Black Birds

by Patricia Lang


“Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise…” (Song – Blackbird, Beatles, White Album)

I’ve never heard a black bird sing at night, but then again, how would I know? Who can see a black bird in a black night? However, around here, I have only heard Canada Geese honking at night. In the early morning, I hear one bird sing. I don’t know if that bird is a black bird or not. I know it heralds the dawn! Be that as it may, black birds thrive around here. They flock.

(Group names for starlings are — chattering, afflication, murmuration, scourge. I can’t find a group name for red-winged blackbirds. I found the term “murder”, but that’s a group of crows. I think I would like to call my group of black birds, and yes, I do think of them as mine, a chattering! It’s lyrical.)

Geographically, we are in the middle of the migration route of birds typically flying “south” for winter. Subsequently, a lot of birds linger — here. Black birds like us. I’ve seen starlings and red-winged blackbirds in this group. I’ve also seen a grackle or two. Red-winged blackbirds are Operatic Divas. I think starlings like to hum a song or two. However, what I like most is the fact that the black birds like to forage in the grass. There is an empty lot next to my house (and across the street). When the weather is warmer, and the ground wet, the black birds come in hordes! Lots! Bunches! I sit here, at my computer, and contemplate these birds. I “breathe” it in. They mean business, these birds, when they forage. They usually come in the early morning. What is interesting is how they leave. I don’t know what startles them. I think they hear with one big ear, [group thought, group sighting, group ear…]. I think they hear me typing. When they leave, they leave as one bird. When I hear that heavy flap I can’t help going, “Oh my.”

a flock of blackbirds wings past


Patrica Lang is a freelance writer who has published more than 200 pieces (international and national) in approximately 106 different periodicals such as Circlet Press/Blue Moon Press, Bedford Minute-Man, South Nashville Community News, Outskirts {Australia}, SageWoman, Delaware Today, Red Queen, Living Well Magazine, Feminist Review and the Newark Post. Visit her sites: Write a Poem a Day for a Year and Nature Journal

Photo by Derrick Neill

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