Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blackbird Ballet

Red epaulets (shoulder patches) distinguish the adult male Red-winged Blackbirds in the flock.

     Red-winged Blackbirds congregate in huge flocks in their wintering grounds in southern Kansas including the Red Hills.  While they certainly are among some species which supply aggravation to grain farmers and feedlots, their other attributes can be quite entertaining.  I have always been mesmerized by the sinuous, winding flights of millions of blackbirds.  Once I tracked a fight next to a roadway which was 14 miles long!  Certainly, congregations of animals in these numbers are a spectacle, even more so when they snake through the air in amazingly tight and synchronized movements.  Next time you notice a huge flock of blackbirds, take a moment.  Watch them for a while and become hypnotized by one of the most graceful and coordinated behaviors of nature.  This is just another subtle joy and satisfaction of being in the Kansas Outback!

Watch the sinuous, undulating flights of these millions of Red-winged Blackbirds.

Now doesn't that make you feel better?

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