nursery rhyme mentioned in some of the comments here, but I gather the number 24 features in it in connection with those birds.

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    1. More here if you are interested. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sing_a_Song_of_Sixpence
      I was just reading an article on blackbirds, and I believe they are in the thrush family. The red-wings aren't in Europe.

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  9. I haven't seen a red winged blackbird since I lived I. Pennsylvania. They are stunning, such brilliant color. That's a lot of snow!,

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    1. I'm surprised they aren't there! The snow is melting, slowly. It has been sunny but so cold that it isn't melting as fast as it might. I suspect that's the end of the big snow. We might get a dusting or flurries, but nothing that will stay after this.

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  10. I've loved them since I was a child. Aside from the robin, our Michigan state bird, they were one of the first I could identify. I never thought to count them, but it is quite interesting that there were exactly 24 traveling together!

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  11. We do have these lovely birds in our area, but they don't come to people;s yards. I think they like wide open spaces best.

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    1. They are a rare sight here. I might hear them but that's it. Only one other year did we have a bunch of them visit - and only on that day, just like this time.

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  12. Lovely pictures, Nan. I don't think I have seen red-winged blackbirds but then I don't know much about birds.

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    1. I don't think they are where you live. But you've got beautiful ones.

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  13. Red-winged blackbirds are one of my favorite birds. I don't see many here in Louisiana. Of course I live in the city with cats so not the ideal bird watching environment.

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    1. I'm very fond of them. Their song, along with the robin and the woodcock says 'spring' to me.

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  14. I don't see big crowds of redwings ever ... though I see them often. Oregon, Colorado, and even occasionally here --- but only one or two at a time. I like them and would love to see four and twenty. There are some smaller black birds, not redwings, that do seem to travel in bigger crowds. I don't know what they are.

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