Oct 13 2010

Flock at Sunset

Published by at 7:30 am under Migration

The grackles are back in Pittsburgh for their fall get-together. 

In the evenings I see them in Oakland heading north over Carnegie-Mellon's campus on their way to a roost... I don't know where. 

Hundreds and hundreds fly by.  I stand at the bus stop and watch them.  On the highest point of the Cathedral of Learning a peregrine stands and watches them.

Where is the roost? 

Some evening I will follow them and find out.

(photo of red-winged blackbirds at Quivera NWR, Kansas, in the public domain by Jerry Segraves. Click on the photo to see the original.)

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Flock at Sunset”

  1. kellyon 13 Oct 2010 at 12:34 pm

    ok this is off-topic, but references your 9/15/10 blog entry. various sparrows and finches gave the— thumbs up to the hitchhiker plant— this past weekend in a local brushy edge at the jersey shore. these plants which i noticed were opening up their blooms and drying out sufficiently for prime seed harvesting and turning a brilliant reddish hue were by far the most popular attraction. the goldfinches found them especially yummy. i got a pretty good look at one chomping down. it didn’t seem to be put off by the mini-barbs on the seed casing. i will be paying extra attention to this plant in future seasons.

  2. Michelleon 13 Oct 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Last Monday morning the sky and trees surrounding my house (New Castle, PA) were innundated with black birds, at least hundreds, maybe more! It sounded like I was in the middle of the aviary and felt like I was in a scene from Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Even my big dog was a bit scared – looking around wondering what the heck was going on. It looked exactly like this picture – minus the beautiful sunset. And noisy!

  3. Bird Feederson 13 Oct 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Beautiful photograph! It would be a lot of fun to try to pin down where all these birds are roosting. I’m sure if you put in the time and effort you could do it, especially with so many of them. Each night you try you’ll hone in a little closer until you finally figure it out. Good luck, great article!

  4. Anne Curtison 14 Oct 2010 at 1:42 am

    We haven’t seen them yet, although there were hordes last year. I agree with Michelle–it was like a scene from “The Birds”! repeated nightly! And noisy!


  5. Marianneon 14 Oct 2010 at 4:57 am

    A couple of days ago a large flock of mostly grackles landed in the tall trees on the hill by my house. They made a lot of noise while preening and resting. Since I am north of you, maybe this is the same flock that was up here. 🙂

    This flock also had red-winged blackbirds and starlings.

  6. Steve-oon 14 Oct 2010 at 10:19 pm

    i saw a Peregrine over Fitzgerald Field House today and a Hawk of some sort over Shadyside. I haven’t seen either type of bird for a few weeks. Great afternoon for flying.

  7. Anne Curtison 17 Oct 2010 at 12:36 am

    I think I saw grackles Saturday about 2:30-3:00 pm. I was inside South Hills Country Club, for a lovely bridal shower, and couldn’t hear them or get close enough to verify. (SHCC is south of South Hills Village and a couple of hook-y turns up from Bridgeville, if someone is mapping.) They were feeding (?) under a tree, and then thundered off in a group to who-knows-where. They seemed the right size and color! None in Sq. Hill, to my knowledge.


  8. Daveon 04 Nov 2010 at 8:11 am

    I actually have a huge massing of American Crows. I live on the edge of Schenley Heights and North Oakland. They are roosting here at the top of the hill. I looked up Grackels, but these birds were cawing like crows. Maybe it is a totaly different group, but there are literally thousands that come up here right before nightfall. Come morning, sure as my alarm clock they start it again. Very loud, kinda creepy, but really cool.

  9. Kate St. Johnon 04 Nov 2010 at 9:23 am

    Dave, you’re right, they were crows! I watched them last night from Baum Boulevard at Millvale — a steady stream for 45 minutes. I could see them heading for Schenley Heights — tens of thousands of them! Wow!

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