[Tweeters] Holy icterids, Batman!

Michelle Maani lamoustique at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 18 17:15:20 PST 2015

I went to the Botanical Garden in Brush Prairie, hoping to take advantage of the break between storms without slogging through wet grass and puddles. The sound of birds was everywhere. At first I noticed a couple dozen American Robins jumping around the berry-filled trees and bathing in puddles.  A single Lesser Goldfinch was also bathing there.  There were several Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds in the trees.   As I continued into the garden a sound like rushing water attracted my attention. I looked across the road and saw the roof of a barn and the field in front of the farm covered with dark birds, all clamoring.  In a field behind the farm I could see a cloud of birds landing and then taking off and swirling through the air, just to land again. I thought they might be starlings. I started to photograph the crowd of birds and discovered to my amazement, that the majority of them were Brown-Headed Cowbirds!  There was also a sizeable number of Brewer's Blackbirds in the mix, and some Red-winged Blackbirds. A few Starlings were also in the group.  If anyone has heard a cowbird's beautiful gurgling call--multiply it by a thousand or more!  No wonder it sounded like rushing water!  Perhaps a group of cowbirds should be called a waterfall!
Michelle MaaniVancouver, Washington

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